Denver: Mike Ashley preview

No. 3 Ashley brings experience and expectations to Bandimere Speedway. MORRISON, Colo. (July 10, 2007) - A year ago, Mike Ashley came into the Mopar NHRA Mile High Nationals with a new paint scheme, and a new team owner but a less than stellar...

No. 3 Ashley brings experience and expectations to Bandimere Speedway.

MORRISON, Colo. (July 10, 2007) - A year ago, Mike Ashley came into the Mopar NHRA Mile High Nationals with a new paint scheme, and a new team owner but a less than stellar record of zero wins and seven losses with four DNQ's in NHRA nitro Funny Car competition. Today, a year later, Ashley again has a different team owner, a similar wild paint scheme, two event wins, three No. 1 qualifying efforts, and sits third in POWERade points.

"What a difference a year makes, right?" Ashley said. "Last year, the team and I were learning about this whole Funny Car thing. We were a little too wide-eyed and naive coming into Denver, thinking we would just blast to the top of such an incredibly competitive class. We've all learned a lot in a year.

"Even back then, I always went to the races expecting to win, but this class is a whole lot different than Pro Modified where we won two championships, and it took a little time to get used to driving one of these 8,000 horsepower machines," he said.

At the 2006 Mopar Mile High Nationals, Ashley moved from a leased operation from the Worsham and Fink racing stable to the championship powerhouse garage of Don Schumacher Racing. Throughout the remainder of that season, Ashley raced for DSR, announcing after the last race of the season that he would be taking the role of driver AND team owner in the 2007 season.

"Every race last year, every step was a part of the learning process for me, and I was blessed to work with some of the very best in the business. Along the way, I learned a lot, changed a lot, and built some really long-lasting friendships.

"I know that consistency and teamwork are key to winning a world championship, and, through last year and now this year as owner/driver, I think we've been able to prove we have just that. Most important for me in racing has been the continual support of Evan Knoll and Torco Racing Fuels, and I can't thank him enough for standing behind me and believing in me

"Coming back to Denver is a real milestone for me, and I'm looking forward to racing this weekend. It's traditionally a really good track, and the altitude and heat add some components that keep crew chiefs guessing and fans cheering.

"We've been able to get a really solid hold on a spot in the Countdown to the Championship, and I'm expecting to keep moving up in the points as we get closer to that first cut in Indy," he said.

Ashley and the Torco Racing Fuels Dodge Charger R/T are scheduled to qualify Friday and Saturday, July 13 and 14 and race in eliminations on Sunday, July 15. On Saturday, July 14, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise two hours of qualifying coverage at 6 p.m. On Sunday, July 15, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise NHRA Race Day, a 30-minute pre-race news magazine show, at 11 a.m. and also will televise three hours of eliminations coverage at 9 p.m. (All times EDT. Check local listings for channels.)

-credit: gcr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Ashley , Don Schumacher