Joliet: Mike Ashley Friday summary

Parts Failure Pushes Ashley to Provisional 16th Spot JOLIET, Ill. (June 8, 2007) - Mike Ashley started the day right where he left off after last week's win in Topeka, Kan. - at the top of the field after the first round of qualifying in the...

Parts Failure Pushes Ashley to Provisional 16th Spot

JOLIET, Ill. (June 8, 2007) - Mike Ashley started the day right where he left off after last week's win in Topeka, Kan. - at the top of the field after the first round of qualifying in the Torco Race Fuels NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Ill. Parts failure took its toll on the Torco Race Fuels Dodge Charger however, and Ashley ended the day in the provisional No. 16 spot heading into Saturday qualifying.

Ashley and Team Gotham were one of the few teams able to navigate the hot track during the first round, posting a 4.867/314.17 to take the top spot. Despite an engine fire at the end of the run that burned the data cables and kept the team from gathering vital information, the team remained confident heading into the second round.

"Chicago is such a great track, there are always great numbers to be had here," Ashley said. "We were ready for a stellar run, and were really looking to stay on top after the second round."

Describing the car's performance in round two, Ashley said, "I could tell it was going to be one of the quickest laps I'd ever run - it really grabbed me and threw me back.

"After about 60 or 100 feet though, it just hazed the tires, and I couldn't get back into it to go anywhere," he said.

As the car was examined after the run, a broken clutch arm was found to be the culprit, having broken just after the initial throttle hit and causing the clutch to lock up early and the tires to lose traction.

"Honestly, I'm not worried about being in the field. We have a car that can come out and run a mid-70 easily, which is what I think we'll do, and we'll be right in the top half of the field heading into Sunday.

"I'm actually glad this happened today instead of on race day. It really doesn't matter to me if I'm number one or number 16 - I still look at the tree the same way, react the same way - regardless of where I qualify. I think it's just more of a shock, after coming off the win in Topeka.

"I've seen it over and over - teams come out and either do really well after a win, or they get their tails handed to them. I tell the guys, we just have to keep doing what we've been doing all along - and the rest will take care of itself," he said.

Qualifying continues in the Torco Race Fuels NHRA Route 66 Nationals with nitro rounds scheduled for 1 and 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Eliminations are scheduled to begin Sunday, June 10, at 11 a.m. (all times Central Daylight Time).

-credit: gcr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Ashley