Bob Tasca III, owner/driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang Funny Car and Tim Wilkerson, owner/driver of the Levi, Ray & Shoup Shelby Mustang Funny Car, have announced the extension of their technical alliance on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing circuit, through the 2010 season.
Wilkerson and Tasca formed the alliance prior to the 2009 season and have acted as teammates throughout the year, despite the fact both teams are independently owned and operated. As part of the program, the teams have shared tuning information, the drivers have worked together to improve performance, and both organizations have combined to create a bigger and better marketing platform at the track. Both Wilkerson and Tasca earned spots in the NHRA Countdown playoff field, and both have two race victories to their credit at this point in the season.
“There's no getting around the fact that more information and more good ideas are keys to winning out here,” said Wilkerson, prior to this weekend's race in Dallas. “The multi-car teams have a number of advantages, but neither Bob nor I had the wherewithal or the desire to add a second car, so he came to me with this idea of an alliance and it's worked out very well. His crew chiefs, Chris Cunningham and Marc Denner, are sharp guys and we share information pretty freely. We don't necessarily run our cars exactly the same, so it's not like either one of us has plugged in the other one's tune-up, but when you get in trouble in one area it's really a good thing when you can bounce ideas off of someone and get some help.
“On top of sharing tuning information, though, it's also been a big benefit for both teams because you know a whole second crew full of talented guys has your back. If one team goes out early, and the other has any needs at all getting ready for the next round, the guys just dive right in. The other big piece of the puzzle is the marketing and hospitality at the racetrack. Together, we've taken that important piece of the sponsorship puzzle to a new level and that's important because without happy sponsors, we can't do this. The whole thing has been a win/win for everyone, including LRS and Motorcraft/Quick Lane. I'm looking forward to keeping it going.”
As part of the program, the Wilkerson and Tasca teams are always pitted next to each other at NHRA races, and their combined hospitality and marketing space is made possible by sharing infrastructure. On the track, both teams have clearly benefitted from having additional resources and concepts to work with, and Tasca is excited to keep the momentum moving forward.
“A year ago, Tim and I were trying to put an alliance together and, looking back, this technical alliance has turned out to be all I thought it would be and more,” said Tasca III. “Tim has been great for me to work with as a driver, and I know it has been great for my crew chiefs, Chris Cunningham and Marc Denner, to work with Tim on the tuning side. Clearly, our Mustangs are positioned strongly in the Countdown to 1. I feel, going into next year, it will strengthen our programs even more as we work together in the future.
“It is evident, when you're looking at the competitiveness of the Funny Car class, that having another car that you can share data with has proven to be a very valuable element of our programs.”
With at least another year of the alliance to look forward to, both the Tasca and Wilkerson teams will now maintain their focus on success in the Countdown playoffs, which resume this weekend in Dallas before wrapping up with the four final races of the season, in Memphis, Richmond, Las Vegas, and Pomona.