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Bob Tasca III Discusses Disqualified Qualifying Run at NHRA 4-Wide Nationals, Manifolds Deemed Illegal by NHRA Tech Department

Bob Tasca III announced on NHRA Insider Live that the pass he made during round two of qualifying had been disqualified due to the use of a manifold deemed illegal by the NHRA Tech Department.

Tasca explained that they have recently switched manifold manufacturers from a John Force Racing part to an Alan Johnson Performance Engineering [AJPE] one. Tasca explained that the NHRA questioned the legality of the manifold because of its color change after processing, despite no dimensional changes that would affect performance. 

“We’re not quite sure we’re going to race today; quite frankly, we may pack up and leave, and the harsh reality is that our run last night was in question due to our manifold,” stated Tasca.

Tasca explained that Wilson individually flows their manifolds to optimize fuel delivery, a common practice, and stressed that the color change did not provide a performance advantage. He continued stating that Wilson uses a technique that when they flow the manifold, it changes the color of the magnesium.

According to the NHRA rules, any modification to a part, regardless of its impact on performance, is not allowed. This ruling led to a dispute because Tasca Racing had previously submitted their manifolds for inspection and was not informed of any legal issues until the current event.

Furthermore, Tasca admitted that this inspection of the manifolds has been ongoing since the Gatornationals in March. 

“In Gainesville, I gave all my manifolds to the NHRA,” Tasca added. “They were the Force manifolds at the time. They’re different colors, and they were flowed, but we gave them to them and said listen, we just want to make sure there’s no drama with any of these manifolds; they gave them back to us, they did not tell me I couldn’t run them, but today they tell me, well we gave them back to you, but we didn’t tell you that they were legal. I said okay, so you gave me a part back to run, so now all of the manifolds in my trailer have been floated, every one of them; I don’t have a part to run this race, so at this point I don’t know if we’ll run this weekend and it’s just a shame.”

During the interview, Tasca expressed his frustration over the NHRA’s inconsistent communication and enforcement of rules. He highlighted that if there were dimensional changes, he would understand and accept disqualification but felt the decision based on color was unreasonable.

“I take my reputation very seriously, and I will address it publicly, but if the manufacturer said there are no dimensional changes, NHRA told me this morning there are no dimensional changes however, I’ve been told the finish color isn’t a performance advantage but per [NHRA] rule book, it’s a modification. So you have to define modification now – let’s have a definition for modification because the blower cases are modified, we blow up heads, we weld them, and there is not a cylinder head that is repaired back to the factory original, not a single one.”

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Due to the ruling, Tasca was considering withdrawing from the race and mentioned the need to regroup before participating in future races. The situation underscored ongoing challenges and disagreements in racing regulations and their interpretation.

This story was originally published on April 27, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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