MIKE ASHLEY RACING ACQUIRES MATCO TOOLS TOP FUEL TEAM, EXTENDS PARTNERSHIP THROUGH 2010 SEASON BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Jan. 15, 2009) -- Mike Ashley Racing (MAR) has acquired the racing assets of the Matco Tools Top Fuel team from 3B Racing it was ...
MIKE ASHLEY RACING ACQUIRES MATCO TOOLS TOP FUEL TEAM, EXTENDS PARTNERSHIP THROUGH 2010 SEASON
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Jan. 15, 2009) -- Mike Ashley Racing (MAR) has acquired the racing assets of the Matco Tools Top Fuel team from 3B Racing it was announced today. Antron Brown will continue to drive the Matco-backed rail. It also was announced that Matco Tools has extended its partnership with MAR through the 2010 NHRA season.
"Our entire organization will provide Matco and our marketing partners with a first-class hospitality and activation program, coupled with a winning on-track performance," Ashley said. "Our immediate goal is for an easy transition as we are right around the corner from the start of the season. I will make changes to be announced that I believe give our team the best chances at long term success. Our goal is to compete for the NHRA Full Throttle championship in 2009. Antron (Brown) will remain as our driver and I am proud to have him represent Mike Ashley Racing. He has been an overall winner for Matco Tools."
Brown, an 18-time NHRA winner, including two Top Fuel wins last season, returns to pilot the bright blue Matco Tools dragster that will now be tuned by co-crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald, the 1984 NHRA Funny Car champion. Among the assets changing hands include the entire Top Fuel operation, support trailer, Iron Eagle Club hospitality unit, and the team's striking Brownsburg, Ind. race shop. The team will begin its preparation for the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series on Jan. 23 during the National Time Trials at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix. Brown will continue to make Votech school appearances or participate in tool truck rides with Matco distributors prior to each race.
"We are committed to Mike Ashley Racing and excited to extend our sponsorship with Antron Brown and the Matco Tools Top Fuel team through 2010," Matco Tools president Tom Willis said. "Matco Tools is fully committed to NHRA drag racing. It remains a fantastic base for our 1,500 Matco Tools distributors. We speak directly to our loyal customers through this NHRA program and we couldn't ask for a better driver and person than Antron Brown."
Last season, Brown became the first driver in NHRA history to earn wins in both the Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle catergories. Following 10 successful seasons on his Suzuki, which included 16 wins and 11 poles, Brown earned the pole at the season-opening Winternationals. He won in just his fourth start (Houston) and won two races in five final round appearances, along with earning three poles and ranking second in the Top Fuel standings for much of the 2008 NHRA season.
"To hear that we're going to be with Matco Tools for another two years is awesome news for not only our new team here at Mike Ashley Racing, but also NHRA drag racing," Brown said. "We're very excited about the 2009 season. We're just a week away from firing up this Matco Tools dragster and can't wait to hit the throttle to start testing. We're retaining our core group of technicians and I'm excited to work along Brian (Corradi) and Mark (Oswald) and start winning races."
Ashley competed professionally in 50 NHRA races from 2005-07 earning three Funny Car wins in five final round appearances, including the prestigious U.S. Nationals in 2007. He also earned three poles and finished sixth in the season-long rankings in '07. His first career win came at Heartland Park Topeka in June 2007. Ashley also is a former NHRA Pro Mod standout.
"When I originally sold my team I was clear that my time away from the sport would be temporary," Ashley said. "Navigating the current economic crises has not been easy, but like anything else in life with determination and unconditional belief, success is possible and I am thrilled to return to the NHRA tour with a minimum two-year partnership with the Matco organization."
"I want to commend David Powers and Tim Buckley on the terrific organization they assembled. Along with Matco they have built a solid foundation for a long-term successful campaign on the NHRA Full Throttle tour."