NORWALK, OH (June 27, 2021) — Almost fifteen years after joining his dad, Mike Ashley, in the winner’s circle after he took the inaugural Funny Car win at the NHRA Norwalk Nationals Justin Ashley and the Smart Sanitizer Top Fuel dragster powered by Strutmasters.com were looking to flip the script and win the Top Fuel title. Two days of qualifying that included one of the quickest passes under race day conditions had Ashley poised for his second career victory. The second year driver qualified No. 7 and raced to a quarterfinal finish at his first professional appearance at Summit Motorsports Park.
Ashley took the first round win over rookie Josh Hart in a rematch of the semifinal from the Gatornationals earlier this season. In that race Hart got a single to the final round after Ashley’s Top Fueler was unable to start. Today there were no issues and both drivers were at the top of their game leaping off the starting line with excellent reaction times and the Smart Sanitizer Top Fuel dragster powered by Strutmasters.com flew down the track with its quickest run of the weekend. The winning time of 3.778 seconds was a big improvement over the two days of qualifying and validated crew chief Mike Green’s strategy for race day. The strong elapsed time also gave the 2020 Rookie of the Year lane choice over Brittany Force in the quarterfinals.
After a brief delay for rain Ashley pulled up beside Force in a race between two of the rising stars of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Ashley had lane choice by virtue of a quicker first round elapsed time and he jumped off the line first. Both cars were accelerating as they passed the Christmas Tree when Ashley’s race car briefly lost traction. He pedaled the throttle to try and regain traction but Force was pulling away on a solid run.
“It was unique circumstances but at the same time each of the teams that were up there were all in the same situation,” said Ashley. “Brittany has a good team and they have a really fast race car so we knew we needed to go up there and run well. I thought Mike and the team did a fantastic job all weekend. We were going up and down the track. This is just a part of racing and the cool thing is we get to learn from it. We will be back in a few weeks. It was great to see the Smart Sanitizer kiosk in action at the track and we also had a great time representing Auto Shocker and KATO Fastening Systems to a packed house of fans.”
Ashley and his team will regroup after this race and make plans for a regular season stretch run to move up in the Camping World Top Fuel point standings. The team moved up to sixth in points and are just over two rounds of racing, 48 points, out of fifth place.
Q1: 3.814 sec, 312.93 mph; Qual. 6
Q2: 3.803 sec, 317.87 mph; Qual. 7
Q3: 3.964 sec, 240.51 mph; Qual. 7
Bonus Points: +1 (3rd quickest of Q2)
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
Justin Ashley 7 .047 3.778 322.19 (W)
Josh Hart 10 .031 3.818 290.44
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
Justin Ashley 7 .041 4.959 154.71
Brittany Force 2 .074 3.735 326.71 (W)
Camping World Drag Racing Series Top Ten – Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence, 733
2. Antron Brown, 518
3. Billy Torrence, 448
4. Brittany Force, 442
5. Shawn Langdon, 385
6. Justin Ashley, 337
7. Doug Kalitta, 332
8. Leah Pruett, 320
9. Mike Salinas, 318
10. Josh Hart, 310
About Justin Ashley Racing
Justin Ashley Racing in partnership with Davis Motorsports fields the Strutmasters.com Top Fuel dragster in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. During his Top Fuel rookie season in 2020 Justin won the NHRA Summernationals, finished in the Top Ten and was recognized as the 2020 NHRA Rookie of the Year. Prior to his professional debut Ashley has three wins in Top Alcohol Dragster on the Lucas Oil Series. He is the son of multi-time NHRA national event winner Mike Ashley. In 2017, he was named to the Drag Illustrated magazine’s 30 under 30 list, highlighting some of racing’s most promising young individuals on and off the racetrack. When he’s not racing, Ashley serves as President of Ashley Developers, a real estate investment organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of distressed properties. To learn more about Justin Ashley Racing, visit JustinAshley.com.