Top Fuel ace Justin Ashley had a special surprise visitor at his Strutmasters.com / Auto Shocker Dragster pits Saturday morning.

“Joe Amato was kind enough to stop by,” he said.

Ashley was stunned when his girlfriend popped her head into the hauler lounge and let him know Amato, the five-time Top Fuel champion and successful businessman, was waiting outside to visit with him.

“I have a lot of respect for him as a driver and a businessman,” Ashley, last season’s NHRA rookie of the year, said. “He was kind enough to come over and introduce himself. We spoke for a while, touched on all things racing and all things business. He was kind enough to share some advice and some stories.”

He said those few minutes were “a really, really cool deal for me, to know that he took the time to come over and talk to me. He had a lot of really kind words to say. Hopefully he and I can stay in touch.

“He’s a very smart guy. Racing is one thing, right? But listening to him on the business side is super- important to me,” Ashley said. The 26-year-old entrepreneur said he wanted to maximize the opportunity “to pick his brain and see what he says, because obviously he’s a super-successful guy – and a good guy.

“Definitely, that just made my weekend, right there,” he said. “It was so cool.”

Amato had another surprise for Ashley. “Believe it or not, Ashley said, “he said his daughter is a big fan. I got a kick out of that. He asked to take a picture together.”

by Susan Wade


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