RICHMOND, VA (April 10, 2022) — Six races into the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season Justin Ashley and the Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel dragster powered by Vita C Shot are battling for control of the points lead. Less than three rounds of racing separate the top four drivers in the hyper competitive category that has seen five different winners and ten different finalists this season. Ashley sits in third place just 46 points behind the leader Brittany Force. Heading into Virginia Motorsports Park the Phillips Connect and Vita C Shot Top Fuel team is looking to make a move.
“I can’t say enough about the job Mike Green and Tommy DeLago are doing as crew chiefs on this race car,” said Ashley, who also enjoys support from Auto Shocker and KATO Fastening Systems. “We have been running great throughout the early part of the season. Although we lost in the second round at Charlotte, we qualified number one and picked up our first four-wide round win as a team. I am very much looking forward to bringing that momentum into Virginia.”
Only Ashley and Mike Salinas, currently No. 2 in the points, have been to multiple final rounds in the Top Fuel class this season. Ashley, a three-time national event winner, has also raced to a semifinal finish at the Gatornationals. In addition to round wins the 2020 Rookie of the Year secured his first No. 1 qualifier at the Circle K Four-Wide Nationals. His worst starting position this season is sixth and he also has a No. 2 qualifier and two No. 4 qualifiers to his credit.
“We have been running strong because of the hard work, dedication, and commitment from our team since the beginning of last offseason,” said Ashley. “Dustin Davis has built a great team and it’s evident from the minute the race car comes out of the trailer. I love working closely with each team member and know we are all doing our best to put the team in a position to win.”
So far this season Ashley has been returning to tracks where he has had success in his Top Fuel dragster. This weekend he will be making his first passes at over 320 mph or faster at Virginia Motorsports Park. The NHRA hasn’t hosted a national event in Virginia since 2019. Ashley has experience in the Top Alcohol Dragster class at the track so there will be some level of familiarity for the second-generation racer.
“I raced at VMP In Top Alcohol Dragster and my dad, Mike, raced there a number of times in Funny Car so I am relatively familiar with the racetrack,” said Ashley. “The biggest thing about racing a new track is just getting your visuals down. You want to know where the turn-offs are and how the track looks when you are in the race car. It doesn’t take long but the little things matter, and preparation is key.”
This will be the last race before the NHRA season shifts into high gear with multiple back-to-back races for the rest of the season. Teams had a week off after the Charlotte national event and there will be a break before the June NHRA events. Ashley is looking at this weekend as a chance to grab some momentum going into the summer months.
“The season is a marathon not a sprint but June is approaching quickly and when it does races will start to happen on consecutive weekends more frequently,” said Ashley. “We have one race in May and then we have three in June and three in July and the next thing you know we are at the U.S. Nationals and racing during the Countdown. These are the race weekends you want to get as many points as possible. You aren’t going to win the championship this weekend but the points early in the season mean just as much as they do later in the season. This Phillips Connect Vita C Shot Toyota team will be trying to do just that.”
The Virginia Nationals will feature three rounds of qualifying on Friday and Saturday. Final eliminations will begin at noon ET on Sunday. The race will be broadcast on FS1 at 6:30 p.m. ET Sunday night. Fans can follow Justin Ashley Racing on the team’s social media channels on Twitter and Instagram.