Mike Ashley Celebrates Return to Funny Car With No. 2 Qualifying Effort at St. Louis Seven days ago, Mike Ashley announced his return to the seat of his Lend America/Gotham City Racing Dodge R/T Funny Car for next five NHRA national events . .
Mike Ashley Celebrates Return to Funny Car With No. 2 Qualifying Effort at St. Louis
Seven days ago, Mike Ashley announced his return to the seat of his Lend America/Gotham City Racing Dodge R/T Funny Car for next five NHRA national events . . . at least.
It appears to be an excellent decision. Ashley stunned the Funny Car field Saturday when he leapt from last place into second with an elapsed time of 4.768 seconds and the fastest speed of the event -- 327.82 mph. Until then, his best time was 4.923 seconds.
Ashley, co-owner of Gotham City Racing with Roger Burgess, cited his desire to build a solid one-team, two-car program with Melanie Troxel. She is the driver of the ProCare Rx Dodge R/T. The second car wasn't going to run the full 24-race schedule.
Troxel qualified 10th on Saturday at 4.802 seconds and 327.59 mph, the second fastest of the weekend.
"It was a great day for the team," Ashley said. "A week ago I said I wanted to turn the team around and I think we are headed in the right direction.
"I wasn't surprised by my run. I kind of expected to run a high 4.70. I give all the credit to the team. This is the first race both of our cars qualified. We work together and we have both cars running good. I'm glad to come back in my first race after my layoff and run the fastest speed of the meet."
"The purpose of me coming back continues to be getting data for Melanie's car so she can compete for the championship," Ashley concluded. "I think it is working and I'm thrilled with the team."
Aaron Brooks and Rod Centorbi are crew chiefs on Ashley's car while Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald are crew chiefs for Troxel.
Ashley, a three-time national event winner last year, races Scott Kalitta (No. 15, 4.822 seconds at 324.98 mph) in the opening round.