Ashley ends regular season with DNQ MOHNTON, Penn. (August 18, 2007) - Disappointment and aggravation are just two of the words Funny Car driver Mike Ashley used to describe his feelings about not qualifying for the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals ...
Ashley ends regular season with DNQ
MOHNTON, Penn. (August 18, 2007) - Disappointment and aggravation are just two of the words Funny Car driver Mike Ashley used to describe his feelings about not qualifying for the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals this weekend - "the other words are best left unprinted," Ashley said. Today's qualifying runs were tire-smoking lessons futility for the driver of the Torco Race Fuels Dodge Charger R/T, both ending just after the 100-foot mark, and ending Ashley's chances at keeping his No. 3 spot in the POWERade standings. At the best, he'll be fifth after this race, worst case, seventh.
"It's a bitter pill to swallow, to be sure," the 42-year-old mortgage banker said. "You can have all the confidence in the world, the very best team, the best parts money can buy, and, sometimes, it just doesn't work out.
"In times like this, I have to take a step back and look at the big picture, and, from that perspective, things do really look good. We've had an incredible season and we're going to head into the Countdown playoffs ready," Ashley said.
Looking at the numbers for the first-year Funny Car team owner, the statistics back up his position. In competition with multi-car teams that have been at the Funny Car game for years, this fledgling group has amassed a spectacular record in the first seventeen races. Two wins, three final round appearances, five No. 1 qualifiers, five times low ET, six track speed records, and eight times top speed. In addition, he's twice earned the Motel 6 Who got the Light award, twice recorded the quickest ET for the class, and three times his Gotham City Racing crew has received the Full Throttle Pit Crew Challenge award.
"The way I look at it, we made the playoffs in our first year out, and we're ready for the next part to begin. We're going to go to Indy to test, and I guarantee we'll be ready for the US Nationals. We won't have any of these issues dogging us - we'll stay and test 'till it's all clockwork.
"My team, my guys, my friends - they are all just as disappointed as I am, and I know that after they get a chance to breathe a little, they will be on top of things to get us through the next steps of the playoffs. I have every intention of going into Indy and winning the SKOAL Showdown, and doubling up by winning the race. We can do it. I know it," Ashley said.
"For now, I'm going to enjoy the first Sunday I've had off in nine weeks on the beach at Fire Island (New York). With things as hectic as they have been in the mortgage industry and with such a tough racing schedule, I'm completely exhausted and need to just catch up on some alone-time with my family. That's my ultimate priority," he said.
"I believe that when one door closes another one opens. As the door closes on the regular season for our brand new team, it opens on the Countdown. Behind that door will be success, because this is a team committed to that result.
"I have the best sponsor in all of motor sports, Torco Race Fuels, and its leader, Evan Knoll, is a life champion. We are committed to bringing him a championship, because he deserves it," Ashley said.