JUSTIN ASHLEY SCORES MONUMENTAL NHRA DIV. 1 LODRS VICTORY
Justin Ashley had a date with destiny on Saturday night.
The second-generation drag racer captured an impressive victory winning the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Div. 1 Top Alcohol Dragster crown behind the wheel of the Randy Meyer Racing entry at Virginia Motorsports Park, located outside of Richmond, Va, But this simply wasn't just another victory.
Ashley not only qualified #2 in the quickest-ever NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster field (5.265 bump) but also stopped Jared Dreher in the final round to capture his first-ever divisional title.
It seemed like yesterday that the 24-year old real estate developer was at VMP, then 8, watching his father Mike Ashley score his first victory behind the wheel a supercharged car.
"The car ran so well all weekend," Ashley said. "We were able to keep the car in the teens all weekend, and we needed to be there because this was the quickest field in Top Alcohol Dragster history. The competition out here was simply amazing."
Ashley fired his first shot in qualifying with a 5.177, 277.66 pass to land #2 behind Richard Rourke's 5.161.
Ashley said this kind of performance was the kind he'd envisioned when he declared his team would compete for a Top Alcohol Dragster title.
"Anytime I get behind the wheel of this car, Randy Meyer and his team put me in a position to win," Ashley explained. "This is the kind of performance we expect week in and week out."
Ashley's march to the winner's circle began with his quickest run of the weekend, a 5.141, to stop Julie Nataas. He then used an .04 light and a 5.158 to lead Dan Page through the lights.
In the final round, Ashley outreacted Dreher and scored the victory with a 5.238. Dreher slowed to a 7.164 for runner-up.
Ashley believes the key to the weekend success was getting off on the right foot on Friday.
"I think running the 5.19 out of the trailer gave us good data to start with," Ashley said. "We were able to start there and just walk it up with every run."
Mathew Gill won the Top Alcohol Funny Car portion of the event, stopping DJ Cox in the final round. Gill ran a 5.508, 268.22 for the win as Cox lifted early.
Past NHRA Comp series champion Doug Doll won Competition Eliminator by tracking down the H/Super Modified entry of Mark Moreland.
Other winners included Joseph Santangelo (Super Stock), Thomas Fletcher (Stock), Chris Garretson (Super Comp), Jim Perry (Super Gas), Don Garbinski (Super Street), Ronald Proctor (Top Sportsman) and Mark Payne (Top Dragster).