Mike Ashley Englishtown Pro Mod preview

Big Apple's mortgage banker Mike Ashley races Pro Mod at Englishtown ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 13, 2003) -- The fourth of ten events on the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge unfolds May 16-18 at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in...

Big Apple's mortgage banker Mike Ashley races Pro Mod at Englishtown

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 13, 2003) -- The fourth of ten events on the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge unfolds May 16-18 at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J. New York's Mike Ashley is one Pro Mod driver who will temporally give up his day job as a mortgage banker to participate in this weekend's action.

Ashley dreamed of being a race car driver since watching his first race at the age of four. A little over three decades later the Long Island, N.Y.-based mortgage banker turned Pro Modified driver admits that he is living his dream every time he straps into his supercharged, 2,500 horsepower Pro Mod car.

Drag racing has provided Ashley with dream after dream come true. Ever since he entered his first IHRA Top Sportsman event in 1987, he was hooked. Becoming the first Top Sportsman driver in the 215 mph range in 1989, an unheard of speed for that era, the Top Sportsman class would be the steppingstone to Ashley's racing future.

With the advent of the Pro Modifies in 1990, Ashley stepped up his racing program with a radical new winged Beretta that set the standard for cars of the new crowd-pleasing Pro Mods. Ashley piloted the radical machine to the Pro Modified title at the 1990 IHRA Spring Nationals and finished one round short of being the 1990 IHRA Pro Mod champion.

Business then called and Ashley took a hiatus from racing to attend to business interest. As Executive Vice President for Lend-America, a mortgage banking company, Ashley concentrated his efforts on building the company's portfolio. During that period, he increased mortgage closings from seven to eight million dollars per month to funding 50 to 60 million dollars per month. Currently, Lend-America employees number approximately 300.

When he return to active competition approximately four years ago, he found the Pro Mod class much different than the one he left behind. Until his return he was a professional diehard nitrous advocate, but after it became evident that a supercharged entry had the most potential for performance gains, he converted. The end result of the change is that Ashley couldn't be happier.

In the run for the 2003 (DragRacingOnline.com/Nowling Motorsports Management) DRO/NMM Cup, Ashley is currently fifth in points. In three NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge events thus far this year, Ashley's best outing came during April at the NHRA Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenn.

Ashley blazed the Bristol Dragway quarter-mile in 6.223 seconds at 224.55 mph, in his InfiNet-backed, supercharged '41 Willys, to claim second on the qualifying ladder, his best qualifying position of the 2003 season. He advanced to the semifinals before losing to Mitch Stott. Ashley served notice at Bristol that he is one of the favorites for this weekend's 34th annual NHRA K&N Filters Supernationals presented by Pep Boys.

"Englishtown is my home track," said Ashley, a fan favorite at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. "It means a lot to me. It's where I had my first real success in professional drag racing. I won my first event there, an USSC (United States Super Circuit) event. It's a very important venue for me.

"There will be a lot of family there. Also, a lot of employees from my company will be attending and I always look forward to meeting both old and new fans from the northeast. With that type of a following, I plan on winning.

"We finished number two in the points last year and have qualified for all three NHRA races this year. We had a couple of tough first round losses, then a semifinal finish last race. I plan on stepping it up from there; going to the finals and winning. I think we've got what it takes to win. Our new engine program, headed by crew chief Chuck Ford, is starting to show promise and I think it's going to payoff at Englishtown."

Qualifying times for the Pro Mod class at Englishtown is scheduled for 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday, May 16 and 2:35 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 17. The eight quickest Pro Mod cars will then square off in Sunday's eliminations which begin at 11 a.m.

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