PLAINVIEW, NY (April 28, 2021) – As 2020 Rookie of the Year Justin Ashley heads to the 40th NHRA Southern Nationals, the second year driver continues to impress and improve on and off the track. Wheeling the Strutmasters.com Auto Shocker Top Fuel dragster for the third race of the season, Ashley is ready to chase more round wins in the Peach State. Two weeks ago at his first four-wide national event, the Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals, Ashley held his own against two former world champions racing in the unique format that is featured twice each season. This weekend the three-time Top Alcohol dragster winner and 2020 NHRA Summernationals Top Fuel victor will not be looking for a first or new accolade but the 26 year-old second generation nitro racer will be looking to become the final Southern Nationals Top Fuel winner.
“I could be the last Southern Nationals Top Fuel winner which is something that would go down in the record books and no one can ever take that away from you,” said Ashley. “That would be a really cool deal and it adds another element to the race.”
This weekend will not be the first time Ashley has raced at the storied Atlanta Dragway. In 2018 Ashley competed at the Southern Nationals in his Top Alcohol Dragster qualifying No. 11 and losing a close race to No. 4 qualifier Chris Demke. This year Ashley is looking to get back into the groove of racing after a short layoff.
“I love that we are getting back to the race track so quickly,” said Ashley. “That puts a big smile on my face. It was such a long off-season and then we had to wait between the Gatornationals and Las Vegas. I can’t wait to get to Atlanta and the Southern Nationals. We’ll be back to the two-wide format which will be nice. This will be my first race in a Top Fuel dragster in Atlanta which will make it a new experience but I know it will be a fun experience. It is the last NHRA national event in Atlanta so there will be something special about it. I am looking forward to that aspect of the race.”
Ashley opened the season with a semifinal appearance at the Gatornationals and the strong start added more confidence to not just Ashley but the whole Davis Motorsports team. Over the off-season veteran world champion crew chief Mike Green joined the team and the core of the crew carried over on the Strutmasters.com Auto Shocker Top Fuel dragster. That consistency added another level of success to Ashley’s rapidly improving racing effort.“Overall I am just a lot more comfortable in the race car,” explained Ashley. “The more laps I make the better I feel. Having gone down this road last year with testing, qualifying and then the high pressure races, it just builds your character. It gives me a lot of confidence to go out to the track and be successful. It is a testament to the team that we are much more comfortable. The program is on its ‘A’ game and we are better now than we have ever been before and it is because of Dustin Davis, Mike Green and all the guys on the team.”
In addition to adding Green on the tuning side Ashley has dedicated considerable time and effort to growing the marketing side of his racing program. New sponsors The Daily Crave and RISE Brewing Company are two examples of non-traditional sponsors Ashley has brought into the NHRA through his strong relationship with Menards. Ashley has also added Red Line Oil and renewed sponsors such as Auto Shocker and KATO Fastening Systems. Ashley’s relationship with KATO dates back to the beginning of 2020, where he first learned about KATO’s LockOne, a positive locking fastener designed to prevent a nut from loosening free under vibration. Ashley continues to push LockOne as the most effective locking force on the market. The young businessman is always looking for new and dynamic business partners to make his team even stronger as he pursues his first NHRA Camping World Top Fuel world championship.
“I learned a lot and continue to learn from my father, Mike, about developing business relationships and growing marketing sponsorships,” said Ashley. “I think this is an amazing promotional and advertising opportunity for just about any business and I am proud to represent every sponsor on my race car. NHRA fans are incredibly loyal and passionate which translates into sales and new business for our partners. I love hitting the throttle on my 11,000 horsepower Strutmasters.com Auto Shocker Top Fuel dragster but I also love seeing the smiles on the faces in the pits after a good run or round win from our partners who are having a blast at the track.”
Two rounds of qualifying will be contested on Saturday, May 1 with final eliminations getting underway on Sunday, May 2. The race will be broadcast nationally on FS1 with updates available throughout the day on nhra.com.
About Justin Ashley Racing
Justin Ashley Racing in partnership with Davis Motorsports fields the Strutmasters.com Auto Shocker Top Fuel dragster in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. During his Top Fuel rookie season in 2020 Justin won the NHRA Summernationals, finished in the Top Ten and was recognized as the 2020 NHRA Rookie of the Year. Prior to his professional debut Ashley has three wins in Top Alcohol Dragster on the Lucas Oil Series. He is the son of multi-time NHRA national event winner Mike Ashley. In 2017, he was named to the Drag Illustrated magazine’s 30 under 30 list, highlighting some of racing’s most promising young individuals on and off the racetrack. When he’s not racing, Ashley serves as President of Ashley Developers, a real estate investment organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of distressed properties. To learn more about Justin Ashley Racing, visit JustinAshley.com.
Photo credit: Ron Lewis Photography, Driver Photo: NHRA