Seattle: Mike Ashley preview

Ashley models positive attitude heading into Seattle KENT, Wash. (July 18, 2007) - As the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series visits Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash. for the Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals, nitro Funny Car driver Mike Ashley is...

Ashley models positive attitude heading into Seattle

KENT, Wash. (July 18, 2007) - As the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series visits Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash. for the Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals, nitro Funny Car driver Mike Ashley is working overtime to keep his Gotham City Racing crew focused. The New York mortgage banker knows that positive attitude flows from the top down, and has taken to heart the role of modeling successful thinking for his team.

"I'm always looking for the up-side of things, and honestly, this is really a lot of fun," said the 41-year-old driver of the Torco Race Fuels Dodge Charger.

In the midst of a heated competition to remain in the top eight NHRA drivers for the next four races, Ashley says the past four 'marathon' weeks of back-to-back races has reminded him to look beyond the simple goals of survival or 'just getting down the track.' Instead, he keeps his thinking focused farther down-track -- to running well and winning a championship.

"It's definitely a challenge -- kind of like a long game of football. At the end you're tired, but it was fun.

"We've had great success so far, and we are working to keep our momentum. With the teams crisscrossing the country, spending so much time on the road, it would be easy to switch into survival mode, but we're all committed to making the Countdown," he said.

Thus far this season, Ashley and Team Gotham's success is undisputed. The team has racked up two event wins, three final and two semifinal appearances, three (consecutive) number one qualifiers, two Full Throttle Pit Crew awards, and seven times running the top speed. And currently, Ashley sits third in POWERade Championship Points, 85 points behind second place Robert Hight, and only six points ahead of fourth place Tony Pedregon. The top eight will advance to the Countdown to Four playoffs after the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals, August 16-19 in Reading, Penn.

"I've talked with the guys on my team, and we're all realistic about where we are in the Countdown, and they all know the importance on focusing on our goal - to win. We're enjoying the journey and we're all working hard and doing our best, personally and as a team.

"I'm really excited to be back in Seattle. It's an incredible track, and the view of Mount Rainier when the skies are clear - there's nothing like it," he said.

In 2006, Ashley's first time racing in Seattle, he qualified No. 4, the best he had all year, running a 4.872/313.58 in the heat of the day during Saturday qualifying. He said he hopes to improve on last year's numbers, both in qualifying and during eliminations. Last year he lost first round to fellow New Yorker, Tony Bartone.

"We save all of the data we get, year-to-year, so we'll be able to see what the track was like then, and hopefully it will give us a head start on this weekend's race. I'm really confident coming into this event because we've got great team momentum, and we have a calm, peaceful approach right now. It's like the calm before the storm," Ashley said.

Qualifying in the 14th of 23 events in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series is scheduled for 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 20 and noon and 3 p.m. Saturday, July 21. Eliminations are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Sunday, July 22.

-credit: www.mikeashley.com.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Tony Bartone , Mike Ashley , Robert Hight