TOP FUEL VETERANS WEIGH IN ON ROOKIE OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE JUSTIN ASHLEY
Tue, 2020-10-27 12:21
During the 2020 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season rookie of the year frontrunner, Justin Ashley won the Summernationals and has competed in 18 rounds of racing over the first nine events. His Strutmasters.com powered by MANSCAPED™ dragster has faced some of the toughest competitors and during the recently-completed NHRA Mopar Express Lane SpringNationals, five elite Top Fuel racers weighed in his rookie season.
Here are their thoughts on Ashley:
1999 Rookie of the Year and three-time Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown - “The kid has done a phenomenal job. Justin has been very sharp. He is very poised which I don’t think a lot of people understand. He doesn’t get too excited or too down. He is poised and he is always in that mode to attack. I saw it when he first started and drove our Top Fuel dragster and got his license. I could see that demeanor in him. All he honestly needed was more laps down the race track like anybody else when you drive a nitro car. His mindset and his focus with his racing you see nothing gets to him. I expect to see him do great things and he will be a championship contender.”
2013 Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon - “He has done exceptionally well. It is nerve-wracking coming in your rookie year racing against guys you have grown up watching. The rare thing that you see is a rookie come in and raise a bar on any level. Typically rookies come in and they just try to find their own and try to blend in. It is really hard to be a rookie and stand out at anything. He has come in and excelled in a couple of areas.
“He has done a fantastic job on the starting line. He came in and raised the bar on reaction times. That is really rare to see. For someone to do that first you have to tip your cap to them and second, you have to get back in and do your homework to better yourself to raise your bar to that level. That is what he has done to us and what we have been trying to do and catch up to him. For his rookie year, he has his first victory, he has gone some rounds and he has definitely gotten his name out there. He has gotten noticed and that is really all you can ask for in your rookie season.”
1998 Rookie of the Year and 49-time Top Fuel national event winner Doug Kalitta - “From what I have seen he is doing a great job. He is really consistent on the tree. He is hammering the tree most of the time. You have to be on your ‘A’ game when he rolls up next to you for sure. I am really proud to see what he is doing.”
Two-time Top Fuel world champion Steve Torrence - “He has done an exceptional job. I kind of watched him a little bit through the alcohol dragster ranks and he is always on the tree. He seems to be really smooth and he has picked up and adapted really well.”
Eight-time Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher on Justin Ashley - “Justin is doing a great job. Obviously like me having a father that is there to guide you through it is outstanding. The key is he apparently listens. I haven’t sat down and had a conversation with him and I don’t need to. The kid has a father who knows how to race and he has a lot of friends helping out. The kid is paying attention because he is doing a great job.”
Justin Ashley head to head
vs. Antron Brown, 1-2
vs. Shawn Langdon, 2-3
vs. Doug Kalitta, 2-2
vs. Steve Torrence, 0-1
vs. Tony Schumacher, 0-0