Bristol: Mike Ashley final report

Ashley moves into third place with quarterfinal finish in Bristol BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 8, 2007) -- After winning his last nine rounds of NHRA Funny Car competition, Mike Ashley's win streak was broken by a mere .002 seconds at the hands of...

Ashley moves into third place with quarterfinal finish in Bristol

BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 8, 2007) -- After winning his last nine rounds of NHRA Funny Car competition, Mike Ashley's win streak was broken by a mere .002 seconds at the hands of 14-time world champion and eventual event winner John Force in the quarterfinals of the O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Bristol Tennessee.

Ashley qualified No. 4 position with a 4.850 and recorded the fastest speed of the meet for all Funny Cars at 323.74 m.p.h. In the first round of eliminations, Ashley beat fellow New Yorker Tony Bartone 4.920/314.02 to 5.013/296.76, setting up the marquis match-up against the struggling defending champion.

Without lane choice, Ashley and the Torco Race Fuels Dodge Charger was relegated to the less-desirable left lane which had produced only one round win to that point in the day. As the lights turned green, Ashley delivered a blistering .022 reaction time to Force's .091, and led the race for the first 1319 feet; Force took the stripe just .002 seconds or approximately 11 inches ahead of Ashley to deny him the win.

"Now, THAT was a drag race," Ashley said. "I knew I'd have to be on top of my game in order to get past Force, and I gave it my all - but missed it by a hair.

"We really had to race the lane, and we were able to run the quickest of that round in that lane, but it just wasn't good enough this time," he said.

Ashley's quarterfinal finish propelled him solidly into third place with 690 POWERade points -- just 63 points out of second place.

"As we come into the last five races before the first cut in the Countdown, I really am confident. Our goal is to be in that top eight come Indy, and we're definitely on the road to achieving that."

In addition to moving up in points, the Gotham City Racing crew won the Full Throttle Pit Crew Challenge title for the event. Based on a points system, the program awards event payouts to the team in each class with the top-performing pit crew.

"I am so proud of our team. Here we are halfway through a six-week marathon, and we're performing so incredibly well. These guys are really the very best. It's this kind of performance and consistency that wins championships," Ashley said.

Ashley heads next to Denver, Colorado and the Mopar Mile-High Nationals this coming weekend, July 13-15.

-credit: gcr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Bartone , John Force , Mike Ashley