Justin Ashley Racing
HOUSTON – During the 2020 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season rookie of the year front-runner 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 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.”
MELVILLE, NY – First year Top Fuel racer Justin Ashley, from Melville, New York, joined Pro Stock rookies Mason McGaha and Kyle Koretsky as the nominees for the 2020 NHRA Rookie of the Year award it was announced today on NHRA.com. Ashley, whose father Mike won three NHRA Funny Car national events including the prestigious U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis in 2007, had a stand out season which included a win at the NHRA Summernationals and a Top Ten finish in the Top Fuel category. With two races left Ashley could finish as high as 5th in the Camping World Top Fuel point standings.
“I think overall this Strutmasters.com Top Fuel team powered by MANSCAPED™ had a fantastic rookie season,” said Ashley, upon hearing the news of his nomination. “Just putting things in perspective we are racing the best drivers and teams in the world. These teams and drivers are the best at what they do so to be able to come out in our rookie season and just have an opportunity to be competitive and have a chance to win at every race we went to speaks volumes of our season. I also feel really good about how we represented ourselves off the track.”
Ironically, all three NHRA Rookie of the Year nominees are second generation racers who grew up in pit areas across the country watching their fathers compete on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. This season Kyle Koretsky scored two quarterfinal appearances in the Pro Stock division and Mason McGaha, qualified for the prestigious DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals where he went on to beat his dad in the opening round of Pro Stock.
MELVILLE, NY – After a career quickest run at the Texas Motorplex and his best start as a professional Top Fuel pilot rookie of the year front-runner Justin Ashley is eager to head south to Houston for the NHRA Spring Nationals this weekend. During last Saturday’s first qualifying session at the NHRA FallNationals Ashley drove his Strutmasters.com Top Fuel dragster powered by MANSCAPED™ to the top of the class and eventually settled for the No. 2 qualifier going into race day behind Steve Torrence the class point leader.
“Our first qualifying run on Saturday at the Texas Motorplex was amazing,” said Ashley. “It was right on the edge of making it or not making it. I am glad we held it together to get that run in. That shows how far this team has come.”
This weekend Ashley will once again be at a brand new track for the young driver but with support from his teammates and crew chief Aaron Brooks the driver from Melville, New York, is up for the challenge. Over the course of the season Ashley’s rookie team has gelled into a strong unit that gives him a consistent race car every day. In Dallas a gremlin forced the team to do a deep dive the week leading up to the Spring Nationals but Ashley is confident heading to Houston Raceway Park.
DALLAS – Racing at the Texas Motorplex and the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals for the first time Rookie of the Year front-runner Justin Ashley established himself as a fan favorite and a competitor making strides to build a competitive team for the future. On Saturday the driver from Melville, New York, turned heads with a career best elapsed time of 3.687 seconds in the opening round of qualifying. It was the quickest run of the session and held up as the second quickest qualifying time. It was another major step forward for the rookie driver and team. Ashley’s Strutmasters.com powered by MANSCAPED™ Top Fuel dragster which had the additional logos of Truck Air Ride Shocks displayed this weekend attempted unsuccessfully to grab the top spot back in the final session.
“It was one of those weekends. On the one hand we ran really well,” said Ashley. “We qualified No. 2 and made a career best run with a 3.68. (Crew chief) Aaron Brooks and the team did an awesome job. We just have something going on with the car that we have to fix and figure out. The bottom line is we will get it resolved and it will just take some time. These guys will do a deep dive this week and we will all improve.”
Today in the first round match up with Texan Lee Callaway Ashley was able to get the win to advance to the quarterfinals. His engine expired just as he crossed the finish line but he was rewarded with another win light. His winning time of 3.801 was enough to defeat Callaway’s 3.904 second pass. The aggressive nature of 11,0000 horsepower Top Fuel dragsters and the importance of round wins as a Top Five contending team has Ashley’s team giving every run their hardest effort. The young driver knows that breakage is part of the game but it doesn’t make it any easier.
MELVILLE, NY – With three races left in the 2020 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, NHRA Rookie of the Year top contender Justin Ashley will be racing to gain experience but also move up in the points. This weekend he makes his first trip with the Strutmasters.com Top Fuel dragster powered by MANSCAPED™ to the famed Texas Motorplex outside of Dallas, Texas, for the 35th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals. With one win under his belt in 2020 Ashley would like nothing more than to start his two weeks in the Lone Star State with a win on the all-concrete race track.
“I have never raced at the Texas Motorplex but you always hear about it being a great facility,” said Ashley. “My rookie year was only supposed to be a handful of races so to be able to race the full season has been amazing. I have to thank my sponsors for making this possible. Without each and every one of them, we wouldn’t be in position we are today.”
Two weeks ago Ashley and his rookie team faced their biggest challenge racing in brand new conditions and also with limited qualifying runs in St. Louis. Rain gave all the teams only one run in qualifying and then race day conditions were tough on all the teams. His team persevered and took the weekend as a learning experience.
Madison, IL – This weekend NHRA Rookie of the Year top contender Justin Ashley will have another brand new experience as he makes his first trip to World Wide Technology Raceway as a Top Fuel competitor. The rising NHRA star recently won his first Top Fuel title at the NHRA Summernationals and he is currently in the Top Five in the Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings. The AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals will be another chance for the Melville, New York second generation driver to continue to establish himself as an elite racer.
“I am looking forward to St. Louis because I have never raced there in any categories,” said Ashley. “It will be a fun experience. I remember going there as a kid and I used to love sitting in those wrap around seats. I used to be in the stands at that race and I am looking forward to being on track this coming weekend. It has a stadium feel that a lot of places don’t have. St. Louis is a great facility and has really great fans.”
The NHRA tour has begun to reach out across the country after hosting four consecutive races at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis from July through Labor Day weekend. Ashley and his Strutmasters.com Top Fuel dragster powered by MANSCAPED™ team are eager to engage with NHRA fans that have been patiently waiting for live in-person racing action.
GAINESVILLE, FL – For just the second time this season the Strutmasters.com powered by MANSCAPED™ Top Fuel dragster and driver Justin Ashley did not advance to the quarterfinals. In what has become a common occurrence this season Ashley faced reigning U.S. Nationals champion Shawn Langdon in the first round for the fourth time. Coming into today’s Gatornationals Ashley held a 2-1 first round win advantage and the fans were looking for some seriously low reaction times from these two excellent “leavers.”
As soon as Ashley hit the throttle, which he did in .039 seconds, his dragster was wounded, missing the power of a left side cylinder. The Strutmasters.com powered by MANSCAPED dragster continued to accelerate as it labored to catch up with his opponent. Ashley kept his race car in the groove but he was unable to catch up to Langdon. The quick exit was a hurdle that Ashley and his team were ready to put behind them.
“It is tough going out in first round at any race,” said Ashley. “With being fourth in the points with everyone so bunched up maybe it hurts a little more than usual. At the end of the day it is our job as a team to put this race behind us. We have St. Louis next weekend and I am focusing on that race already. We have to do everything we can to give ourselves a chance to win there. Regardless this team has fought through a lot just to be in the position that we are. Being fourth in the points is a privilege all by itself.”