Pro Mod: Baytown Friday summary

Mike Ashley No. 1 after first day of qualifying BAYTOWN, Texas (April 16, 2004) -- Mike Ashley, from Melville, N.Y., pushed his Unique Performance-built Shelby G.T. 500E to the No.1 spot after the first day of qualifying for the NHRA AMS Staff...

Mike Ashley No. 1 after first day of qualifying

BAYTOWN, Texas (April 16, 2004) -- Mike Ashley, from Melville, N.Y., pushed his Unique Performance-built Shelby G.T. 500E to the No.1 spot after the first day of qualifying for the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge, an exhibition class, at the NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals.

Ashley covered the Houston Raceway Park quarter-mile in 6.165 seconds at 229.74 mph.

"Don't pencil us in the top spot," said Ashley. "There are a lot of good cars that can run big numbers. Guys like Fred Hahn, Mitch Stott, Von Smith and a whole bunch of other drivers can take number one at any time.

"We have a pretty good shot of staying number one tomorrow and the weather could help, especially if it's hot. But these things are like Russian roulette. Until the last car goes down the track, you don't know who's going to come out on top."

Second was Zach Barklage, from Eldon, Mo., with an elapsed time of 6.188 seconds.

Although he failed to qualify for a NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge event in 2002 or 2003, Barklage's fortunes have turned in 2004. He has qualified fourth at the NHRA Gatornationals and was the No. 1 qualifier at the season-opening IHRA Amalie Oil Texas Nationals.

Barklage credits his sudden found success to his tuners, Mark Barklage and Chad Wilson.

"My dad and Chad, together with tuning consultant Darren Mayer, are doing an awesome job tuning on the car. We're running good and, as a driver, I like it. It gives you added confidence to know that when you go to the track you can run those numbers and be right up there with the big dogs."

Qualifying ends tomorrow with two sessions, one at 1 p.m. and the other at 4 p.m. (CDT).

-nhra-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Fred Hahn , Mike Ashley , Zach Barklage , Von Smith