SONOMA, CA (July 24, 2022) — As the Western Swing has unfolded from Colorado to California

Justin Ashley and the Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel dragster powered by Vita C Energy raced to the quarterfinals today at the Sonoma Nationals. In back-to-back weekends Ashley recorded a semifinal and quarterfinal finish with one race remaining the three-race stretch. Ashley entered race day as the No. 6 qualifier following a strong final lap on Saturday afternoon that propelled him into the top half of the field.

Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel dragster powered by Vita C Energy, photo by Ron Lewis Photography

The Phillips Connect Toyota dragster powered by Vita C Energy was facing one of the other young stars of NHRA in Alex Laughlin who races Top Fuel at select events each season. Ashley’s best qualifying run of the weekend in the final session gave him lane choice and confidence going into the first round. He took a starting line advantage and never looked back getting to the finish line for the win with a 3.752 second run at 323.58 mph in front of Laughlin’s 3.803 pass. It was a critical win as every driver in the top seven won their first round match-ups. Ashley was able to hold onto his lead over the four drivers behind him and keep pace with the two drivers he is trying to chase down.

Racing against Mike Salinas in the quarterfinals Ashley was able to get off the starting line first with the Phillips Connect Toyota dragster lifting the front wheels as the rear Goodyear slicks hooked up. Accelerating to over 100 mph in less than a second Ashley immediately had his hands full as his dragster moved towards the centerline and he was furiously working to keep his dragster in the middle of the groove. Salinas was on a clean pass and as Ashley’s dragster made a dramatic move towards the wall he made the decision to lift to regain control.

“The car took off and carried the front end like it usually does,” said Ashley, who has two wins so far this season. “That right lane tends to pull you to the left. When the car settled down it was already moving to the center line. When I went to make the correction, it bounced up again. I was trying to move it over to the right and nothing was happening then you have nowhere to go. It just started spinning the tires and shot over to the right and you are better off to call it a day.”

Phillips Connect Toyota dragster, photo by Ron Lewis

The dramatic move by his 11,000 horsepower Phillips Connect dragster was a new experience for the 2020 NHRA Rookie of the Year. Throughout his young career Ashley has added passes and experiences to his resume. The quarterfinal run was another chance for Ashley to improve.

“It caught my attention for sure,” said Ashley. “You are trying to hang with it as long as you can. I was in the car thinking I am moving it over to the right and it has to start moving pretty soon. It wasn’t going anywhere because the front end was still up. I heard him beside me and it whipped over the right.”

The Sonoma Nationals had three days of nearly sellout crowds and Ashley spent considerable time with the fans. The opportunity to talk about his marketing partners like Bendix, Velociti, Sensata Insights, Lucas Oil, and KATO Fastening Systems was a great experience. The team will head to Seattle sitting in third place in the Camping World Drag Racing Series Top Fuel point standings.

Qualifying Results

Q1: 3.861 sec, 268.33 mph; Qual. 5

Q2: 4.687 sec, 178.53 mph; Qual. 11

Q3: 3.713 sec, 332.51 mph; Qual. 6

Bonus Points: +3 (Quickest of Q3)

Race Results

First Round

Justin Ashley, Phillips Connect Toyota dragster powered by Vita C Energy, 3.752, 323.58 mph def. Alex Laughlin, Bluff Dale, Tex., Havoline dragster, 3.803, 315.56 mph

Second Round

Mike Salinas, San Jose, Calif., Pleasanton Ready Mix dragster, 3.701, 334.98 mph def. Justin Ashley, Phillips Connect Toyota dragster powered by Vita C Energy, 3.937, 246.03 mph

Camping World Drag Racing Series Top Ten – Top Fuel

1. Brittany Force         982

2. Mike Salinas           976

3. Justin Ashley          842

4. Steve Torrence       804

5. Josh Hart                 636

6. Leah Pruett             601

6. Shawn Langdon      601

8. Austin Prock            570

9. Doug Kalitta             566

10. Clay Millican         551

About Justin Ashley Racing
Justin Ashley Racing in partnership with Davis Motorsports fields the Phillips Connect Top Fuel dragster powered by Vita C Shot in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. In 2021 Ashley raced to three final rounds with a win at the Texas Fall Nationals in Dallas and ultimately finished No. 4 in the Top Fuel standings. 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. To learn more about Justin Ashley Racing, visit


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