Dallas: Mike Ashley Saturday notes

Ashley relieved with No. 11 in Dallas ENNIS, Texas (September 22, 2007) - For Funny Car driver Mike Ashley, the choice not to race Saturday was as clear as choosing not to step in front of a moving train, and as it turns out, his Friday-night ...

Ashley relieved with No. 11 in Dallas

ENNIS, Texas (September 22, 2007) - For Funny Car driver Mike Ashley, the choice not to race Saturday was as clear as choosing not to step in front of a moving train, and as it turns out, his Friday-night 4.868 was strong enough to earn the No. 11 spot heading into eliminations on Sunday.

"I'm not really the one who is a hero here, because it was never even a thought to race. The real hero this weekend and the ones who deserve the kudos are my sponsor Evan Knoll, and my entire team. Evan could have said to me 'you're running for a championship, and I want you to race on Saturday, that's what I sponsor you for' - but he didn't. Instead, he stood behind me and supported me and who I am as a person and not just as a racecar driver - and I think that says so much more about him and what he believes.

"And, likewise, my team was behind me 100 percent. Over and over they've said how much the respected me for what I was doing, but, really, this is about them, and their decision not to question, or back down, but maintain their focus and get us into the field Friday night," Ashley said.

"Would you jump off the Empire State Building just because you were on top of it? Of course not - the thought doesn't enter your mind. You just don't do it - and it was the same for me. Honoring Yom Kippur is what I believe and who I am - and it proved to be a good sacrifice."

Ashley's 4.868 mark was only bested by Cruz Pedregon on Saturday with an impressive 4.860 in the heat of the day to push Ashley to the No. 11 spot. Ashley's speed of 322.11 remained the fastest of qualifying.

In the first round of eliminations, Ashley will match up against veteran Kenny Bernstein, whom he faced in the finals of Norwalk, Ohio event when Ashley won his second event of the season. Eliminations are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. (CDT).

-credit: gcr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kenny Bernstein , Cruz Pedregon , Mike Ashley