Martin: Friday qualifying summary

Ashley Sizzles at US 131 Motorsports Park Sets pending IHRA world speed record during Friday qualifying of Torco Racing Fuels Northern Nationals MARTIN, Michigan (August 4, 2006) -- Mike Ashley made his name in the early days of the Torco Pro...

Ashley Sizzles at US 131 Motorsports Park

Sets pending IHRA world speed record during Friday qualifying of Torco Racing Fuels Northern Nationals

MARTIN, Michigan (August 4, 2006) -- Mike Ashley made his name in the early days of the Torco Pro Modified class, appearing in three IHRA national event finals and winning one Ironman by defeating Blake Wiggins at Bristol International Dragway in 1990.

After the Friday qualifying session at the Torco Racing Fuels Northern Nationals, Ashley, a Melville, N.Y. resident, might want to think about taking up the Nitro Funny Car class full time. Ashley jumped to the top of the qualifying sheet at US 131 Motorsports Park and set a pending IHRA world speed record in the process, blistering the quarter-mile strip with a 4.866 pass at 311.99 mph. He will have to drive his Torco-sponsored '05 Stratus to at least a 308.88 to back up the record either Saturday during qualifying or Sunday during eliminations.

"What a job by my team," Ashley said. "We wanted to do this for Evan Knoll. How about this IHRA drag racing? This is my home...where I got started. It's good to be home."

Ashley is just one of the many Torco Racing Fuels-sponsored cars Evan Knoll - owner of Knoll Gas, Torco Racing Fuels, Skull Gear, Skull Shine, Skull Gear, MACH Series Accelerator Fuel Additive and others - brought to the closest IHRA event to his corporate headquarters in Decatur, Mich. Dale Creasy, Jr., another Torco-backed entry, was #2 on the qualifying ladder after Friday with a 4.877 pass at 298.87 mph. Creasy (Beecher, Ill.) is the current IHRA Nitro Funny Car points leader.

Another Knoll-backed car jumped to the top of the Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Top Fuel qualifying sheet as T.J. Zizzo posted a career-best 4.664 et at 314.61 mph. Zizzo finished in front of Doug Foley, another Knoll-backed racer, who posted a 4.729 pass at 297.75 mph. Clay Millican (Drummonds, Tenn.), the current Top Fuel championship points leader, was third after Friday with a 4.790 pass.

Danny Rowe (Rossville, Ga.) claimed the provisional pole in the Knoll Gas-Torco Pro Modified class by driving his '63 Corvette to a 6.130/231.64. The Jimmy Rector-tuned Rowe ended up at the top of the largest Pro Modified field of the season as 42 cars took a shot at the track Friday.

Alan Pittman (Greenville, S.C.) qualified provisionally in the #2 position with a 6.135/230.06 pass while Steve Bareman (Holland, Mich.) spent Friday night in the #3 slot by carding a 6.168/234.49.

Rob Atchison may have set the US 131 Motorsports Park track speed record, but Terry Munroe (Beaver, Penn.) will spend Friday night on the top of the qualifying sheet. Munroe carded a 5.833 pass at 235.64 mph to claim provisional #1 qualifier honors, nosing out Tom Carter (Cuero, Tex.) who clocked the second-best time at 5.881.

Atchison (London, Ont.) broke Munroe's track speed record with a 245.99 mph hit at the finish line, but his 5.941 pass was only good enough for fourth on the qualifying ladder behind #3 Mark Thomas (Louisville, Ohio).

Frank Gugliotta (Mt. Airy, Md.) posted the best time in the Torco Racing Fuels Pro Stock class Friday. Gugliotta's 6.446 at 217.95 mph put him #1 and knocked almost a full second off the previous track speed record of 217.07 set by Steve Spiess (Manhattan, Ill.) last year.

Robert Patrick (Fredericksburg, Va.) drove his '06 Shelby Mustang to the #2 spot with a 6.455 pass while Spiess rounded out the top three with a 6.464 hit at 215.72 mph.

Qualifying resumes Saturday for the Torco Racing Fuels Northern Nationals at US 131 Motorsports Park. Gates open at 8 a.m. with Sportsman eliminations at 9 a.m., Professional qualifying at 3 and 7 p.m. Professional eliminations start Sunday at 11 a.m.

-ihra-

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Series Drag
Drivers Mark Thomas , Clay Millican , Alan Pittman , Robert Patrick , Mike Ashley , Doug Foley , Danny Rowe , Steve Spiess , Frank Gugliotta