POMONA, CA (April 2, 2023) — Yesterday before Justin Ashley won the Mission #Fast2Tasty Top Fuel Challenge and raced to the No. 1 qualifier position at the NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals the rising star presented a custom surfboard to Phillips Connect CEO Rob Phillips to commemorate last year’s win at the NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals. Ashley and the Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel team surprised Phillips with the surfboard following the first warm-up of the day. The custom board was made by Michael Quesenbury with Handmade in California who has a personal relationship with co-team owner Dustin Davis. Quesenbury has been working on the custom surfboard, a Longboard Papilionidae, since the beginning of the year and details include pinstriping, Phillips Connect and Justin Ashley team branding, personalization to Rob Phillips and blue colorization to match Phillips Connect brand and look. The longboard measures eight feet six inches long and is made from clear vertical grain Western Red Cedar, reclaimed Redwood, and Alaskan Yellow Cedar.
“I am blown away. This is awesome!” said Phillips, when the surfboard was revealed in the Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel dragster pit area.
Ashley won the 2022 season opening NHRA Winternationals in dominant fashion qualifying No. 2 and outrunning Jim Maroney, Antron Brown, Steve Torrence and Austin Prock for the victory. Ashley would go on to win three times in seven final round appearances in 2022 and contend for the championship until the final day of the season. This year Ashley is off to another hot start winning the NHRA Arizona Nationals and currently sitting No. 2 in qualifying with NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals.
“We wanted to give Rob something special to commemorate our first win together and what better gift to give a surfer than a custom surfboard,” said Ashley. “It turned out great and thank you to Michael from Handmade in California and also Dustin Davis for helping us pull this off. It was a great surprise and wonderful way to thank Rob.”
Following the presentation Ashley went on to defeat Steve Torrence in the semifinals of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge and in the final qualifying session Ashley posted a winning time of 3.707 seconds to outrun Leah Pruett for the $10,000 top prize for the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge and grab the No. 1 qualifier spot. It was Ashley’s third No. 1 of his career and he will race Krista Baldwin in the first round on race day.