Ashley finds success on evening run; earns provisional spot in field
Bristol, Friday: On a cool evening in the mountains of eastern Tennessee, NHRA POWERade Funny Car racer Mike Ashley didn't drive a racecar, he wrestled it. The SKULL GEAR/Torco Race Fuels-sponsored Funny Car wanted to go left. Ashley wanted to go straight. Ashley won the battle, but the cost was his time.
"We had a good one going, but that episode cost us over almost a tenth and half at least," Ashley said. "I could feel it was on a good run. It got wild down there. The front wheels jumped up in the air and it got pretty entertaining for the fans."
Ashley, the world's fastest mortgage banker from Melville, NY, drove his Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a 4.873 elapsed time at 287 miles per hour. Crew chief Mark Oswald admitted the progressive times should have produced a 4.74 at over 320 miles per hour.
Such is racing, but Ashley's happy with one key element. The car ran well during the evening session. Thus far this season Ashley has traditionally made his best run during the first session only to struggle later in the day.
Ashley did what he had to do to get in the show. He ended the day as the 16th seeded driver.
"At the time what I did was instinct but when you look back at it that was probably the lesser of the two evils," Ashley said. "Crossing the center line would have thrown the run out and by missing on our first run, we couldn't afford to go into Saturday with no data."
Ashley was one of several Funny Car drivers who smoked the tires during a traction-plagued first session. Today the flip-flop worked in his favor.
"It's just a testimony to the resolve of my team," Ashley said. "Mark Oswald and the team carefully analyzes every situation and the next time we run it is implemented into the program. That's exactly what we did today. Funny Cars demand you to drive them and tonight I had to do just that."
"Tomorrow will bring a new day."
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