Ashley massages his way to No. 2 - literally! MORRISON, Colo. (July 13, 2007) - After driving through an flaming engine fire in the first round of qualifying in the Mopar NHRA Mile High Nationals, Mike Ashley blasted the Torco Race Fuels, Inc.
Ashley massages his way to No. 2 - literally!
MORRISON, Colo. (July 13, 2007) - After driving through an flaming engine fire in the first round of qualifying in the Mopar NHRA Mile High Nationals, Mike Ashley blasted the Torco Race Fuels, Inc. Dodge Charger R/T to a 4.889/311.34 pass down the quarter-mile at Bandimere Speedway, in Morrison, Colo. during the second round of qualifying Friday night, ultimately earning the provisional No. 2 spot heading into heat-of-the-day qualifying on Saturday.
On his first attempt of the day, Ashley's car started to smoke at about 300 feet and blew up at about half-track. He struggled to keep the car straight and out of the guard wall, finally bringing the Torco Dodge to a halt with the assistance of the NRHA Safety Safari.
"This is the first time we've actually used one of our new blowers from our blower development program during qualifying, and it gave us a lot more boost than we anticipated, eating up the engine and making a pretty good fire," Ashley said.
"I hit the [fire extinguishing] bottles and got it mostly out, but had trouble stopping the car because of all of the oil on the track. I have to hand it to the Safety Safari guys - they are truly amazing. They helped me get it stopped and got me out of the car, all while there were still flames from the blown engine.
"When we finally got the car back to the pit, we had to do a lot of work to get it back into shape for the night session. To come out and run the second-quickest was really awesome - and I'm really proud of the entire crew," he said.
"That second lap really felt good," Ashley said. "I actually think we had more in it, but to go into Saturday sitting number two is a great feeling"
At the outset of the marathon "six races in six weeks" schedule, Ashley decided he would motivate his team with a different "perk" each week - this week hiring a professional massage therapist to rejuvenate the crew between rounds.
"This is a tough enough job as it is. Put six weeks in a row and everyone can get over-stressed at any time. There's nothing like a good massage to relieve stress, so, I wanted to get them through this weekend with a 'gentle touch.' So far, it seems to be working," Ashley said.
Qualifying continues Saturday with nitro rounds scheduled at 2 and 5 p.m. Eliminations are scheduled to begin at noon on Sunday, July 15.