Bob Tasca III, having lost the services of Mike Neff in tuning his NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Motorcraft Ford Mustang Funny Car, has hired veterans Todd Okuhara and Aaron Brooks as co-crew chiefs for the 2023 season that begins the second weekend of March, on the Gainesville Raceway dragstrip.
Okuhara, most recently crew chief for eight-time Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher during a long stint with Don Schumacher Racing (2005-2022), has a 30-year professional career in the sport. The Hawaiian debuted as a crew chief with Jack Beckman in 2006 and served as DSR’s director of racing from 2013-2022. He tuned Leah Pruett from 2016-2021, before she departed for Tony Stewart Racing, and worked with Schumacher last season.
“I’m excited to join Tasca Racing as the co-crew chief for Bob Tasca III,” Okuhara said. “The Tasca name is synonymous with drag racing and I”m really looking forward to helping Bob continue the success he has developed over the past few seasons. It’s also going to be great working with Aaron Brooks once agin. I can’t wait to get down to Florida to start testing.”
Since 2009, Aaron Brooks has been a nitro crew chief in both Top Fuel and Funny Car; he spent last season in Top Fuel tuning the part-time effort of Doug Foley. Brooks’ entry to the sport was with Don Prudhomme’s team; he, too, spent many years with Don Schumacher Racing.
“I couldn’t be happier to be part of the team that Bob Tasca III is building,” Brooks explained. “Todd Okuhara and I have been putting our heads together over the winter to create a really consistent car for Bob this season. I’m looking forward to testing and the [Amalie Motor Oil] Gatornationals over the next month.”
Tasca finished fourth in the highly competitive Funny Car class in 2022, just 178 points behind champion Ron Capps of Ron Capps Motorsports, The past two seasons have been his two most successful ones: in 2021 he won a career-high three Wally trophies and finished the season third; in 2022, he also collected three wins and took fourth place behind Capps’ Toyota GR Supra, Robert Hight’s Chevrolet Camaro SS from John Force Racing and the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat of Tony Stewart Racing’s Matt Hagan.
“I’m pleased to welcome Todd Okuhara and Aaron Brooks to Tasca Racing and the Ford family,” driver/owner Tasca said. “I’ve admired Todd’s work for years, and he has developed highly successful teams in both Funny Car and Top Fuel. Aaron has excelled at capitalizing upon every resource he has available tori as a tuner in all classes. Todd and Aaron have some experience working together, which has been paying dividends already as we get ready to test next week in Gainesville.”