TOPEKA, KS – Justin Ashley, driver of the Smart Sanitizer Top Fuel dragster powered by Strutmasters.com, has been looking forward to the Menards NHRA Nationals presented by Pet Armor since the beginning of the season. For Ashley it is a chance to show off his skills for the first time at Heartland Motorsports Park in the backyard of sponsor Menards and also highlight a new relationship with RISE Brewing Company at the same time. In advance of this weekend’s NHRA national event Ashley has been encouraging his fans or any NHRA fan to snap a photo with any RISE Brewing Company product and post on Twitter or Instagram for a chance to win tickets and a VIP experience at the track on Saturday.
“I love interacting with our fans on social media. Giving away tickets to the Menards NHRA Nationals in conjunction with our partners at RISE Brewing Company was the perfect way to show our appreciation,” said Ashley, who has a strong following on a number of social media platforms. “Fans can take a picture with RISE and then post it on Instagram or Twitter for a chance to win tickets to the race. We will host them on Saturday morning in our pits for a VIP tour and some autographs.”
Part of Ashley’s eagerness to get back behind the wheel is to both maintain the momentum of a runner-up finish at the NHRA Winternationals and also put a new nutrition program through its paces. During an incredibly hot event Ashley and his Smart Sanitizer Top Fuel team defeated Buddy Hull, Brittany Force and Antron Brown before squaring off with Leah Pruett in the final round. Throughout the day Ashley was maintaining the fuel for his race car but the young driver was not maintaining his personal fuel situation. The second year driver was unable to compete in the final round climbing out of his 11,000 horsepower Top Fuel dragster with a severe case of heat exhaustion.
“Immediately after Pomona I went to work developing a better nutrition plan,” confessed Ashley after the event. “We’re going to be racing in similar conditions throughout the remainder of the summer. It’s important to be ready. During the week I am especially focused on my nutrition but at the races I have a tendency to let it get away from me because I am focused on the race car and other responsibilities. I have a much better plan in place now with the help of Antron Brown and many others within the drag racing community. I am excited to get back into the race car. This is what I love to do.”
The biggest positive from the race in California was it highlighted the continued development of his young team under the direction of veteran crew chief Mike Green. With track temperatures soaring over 140 degrees Ashley’s dragster, backed by Auto Shocker, KATO Fastening Systems and others in addition to Smart Sanitizer and Strutmasters, made consistent runs down the track.
“We had a great weekend in Pomona in very tricky conditions,” said Ashley.” I anticipate the conditions to be similar in Topeka with the heat this weekend. We have a lot of confidence heading into this race with Mike Green as our crew chief and a great Davis Motorsports team behind him. We’ll look to continue carrying some momentum into this race. A race that will be another new track for me and a fun experience. My father won there in 2007 so we will be looking to add another win for the family.”
The chance to add another Wally to the Ashley family trophy case is a major motivating factor. Also with three races before the end of the regular season Ashley and his Davis Motorsports team are aware of their positioning in the Top Ten and would like to solidify their spot with another strong weekend. The team is just 48 points out of fifth place and has a 156 points lead over the team in eleventh place. The top ten teams exiting the U.S. Nationals Labor Day will have a chance at racing for the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship.
Qualifying for the Menards NHRA Nationals will get underway Friday, August 13, at 8 p.m. with two additional qualifiers on Saturday, August 14, at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Final eliminations will start on Sunday at 11 a.m. with the race broadcast on Fox from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. ET