Ashley No. 1 for the first time
Las Vegas, Saturday: For the first time in his Funny Car Career, Mike Ashley, driver of the Torco Race Fuels, Inc. Dodge Charger, will head into Sunday's eliminations of the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the top qualifying position.
Ashley held off the rest of the pack based on the strength of his record-setting Friday night run of 4.725/334.32. The run stands as a track speed record and the fastest Funny Car run in NHRA history, but must be backed up within one percent this weekend to be an official world record.
"Honestly, I'm really humbled to be here," Ashley said. "We've all been working so hard for this, I really have to give all the credit to my team. Brian [Corradi, crew chief], Mark [Oswald], Steve [Boggs] and the rest of the guys, they all bust their tails every day, because they know we can do this.
"The guys wrote me a note on the dash of the car that says, 'United we stand, United we fall' - and today, we're standing tall, all together," he said.
"Of course, none of this would be possible at all without the support and friendship of Evan Knoll and Torco Race Fuels. He's such an incredible man, and he does so much for so many other people, I'm glad we were able to perform so well for him this weekend - he deserves it," Ashley said.
A student of personal development, Ashley credits his focus and success in part to an 'I'll just let it happen' attitude.
"I felt earlier in the season that I was trying to force a win and not let the power or our team carry me to success. When I took the pressure off of myself and let things start to happen, our preparation and practice took over, and as you can see, we ended up on top.
"I am very confident we'll have a win soon, and I hope it's tomorrow, but with the weather threatening to change, everything will be different, so we'll go out and do our best - like the guys said. Stand together, united, and expect to win," Ashley said.
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