Pomona: Mike Ashley preview

Ashley to race developmental car in Pomona POMONA, Calif. (February 4, 2008) - Mike Ashley, the fastest Funny Car driver in history, will open the 2008 NHRA POWERade season in Pomona, Calif. this weekend at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA ...

Ashley to race developmental car in Pomona

POMONA, Calif. (February 4, 2008) - Mike Ashley, the fastest Funny Car driver in history, will open the 2008 NHRA POWERade season in Pomona, Calif. this weekend at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals behind the wheel of the ProCare Rx Dodge Charger R/T nitro Funny Car.

After previously announcing he would not be racing Funny Car this season, Ashley changed his decision in order to track-prove a new prototype chassis fabricated by Chuck Hase. This car is a heavy frame-rail chassis assembled with normalized tubing, in conformance to NHRA's mandated specifications.

"We broke the chassis I drove in the end of last year during testing in Phoenix, and we need to get solid data on the new design from Hase before we move forward on ordering more cars. After talking with my new partner, Roger Burgess, we both felt that racing in Pomona would be the right opportunity to prove out this new car as well as debut our new team look," Ashley said.

In the off-season, Ashley formed a new partnership with ProCare Rx co-founder and CEO Roger Burgess, and together will carry the Gotham City Racing banner into drag racing. The team's primary driver, Melanie Troxel, will make her debut in Funny Car after having spent eight years piloting Top Fuel Dragsters.

"With both me and Melanie driving this weekend, it shows the strength of our team and the incredible talent we've been able to assemble. In addition to Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald, we've added Aaron Brooks and Rod Centorbi and several guys who are all anxious to get out there and race.

"We are still looking at occasionally putting another driver into this seat for the season, but, I have to say that I'm really looking forward to running in Pomona," he said.

Ashley, a mortgage banker from New York, finished the 2007 season in the No. 6 position overall, recording wins in Norwalk, Topeka and the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis as well as running the fastest speed in Funny Car history at 334.32 MPH in Las Vegas last April.

"With last year being my first full season as both an owner and driver, I have to say we had outstanding success. It was difficult making the decision not to race the full season this year, but given the current state of the economy, I really have to continue my focus on growing my company, Lend America.

"Even though we're running a developmental chassis in Pomona, you can bet that the team is out there with the expectation to win, and I have to say that I'm really happy to be able to run and give them all a chance to prove themselves," he said.

-credit: gcr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Ashley , Roger Burgess