Funny Car driver Bob Tasca III has COVID-19; will miss NHRA’s return

Leave a comment

Funny Car driver Bob Tasca III will miss NHRA’s return to racing this weekend after testing positive for COVID-19.

The 44-year-old Tasca, a Rhode Island native, will be replaced by 30-year-old Swedish driver Jonnie Lindberg – who won the Alcohol Funny Car championship in both 2015 and 2016 – for at least this weekend’s race at Lucas Oil Raceway in suburban Indianapolis.

“What makes this so scary is how good I felt for almost seven days from being exposed,” Tasca III said in a media release. “I had no symptoms but tested positive. I couldn’t believe it.

“Then day eight through 10 came, and I have never been so sick in my life. It’s so important we all practice social distancing and wearing masks. We all need to play a role in limiting the dangers of COVID-19.

“I am so disappointed I will not be with my team this week, but I know they will make us Ford fans proud. If I can help one other person make those choices, it’s worth me sharing my experience.”

Sunday’s race will be the first for the NHRA since the novel coronavirus (COVD-19) pandemic put the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season on hiatus in late February after its second race.

The next two race weekends will be held at Lucas Oil Raceway with fans in attendance.

NHRA officials will have an extensive safety protocol in place. Fans and anyone else entering the racetrack grounds will have their temperatures checked and will be required to wear facemasks and  practice social distancing.

Tasca told Ford Performance he plans to return to racing as soon as he is given medical clearance.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
Laurent Charniaux/Pool via Getty Images
Leave a comment

SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.