Last year during his rookie season Top Fuel driver Justin Ashley absorbed new information at every NHRA national event. This season the 2020 NHRA Rookie of the Year is putting those experiences to good use as he begins to make return appearances to facilities where he competed successfully on his way to a Top Ten Top Fuel finish in the point standings. This weekend at the NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park Ashley will bring his newly re-designed Smart Sanitizer Top Fuel dragster powered by Strutmasters.com to south Texas with an eye on picking up his first win of the season. The young driver is also eager to compete in the second half of the first back-to-back race weekend of the season.
“Having back-to-back weekends at the racetrack is a key ingredient to success,” said Ashley, the 2020 Summernationals Top Fuel winner. “Mike Green has done an amazing job since taking over the program. Our Davis Motorsports team is outstanding and having two straight race weekends to work together will only put us in a better position moving forward.”
Ashley is also looking forward to getting back to traditional head-to-head racing after two four-wide races in the previous three national events. They were the young driver’s first experience in the unique style and last weekend Ashley continued to develop as a driver.
“Prior to the first four-wide race in Las Vegas I spent a lot of time studying because I had never experienced the event,” said Ashley. “In Charlotte I was a lot more comfortable with two additional race cars on the starting line. It is a very fun race, and it keeps you on your toes as a driver. I like the challenge and I am looking forward to more four-wide races. I am also very excited to get to Houston and resume the standard style of racing.”
Last year the Spring Nationals shifted from its traditional May date to the middle of October. The move created a new weather environment for the race but Ashley’s team was undeterred and qualified No. 9 in their first appearance. They did not advance to the quarterfinals but picked up valuable data and most importantly for Ashley, seat time at a new facility. This season with predicted rain showers throughout the weekend qualifying runs and driver focus will be a key to every team’s success.
“We understand the weather may throw another variable into the weekend, but we are focused solely on controlling everything we can to the best of our ability,” said Ashley, who had to wait over a month to win his first race following a rain delay at the Summernationals. “We do have some experience winning rounds after a delay. I am excited to get back to Houston and show off this new look Smart Sanitizer Top Fuel dragster powered by Strutmasters.com.”
Ashley announced the Smart Sanitizer sponsorship in Charlotte with a press conference and on-track car unveiling in front of a packed crowd at zMAX Dragway. The additional marketing partner adds more horsepower to his growing list of sponsors like KATO Fastening Systems, Auto Shocker, The Daily Crave, RISE Brewing Company and Red Line Oil. Creating business to business opportunities is the focal point of Ashley’s marketing program and the young team also wants to emphasize the entertainment value of participating in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.
“Every partner we bring on board is part of our team. We want to develop a strategic plan to help drive revenue and grow their business,” said Ashley. “The Smart Sanitizer team came to their first NHRA race last weekend and decided they are coming back to Houston and utilizing the NHRA Manufacturer’s Midway to promote their sanitizing kiosks. That is what we love to see, and we will keep working with all our partners to help assist in driving business.”
Qualifying for the NHRA Spring Nationals will begin on Friday night with two additional sessions on Saturday. Final eliminations will be contested on Sunday beginning at 11 a.m. CT and will be broadcast on FS1.
Tony Fay PR