Justin Ashley and the Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel dragster powered by Vita C Shot made two major steps forward this weekend at the Circle k Four-Wide Nationals. The third year pro earned his first No. 1 qualifier and also won his first round of racing in the unique four-wide format. Ashley, the 2022 Winternationals winner and most recent runner-up at the SpringNationals, a three-time national event winner, was confident going into race day. His quickest elapsed time of 3.669 seconds from the Friday night session gave his Davis Motorsports team the latitude to make the most out of the final day of qualifying. His first quad was composed of No. 16 qualifier Cameron Ferre, No. 8 qualifier Austin Prock and No. 9 qualifier Antron Brown.
After the tree flashed and all four 11,000 horsepower race cars charged down their respective lanes it was Ashley collecting his first career round win in the four-wide format with a dominant win. Unfortunately, the team did not get any data from the run as the clocks did not record a time. Ashley’s Phillips Connect Toyota crossed the finish line a full dragster length ahead of Ferre, who also moved to the second quad. Since there was no official time recorded Ashley did not have any lane choice in the second round.
“We still got the data and we were able to evaluate that against previous runs,” said Ashley. “We would’ve loved to get our elapsed time but that’s part of racing. We were very happy with how the first run looked on the graph. (Crew chiefs) Mike (Green) and Tommy (DeLago) did an amazing job like they always do.”
Racing from lane two in the second quad Ashley was looking to race to his second consecutive final. It took the quickest elapsed time of the round to defeat Ashley as Mike Salinas posted a strong 3.708 second run. Ashley was looking to make a move, but his race car overpowered the track and moved sideways. Ashley kept it under control, but he was unable to get to the finish line in the second spot. No. 16 qualifier Ferre was able to stay hooked up and move to the final quad. It was an earlier finish to the day than expected for Ashley.
“You have to look at the weekend as a whole,” said Ashley. “The result wasn’t what we wanted but the team overall did a great job. There were a lot of positives that come from this weekend. We were able to gain a lot of data and information which is important. To be able to qualify No. 1 is a big deal. It’s great to sit back and reflect on how far we have come as a team and organization. To be able to get our first four-wide round win in addition was another stepping stone. We are continuing to learn and will take this knowledge on to the next race.”
Ashley will head to the Virginia Nationals solidly in third place in the Camping World Drag Racing Series point standings.
Q1: 3.715 sec, 329.67 mph; Qual. 1
Q2: 3.669 sec, 331.77 mph; Qual. 1
Q3: 3.771 sec, 326.79 mph; Qual. 1
Q4: 8.300 sec, 76.96 mph; Qual 1
Bonus Points: +7 (Quickest in Q1 and Q2, third quickest of Q3)
Cameron Ferre and Justin Ashley, Phillips Connect Toyota dragster powered by Vita C Shot, 3.740, 329.26 mph def. Antron Brown and Austin Prock
Mike Salinas and Cameron Ferre def. Justin Ashley, Phillips Connect Toyota dragster powered by Vita C Shot, 3.740, 329.26 mph and Doug Kalitta
Camping World Drag Racing Series Top Ten – Top Fuel
1. Brittany Force 478
2. Mike Salinas 461
3. Justin Ashley 432
4. Steve Torrence 427
5. Clay Millican 328
6. Josh Hart 294
7. Austin Prock 288
8. Doug Kalitta 263
9. Tony Schumacher 243
10. Antron Brown 230
Elon Werner PR