Ashley finds silver lining despite first-round loss
Las Vegas, Sunday: "That's racing," was all a disappointed Mike Ashley could say after his first-round loss to Jack Beckman in the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Coming into the day as number one qualifier and holding the honor of having run the fastest pass in history in a Funny Car, he said he had expected more, but was always realistic about the possibilities.
"Let's face it," Ashley explained. "When you pull to the starting line, someone will win, someone will lose. I always expect to win, but I know that sometimes it just doesn't work that way.
"This sport is very humbling. One second you're the fastest car in the world, the next second you just can't get down the track. Ups and downs - just like life," he said.
Ashley's Torco Race Fuels, Inc. Dodge Charger left the starting line well and was side-by-side with Beckman until about 1000 feet where the tires momentarily lost traction, giving "Fast" Jack the chance to drive around and steal the win. The final numbers: Ashley ran a 5.106/250 to Beckman's 4.775/327.
"There are a whole lot of positives about this weekend," Ashley said. "First, we were able to qualify at the top and run the fastest in history - and that's awesome. Second, Evan Knoll and Latrell Preston are here from Torco, and we were able to put on a good show for them, although I really wanted to give them the win.
"Another thing is that the team won the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship for the weekend because we qualified so well, which puts $3,000 in their pocket, so that should ease some of the sting for them," Ashley said.
Teams earn points in the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship based on a simple formula calculated from their performance and consistency during qualifying runs for the weekend.
Ashley went on to say, "If you look at the big picture, things are really coming together, and the trend is moving up, very fast. We had the fastest and quickest car in Houston, and we qualified number one here with the fastest run ever in Funny Car. To think that this is only my fifth race as a nitro Funny Car team owner, and we're doing so well is an incredible testament to the strength of the program.
"Now, we get ready, pack it all up and head to Atlanta to do it all again and keep the momentum we've been building," Ashley said.
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