After stopping the clocks at 4.98 at 140 mph in the eighth-mile during a recent test session at New England Dragway in New Hampshire, Carl Tasca, Sr.’s ’10 Cobra Jet became the first Cobra Jet to dip into the fours in the eighth-mile, up from its previous best of 5.00 at 144 mph.
Filling up the engine bay of the car is the 5.4 liter Modular monster it came equipped with, and its internals are freshened annually by Chris Holbrook. On top is a 4.0L Whipple blower and Carl, Sr. — as he indicated he prefers to be called — rows the gears of a five-speed Liberty transmission.
Prior to that test session, the car spent some time at Xtreme Racecars, where Carl Stevens, Sr. and Carl Stevens, Jr., braced up the four-link to minimize flex, installed a new anti-roll bar as well as new Penske 87/60 nitrogen shocks — with a hand in the selection process by Adam Lambert of Penske Racing Shocks — and re-set the car’s ride height. The reward was a 1.17 in the 60-foot.
“In addition to going 4.98 in the eighth-mile, the car ran 7.77 in the quarter-mile, and that number had been Carl’s personal goal for a while, because 777 Taunton Ave. in East Providence, Rhode Island, was the address for his father, Bob’s, original dealership,” said Patrick Barnhill of PTP Racing, who tunes the car using Big Stuff 3. “777 is also the car’s number.”
While those eighth-mile, quarter-mile and 60-foot numbers had the team celebrating, they improved on all of them in a test session yesterday, Aug. 7, with a 4.95 at 141 mph, 7.72 at 177 mph and a 1.15.
According to Carl, Sr., the car was built for NHRA Super Stock, but is a little light at 3100 pounds with him in it, so he focuses on exhibition passes, select shootouts and testing.
“I had a lot of help from my crew, including crew chief Ralph Poirier, Don Belanger, Greg Grimes, Mario Tella, Uncle Bert, Dennis Gomes and John Healey, as well as Carl Stevens, Sr. and Carl Stevens, Jr. and Patrick Barnhill, who is brilliant,” said Carl, Sr. “On top of knowing what he’s doing, he’s a lot of fun to be around.”
Carl, Sr. and his crew are dedicating their accomplishments — and the rest of the season — to fellow crew member Mike Conte, who died after a heart attack while they were testing. Next up for them is the Ford Racing Cobra Jet Showdown at the Seventh Annual NMCA Muscle Car Nationals, Aug. 23-25 at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Ohio.
“My father, Bob Tasca, Sr., is my motivation for doing this,” said Carl, Sr. “He invented the Cobra Jet in ’68, and in ’08, when Ford decided to make a Cobra Jet a production-based race car, they honored him at the assembly plant where the cars were made and my brother, Bob, and my nephew, Bob Tasca, III, attended the ceremony, and it was all very touching.”
By Mary Lendzion