Ashley wins in IHRA homecoming at Torco Northern Nationals MARTIN, Mich. (August 6, 2007) - It's been 17 years since he last graced the winner's circle at an IHRA race, but for Mike Ashley, 'the Kid from Long Island,' the full circle back to his...
Ashley wins in IHRA homecoming at Torco Northern Nationals
MARTIN, Mich. (August 6, 2007) - It's been 17 years since he last graced the winner's circle at an IHRA race, but for Mike Ashley, 'the Kid from Long Island,' the full circle back to his drag racing beginnings is a dream come true. Ashley won the rain-delayed final in the IHRA Torco Race Fuels Northern Nationals at Knoll Gas Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan against Mitch King in an anticlimactic race that saw King break during his burnout and Ashley smoke the tires just after the hit and coast across the line to claim the Iron Man event trophy.
From the track ET record-setting No. 1 qualifying position at 4.812/316.23, Ashley defeated Gary Densham and Jack Wyatt on Sunday before rain forced the postponement of the finals until Monday morning.
"It was 1990 when I last won a race in IHRA, and winning today proves that if you have a dream and believe in it, it can happen," Ashley said.
"It's been great being here, like a homecoming for me, and being with Evan Knoll and Latrell [Preston, Torco CFO] and the rest of the people from Torco is always fun. I can't thank them enough for all they do for me."
Ashley said he dedicated the win to his special guest, 15-year-old T.J. from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, who inspired him throughout the time they spent together this weekend.
"This win is for T.J., because he is a dreamer, just like me, and he has the determination to see beyond circumstances and believe in his dreams."
The Make-A-Wish Foundation works to enrich the lives of children who have been diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions through granting wishes, and T.J.'s wish involved racing - and helping others. After having been diagnosed with leukemia and undergoing chemotherapy, he struggled with the effects of the medication and the loss of his hair. He had to ask for a hat to cover his head, and since then has made it his personal mission to break the world record for hat collections, currently 87,000. T.J. hopes to give the hats he collects to others who suffer in similar situations.
"T.J. is a winner and an example of how positive thoughts and attitudes can make things happen. I've loved getting to know him, and am really looking forward to having a special fan from Michigan believing in me as we head back to NHRA and the Countdown to the Championship," Ashley said.