Richmond: Mike Ashley Saturday notes

Ashley blasts to No. 3 Spot in Richmond DINWIDDIE, Va. (October 6, 2007) - Mike Ashley blasted to the No. 3 qualifying spot in the Torco Race Fuels NHRA Nationals in Richmond, Va. with a 4.797/315.19 pass in the heat of the day in his Torco Race...

Ashley blasts to No. 3 Spot in Richmond

DINWIDDIE, Va. (October 6, 2007) - Mike Ashley blasted to the No. 3 qualifying spot in the Torco Race Fuels NHRA Nationals in Richmond, Va. with a 4.797/315.19 pass in the heat of the day in his Torco Race Fuels Dodge Charger R/T.

"This is amazing," Ashley said. "We have a brand new car, and the great thing about it is that it's doing exactly what we want it to do every pass down the track.

"We were the quickest of the day for the whole class, and were able to solidify lane choice going into tomorrow, so, I have to say I'll rest well tonight knowing things are running so well," he said.

Ashley said the new chassis has been in the trailer for several months, but the team waited until this race to put it into service. In the wake of John Force's devastating crash in Dallas, several safety modifications were made based on recommendations from chassis-builder Murf McKinney and the Force Racing team.

"Actually, we waited too long and we used the old chassis beyond its usefulness. That probably cost us both Memphis and Dallas, but, the great news is, we have it now, and it's ready to go," he said.

Currently embroiled in a battle to be in the top four in the Countdown to One championship race, Ashley knows that every lap in his Torco dodge is critical to his Championship dreams.

"Qualifying third is huge for us, because it guarantees us lane choice first round, and it puts us just seven points out of fourth place in the Countdown. Now, we just have to go rounds tomorrow, and everything else will take care of itself," he said.

After qualifying, Ashley is just seven points behind both Ron Capps and Gary Scelzi, who are tied for fourth place, and is 37 points or less than two round wins behind third place Jack Beckman. In order to advance to the final playoffs, Ashley must be in fourth place or better at the conclusion of racing on Sunday.

Eliminations are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Sunday morning, October 7. Ashley is paired against Tim Wilkerson in round one, and holds the edge against Wilkerson in head-to-head eliminations this season, 3-1.

-credit: gcr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Tim Wilkerson , Jack Beckman , Mike Ashley