DENVER, CO (July 15, 2023) — Justin Ashley closed out Top Fuel qualifying at the NHRA Mile-High Nationals powering his Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel dragster to his fifth consecutive Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge victory. Ashley outran Brittany Force, his Summit Racing Equipment Nationals semifinal foe, in the first round of qualifying today and in the final qualifying session he defeated Force’s teammate Austin Prock to collect the $10,000 top prize and three critical championship points. To date Ashley has won $50,000 and earned 15 championship points with five more Challenges on the schedule.
“It is incredible. You really try not to think about the championship this early out in the year, but how could you not, because these championship points are so critical, now that we are at 15, it’s really a dream come true,” said Ashley, who has collected four NHRA national event wins this season. “Now when they reset the points, everything pretty much starts from scratch – so that is why those 15 points are so critical. They are so important in the long run, so I am ecstatic with these Mission #2Fast2tasty Challenge wins. We will just try to keep tagging them on and learning each and every time we go down the race track.”
In the first round of qualifying today Ashley was first off the line and never trailed in the drag race. The Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel dragster crossed the finish line with a winning elapsed time of 3.989 seconds at 307.02 mph in the heat of the day. Ashley knew the conditions could change for the final qualifying session and he knew a packed Bandimere Speedway that announced a Saturday sellout days ago was eager to see his success.
Mission Foods ambassador Angelle Sampey and Justin Ashely at top end after his fifth consecutive Mission #2Fast2tasty Challenge win at the Mile High Nationals, photo by Gary Nastase/Auto Imagery
“We’ve raced in a lot of fun and exciting packed houses, Gainesville comes to mind, Phoenix comes to mind but there is something special about racing at Bandimere Speedway,” said Ashley, who raced to a semifinal finish in 2022. “When you go out there and you look at the crowd, the way the stands are built into the mountain – it’s really amazing and really motivating. I’m sorry to see it go, but grateful to the Bandimere family for all they have done.”
In the final round facing another young superstar of the sport Ashley grabbed a starting line advantage, .046 to .057, and made a miss smooth pass in front of Prock. Ashley’s winning time of 3.883 seconds at 313.95 mph was solid against Prock’s 4.214 second, 241.24 mph run. This was Ashley’s third win over Prock in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge and his crew chief Mike Green was pleased but not impressed the positive outcome.
“Knowing Mike (Green) and all crew chiefs – they always want a little bit more,” said Ashley. “I’m sure he wanted to run a little bit better, especially in that last session, because the conditions were so good. We’ve won before from several different positions – as low as 14, as high as two or three. Sunday is a brand-new day. The race is going to be won or lost tomorrow based on who can go a-to-b most of the time. Mike Green and Tommy DeLago are always going to want more. They are just so good at what they do, so they are going to get it figured out.”
Ashley and the Phillips Connect Toyota team will head into eliminations versus Steve Torrence at 11 a.m. MT. The race will be broadcast nationally on FOX.
Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge Results
Justin Ashley, Phillips Connect Toyota dragster, (.057), 3.989, 307.02 mph def. Brittany Force, Monster Energy dragster (.086), 4.461, 180.96 mph
Justin Ashley, Phillips Connect Toyota dragster powered by Okuma, (.046), 3.883, 313.95 mph def.Austin Prock, Montana Brand/Rocky Mountain Twist dragster, (.057), 4.214, 241.24 mph