Early Exit at Norwalk Nationals for Justin Ashley

NORWALK, OH (June 26, 2022) — After back-to-back final round appearances including a win last weekend on Father’s Day at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals championship contending driver Justin Ashley and the Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel dragster powered by Vita C Energy were upset in the open round at Summit Motorsports Park. The No. 2 qualifier was strong through two days of qualifying and rolled into race day with momentum and confidence. Facing Leah Pruett and her Tony Stewart Racing backed dragster Ashley was looking for his fifth win light in a row and third win of the season.

Cooler conditions blanketed the track as the Summit Equipment Nationals unfolded in front of a packed house. The 2020 NHRA Rookie of the Year and four-time finalist this season grabbed a starting line advantage and was on the way to adding another round win to his 5-3 head-to-head record against Pruett when his dragster surprisingly slowed as it crossed half-track. When Ashley crossed the finish line with an elapsed time of 3.852 seconds the drop off in performance was attributed to tire shake and Ashley giving his 11,000 horsepower Phillips Connect dragster a quick pedal.

“It was a little bit of a weird run,” said Ashley. “It put a hole out (dropped a cylinder) at the hit and it got out there and started shaking. It was in between the need to pedal and not pedal. I slapped it quickly and then got right back on the throttle. We didn’t accomplish our objective today, but we continued to learn and get better. Our hats off to Leah’s team, they did a better job.”

The art of pedaling a race car is something that cannot be practiced away from competition so Ashley takes the positive from today’s experience even if the outcome was less than desirable. The third-year driver after talking with crew chief Mike Green and reviewing the data knows now pedaling was not the answer.

“From a broader perspective it was a successful weekend in many ways,” said Ashley. “The car ran very well during qualifying and we made great use of the Lucas Oil hospitality area throughout the weekend. Now we can take the car back to the shop and get ready for

With two weeks off Ashley and his Phillips Connect team will gear up for the Western Swing. The three-race gauntlet will be a prime opportunity for the driver who is No. 4 in the Camping World Drag Racing Series point standings to highlight his marketing relationships with

Auto Shocker, Lucas Oil, and KATO Fastening Systems to a host of west coast fans.

Qualifying Results

Q1: 3.829 sec, 325.14 mph; Qual. 4

Q2: 3.707 sec, 330.96 mph; Qual. 2

Q3: 9.301 sec, 66.67 mph; Qual. 2

Q4: 3.840 sec, 325.77 mph; Qual. 2

Bonus Points: +2 (2nd quickest of Q2)

Race Results

First Round

Leah Pruett, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., Dodge SRT dragster, 3.776, 327.98 mph def. Justin Ashley, Phillips Connect Toyota dragster powered by Vita C Energy, 3.852, 317.49 mph

Camping World Drag Racing Series Top Ten – Top Fuel

  1. Mike Salinas                            821
  2. Brittany Force                         809
  3. Steve Torrence                        712
  4. Justin Ashley                      711
  5. Austin Prock                             513
  6. Josh Hart                                   509
  7. Shawn Langdon                       467
  8. Clay Millican                            462
  9. Doug Kalitta                             459
  10. Leah Pruett                               417

Related Articles

Racing Updates

Phillips Connect to Start Season with Justin Ashley Racing

Justin Ashley Racing announces its primary sponsorship agreement with Phillips Connect, a national leader in semi-trailer tracking and sensor technologies, to begin the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.

Read More
Racing Updates

New Season has Justin Ashely Ready for New Challenges

After one of the busiest off-seasons of his young career team owner and Top Fuel racer Justin Ashley is ready to focus on chasing down his first NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Top Fuel world championship.

Read More
Racing Updates

Tough Class, But Justin Ashley Ready to be at Top

When Justin Ashley won the Top Fuel final at last October’s NHRA Texas Fall Nationals Stampede of Speed, he got the dubious treat of donning a cowboy hat, straddling a mechanical bull while trying to handle a 12-pound Wally trophy, and celebrating like a city-slicker Suburban Cowboy.

Read More
Racing Updates

Justin Ashley Wins Winternationals

For the second consecutive NHRA Winternationals Justin Ashley raced his way to the final round and today the young driver from Plainview, New York, drove all the way to the winner’s circle.

Read More
Press, Racing Updates

Phillips Connect Sponsored NHRA Top Fuel Car and Driver to Make Appearance at TMC 22

Phillips Connect kicks off the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season as a primary sponsor to Justin Ashley Racing and its Davis Motorsports 11,000 horsepower Top Fuel dragster.

Read More
Racing Updates

Justin Ashley Wants to Keep the Momentum Moving in Phoenix

The third-year pro will roll into the multi-use facility with momentum and the Top Fuel points lead after opening the 2022 NHRA season with a dominating win at the NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals last Sunday.

Read More