Ashley settles for No.2 and a track speed record
Reading, Saturday: Knoll Gas-TORCO Race Fuels Funny Car driver Mike Ashley only needed one pass down the track to earn the No.2 qualifying position at the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa. Ashley's stellar 4.694/330.96 in the first round of qualifying on Friday was only bettered by Tommy Johnson Jr.'s 4.693/327.27 in the rain-shortened qualifying today.
Ashley's mph of 330.96 did set the track record at Maple Grove, previously held by John Force at 327.82, while Johnson Jr. took the ET honors with his 4.693 second pass.
"You can't complain about number two - that's for sure," Ashley said. "We can only do our best, and to be qualified so high in a field like this, it's awesome.
"What you're seeing is a program with a vision - a vision to be a championship-caliber team. The missing ingredient was always time - and as time passes you're starting to see the team starting to jell, I'm starting to feel more comfortable in the car, Brian Corradi [crew chief] is doing a great job, and we have the incredible support of Torco Race Fuels," he said.
After Friday's last round of qualifying, Ashley quickly boarded a plane and headed back to New York for a critical meeting for mortgage bank Lend America, where he is Vice President.
"The meeting was very successful and I was able to rest well at home and be back here by 10:30 this morning, ready to race. I also got to bring my family with me, and that always gives me a huge boost, so I'm definitely ready and focused to race tomorrow," he said.
"What we have is a team that has the makings to win a couple of races yet this year, and compete for the championship next year, but for now, my eyes are on that Wally and tomorrow," he said.
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