Mike Ashley Rockingham Spring Nationals preview

Mike Ashley returns to winner's circle for first time in 12 years DINWIDDIE, Va. - Mike Ashley has a stone paperweight on his desk given to him by a friend in 1993 that says" Winners Never Quit and Quitters Never Win". That's the attitude that...

Mike Ashley returns to winner's circle for first time in 12 years

DINWIDDIE, Va. - Mike Ashley has a stone paperweight on his desk given to him by a friend in 1993 that says" Winners Never Quit and Quitters Never Win". That's the attitude that has gotten Mike Ashley where he is with his Mortgage Banking business and that's the same attitude that has helped him to convert two years of tough times into a win at the season opener Competitionplus.com Spring Open presented by Lizzard Racing Engines.

The 36-year old, mortgage banker from Long Island, New York, traded in his suit, tie and briefcase for a firesuit, helmet, 6.2-second runs and a final round win over Mitch Stott.

"This is an incredible experience for our team," explained Ashley. "We have been through some tough times in the past couple of years, but this one day proves that you can't give up. Obviously, I had a lot of support to get here. I'd just like to thank my family and my crew for standing by me when the times were tough."

There was no doubt that the victory had Ashley pumped. Ashley, who was the low qualifier at the inaugural Pro Modified national event back in March 1990, immediately exited the 1953 Studebaker that he recently purchased and headed for the fence along the return road to give some high-fives and shake some hands.

"This sets us in the right direction for the 2002 season," explained Ashley. "We are going wide open for the Pro Modified World Championship this year. I have surrounded myself with good people, which is the number one key to becoming successful in any business."

The incredible part of Ashley's weekend was that it marked his first outing in a supercharged car. Under the guidance of crewchief Chuck Ford and with the help of his loyal crew Vinny Marino and Mark Adkins, his first run was an eighth-mile hit that netted a 4.14 elapsed time. He returned and made his first full run, a 6.292, 216.97 mph. On just his third lap, his time slip reported a 0.985 60-foot time, 2.642 at 330 feet, 4.008/179.49 at half track, and 6.202/221.92 at the finish line.

During Saturday's show, Ashley earned the top seeding and a berth in the finals with a 6.268, 220.26. In the final round, he outran Mitch Stott to claim his first major victory since the 1990 IHRA Spring Nationals in Bristol, Tenn.

What's Ashley's opinion of the blower car?

"It is the most vicious vehicle that I have been behind the wheel of," explained Ashley. "I remember firing the car for the first time and feeling the sheer horsepower at my disposal. There's a lot that I'm going to have to get to used to in the weeks to come, but I don't know that I'll ever really get used to getting thrown back in the seat like this car does to me.

"But, that's okay, I can handle that. I think everyone needs to get thrown back in the seat once in a while to appreciate running one of these cars."

Ashley's ready for a healthy case of high-horsepower whiplash as the IHRA tour rolls into Rockingham in two weeks for the IHRA Holley Spring Nationals.

-hc-

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Series Drag
Drivers Mike Ashley