Ashley lands in provisional fifth in Richmond DINWIDDIE, Va. (October 5, 2007) -- Mike Ashley, driver of the Torco Race Fuels Dodge Charger R/T, landed in fifth provisional qualifying position Friday night after one round of qualifying at the ...
Ashley lands in provisional fifth in Richmond
DINWIDDIE, Va. (October 5, 2007) -- Mike Ashley, driver of the Torco Race Fuels Dodge Charger R/T, landed in fifth provisional qualifying position Friday night after one round of qualifying at the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals in Richmond, Va.
In the sultry Virginia air and under the lights, Ashley drove a brand-new, un-tested car to a 4.905/258.42, shutting off at 1000 feet after the car took a hard right toward the centerline.
"Wow! Did that feel good," Ashley said. "Everything was so tight and responsive -- I loved it! We were on a great pass, right down the center of the lane, but it got out of the groove, and started charging for the line, and I wanted to be sure we stayed in the field, so I lifted. If I could have held onto it, we were on a 4.75 pass, easy."
Fourteen-time champion John Force suffered several severe injuries at the most recent event in Dallas when his car suffered a tire failure at 300 miles per hour and the car came apart. After examining the accident, Force's team and chassis-builder Murf McKinney identified several fixes to the chassis to increase the integrity of the car. The fixes includes the addition of an X-shaped cross member for strength plus additional bracing designed to insure that if there is another such incident, the chassis won't break at a point that leaves the driver's legs exposed.
"Brian [Corradi, crew chief] and the guys spent hours and hours working on this new chassis we had, adding the safety features that were recommended after the crash in Dallas, and we didn't have a chance to do any testing, but, after this run tonight, our confidence level is high heading into tomorrow and the rest of the weekend," he said.
Ashley is in a make-or-break, sudden death position in his run for the POWERade Funny Car Championship. Currently sitting in seventh place but less than one full round win out of fourth, he is keenly aware that every run is critical to his success in chasing the Funny Car title.
"There's no question that emotions are high and everyone on the team is anxious about this weekend, but, we have worked so hard all year, and, to a man, we all believed we would be here, competing for the Championship. Honestly, I'm really excited by all of this, because it makes what we do that much more important, and a whole lot more fun," he said.
"Weather tomorrow is supposed to be clear, hot and muggy, so it will be interesting to see what happens as far as times go. It'll be a different race track, for sure, but, we have a great baseline and we all feel really good going into the rest of the weekend," Ashley said.