Bristol: Mike Ashley preview

Ashley ready to win again in Bristol BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 4, 2007) - On the heels of his second NHRA Funny Car event win, Mike Ashley, driver of the Torco Race Fuels, Inc. Dodge Charger R/T, is anxious to maintain his winning ways as he heads ...

Ashley ready to win again in Bristol

BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 4, 2007) - On the heels of his second NHRA Funny Car event win, Mike Ashley, driver of the Torco Race Fuels, Inc. Dodge Charger R/T, is anxious to maintain his winning ways as he heads into Bristol, Tenn. for the rescheduled O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals this weekend.

Last weekend, Ashley defeated veteran racer Kenny Bernstein in the finals at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio and moved up two positions into fourth place in POWERade championship points. Ashley's first event win was June 1 at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan., and then he failed to qualify at the next two events.

"We really needed that win," said Ashley, a mortgage banker from New York. "We had struggled the previous two races, but we never questioned ourselves. In fact, we maintained our confidence even in the face of adversity. This proves that perseverance pays off and we definitely have what it takes to win.

"Brian [Corradi, crew chief] and the guys have worked really hard, and it paid off last weekend. Our focus now is to keep doing what works and maintain our position in the top eight as we get into the Countdown to the Championship," he said.

Ashley battled from the No. 8 qualifying position in Norwalk, dispatching John Force Racing standout Robert Hight along with veterans Jim Head and Tony Pedregon to get the finals where he faced the patriarch Bernstein.

"Racing Kenny Bernstein in the finals was really an honor - he's a legend and a true racing professional," Ashley said.

Ashley is no stranger to Bristol Raceway, where the event will be held this weekend. He won the event two years ago in his successful defense of the AMS Pro Mod World Championship title.

"You can't really compare driving a Pro Mod to Funny Car, because they are completely different types of car, and they handle in completely opposite ways. I do, however, know the track and we know the winning feeling, which is an advantage to any racer.

"So much of racing is your mental attitude, and, coming off an awesome win into a track where we've won before - we definitely are walking with confidence," Ashley said.

Qualifying in the Seventh annual O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Q, the 12th of 23 events in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, is scheduled to begin at 5 and 8 p.m. Friday, July 6, and continues at 1 and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 7. Eliminations are scheduled to begin at noon on Sunday, July 8.

-credit: gcr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Kenny Bernstein , Tony Pedregon , John Force , Mike Ashley , Robert Hight