Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday for the 21st Century

ondering how to justify sponsorship in the NHRA Full Throttle series as a legitimate – and smart – investment in growing a business?

Go talk to Bob Tasca III.

I did.

Let me tell you, this guy’s in Funny Car not only because he’s a good racer. He’s a good salesman, too.

Both are in his DNA. His grandfather was instrumental in bringing Ford back to drag racing more than four decades ago. The family owns two Ford dealerships, in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, with 250 employees. “I’ve done every job from cleaning cars, to line mechanic, to service writer on the showroom floor, in the office,” he says.

Tasca III, 33, has a business degree from Providence College. With the backing of Ford, Motorcraft and Quick Lane Tire & Auto, Tasca launched his pro team last season. He qualified for every national event and finished 12th in points.

Tasca, of course, is now the Gatornationals winner, but our conversation took place in February at Arizona’s Firebird Raceway. We sat in the lounge of his transporter. It went like this (transcript edited for length and clarity):

James Drew photo

Q. How did you learn to connect the dots between business and racing?

A. “I was always fascinated with my grandfather’s statement, ‘Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.’ It was the cornerstone of what my grandfather built his racing program around. His relationship with Henry Ford II and the Cobra Jet was all about that notion. (But) as it started to evolve, and the cars he raced he didn’t sell, he lost interest in racing. He got out.

“It (racing) was in my blood but it started to boil a few years back when I looked at that ‘Win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ model. I saw an amazing opportunity to bring my grandfather’s statement into the 21st century.”

Q. What specific elements of your program help build sales for Ford, Motorcraft and Quick Lane?

A. “If you’re not giving your sponsor an incredible return on investment, they’re gone. Money’s too tight and there are too many options where they can spend it. When you look at our program, it’s not the race car only. I wasn’t interested in just a 300 mph billboard. We’ve gone into racing on three fronts:

“1. B-2-B. (Business-to-business.) Motorcraft and Quick Lane have a full activation at a lot of races. We bring up to 150 dealers and distributors and customers every day. It’s award based: Quick Lane does training on Friday, and it’s based on the relationships in the business. With text messages and E-mails and cell phones, we’re taking the human element and relationship development out of business. At an NHRA event, they’ll do everything but drive the race car. You can be immersed not just in the brand, but also the executives and customers at the track.