Ashley will roll to the starting line at Gainesville Raceway hot off a semi-final finish at last weekend’s Baby Gators event, the NHRA Division 2 Top Alcohol opener, behind the wheel of the Randy Meyer injected-nitro dragster.
“My team gave me an incredible race car to work with,” Ashley said. “We were able to qualify and make it to the semis. This is an excellent way to start off the new season, and we are ready to chase a championship with this Epic Motorsports Marketing/Realty Warehouse dragster.”
Last year’s monumental event for the second-generation drag racer will always hold a special place in his heart not only because of it being his first win but the first victory since losing his grandfather, Kenneth Ashley.
Ashley, who pilots the Epic Motorsports Marketing/Realty Warehouse A/Fuel Dragster for Randy Meyer, learned quickly to keep his emotions in check, even when he had plenty to get emotional about.
“What works best for me is keeping the emotions out of it – being mechanical.,” explained Ashley, a two-time winner in 2017. ” And that’s something I learned from my father and Frank Hawley. Get in the car and do the same thing every time. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first round of qualifying or the fourth round of eliminations on Sunday. You just put all your emotions to the side, don’t get too high, don’t get too low. Just get in the car, do your job. There’s plenty of time at the finish line to show your emotions.”
Ashley proved a quick study as he laid down a No. 1 qualifier in his first outing, the NHRA Division 2 opener in Gainesville, Fla. A week later, he drove his way to the winner’s circle at the NHRA Gatornationals. And for good measure, he added a No. 1 qualifier at the prestigious NHRA U.S Nationals and a second win in Brainerd, Minn.
Competitionplus.com to premiere Medlen episode at PRI in Indianapolis
Spartansburg, SC – Competitionplus.com owner and publisher Bobby Bennett had an idea back in 2013 for an online video series looking at the legends of the NHRA Drag Racing Series. From the outset Legends: The Series told the behind-the-scenes stories of drag racing’s storied subjects who often reveal untold stories in these interviews.
The pilot episode featured 16-time Funny Car champion John Force talking about his early days chasing sponsors as an upstart Funny Car driver, the episode, Chasing Uncorporate America, was viewed almost 50,000 times. The inaugural season featured eleven episodes and highlighted a diverse group that included Bill Doner, Graham Light and Steve Reyes to name a few.
CONCORD, NC – NHRA Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett, who earned a spot in the Countdown to the Championship this September for the first time in her career by unexpectedly having to race for three different team owners and a revolving door of sponsors, is the 2016 recipient of CompetitionPlus.com’s Mike Aiello “Spirit of Drag Racing” Award.
CompetitionPlus.com publisher/editor Bobby Bennett presented the trophy Sunday to Pritchett at zMAX Dragway during pre-race ceremonies for the NHRA Carolina Nationals.
The Mike Aiello Award honors the Houston native and standout college athlete at Texas Tech University who was a longtime drag-racing fan and former NHRA Pro Stock crew member. Aiello spent his final years confined to a wheelchair after a workplace injury. Despite physical hardship and severe mobility limitations, he not only attended drag races but made dozens of friends among racers, crew members, and media with his positive outlook and unselfish behavior. Aiello passed away December 29, 2006, at age 39, at Santa Monica, Calif.
Ashley, 21, and son of two-time Pro Modified champion Mike Ashley will make his competition debut this weekend at the Professional Drag Racers Association’s Spring Nationals in Rockingham, North Carolina behind the wheel of Barry Brown’s Top Dragster entry.
A graduate of the Junior Dragster ranks, Ashley said this weekend is the result of many years working toward the ultimate goal of becoming a national event drag racer.
“Now that I’m getting ready to graduate from college the opportunity is really presenting itself,” said Ashley, a senior at Ithaca College majoring in business. “I just want to go out there and compete. I love the whole competition aspect of being an athlete, and I like the idea of competing at the highest levels, that part really excites me.