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Ashley to Honor Veterans with Wyakin Foundation at NHRA Finals

For the past two NHRA seasons Justin Ashley and the Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel team have supported and honored veterans through a partnership with the Wyakin Foundation. This weekend at the NHRA Finals Ashley, Phillips Connect and the Wyakin Foundation will be hosting three veterans on Saturday, November 11, to celebrate Veterans Day. The Wyakin Foundation’s mission is to serve as a conduit, connecting wounded and injured veterans to their successful and fulfilling civilian futures through education, development, and guidance. Each year Ashley and the Phillips Connect Top Fuel team have raised awareness and honored the commitment and success stories of veterans.

“This is one of the most powerful opportunities I have as part of my relationship with Phillips Connect,” said Ashley, an 11-time Top Fuel national event winner. “Bringing awareness to the Wyakin Foundation and getting to meet and spend time with veterans is so important. Helping in a small way to get these men and women veterans back into society and supporting their education and professional goals is truly an honor. They have sacrificed so much for our freedoms and although we can never fully repay them, I hope this serves as a small token of our gratitude.  I am looking forward to meeting with George, Brandon and Patrick this weekend.”

This year Ashley donated $2,500 to the Wyakin Foundation when he was on the Top Fuel team that won the Toyota Supra Showdown. The Phillips Connect Top Fuel team has also hosted contest and raffle winners at races through their fundraising efforts.
 
The three veterans who will be joining the Phillips Connect team on Saturday at the NHRA Finals include George Nickel, Army Veteran and Purple Heart recipient. George is one of the most well-known veterans from Idaho whose story has changed how Idaho law enforcement engages with distressed veterans. George is currently the Wyakin Foundation’s Director of Veteran Programs and has helped over 160 veterans over the last 12 years. 
 
Joining George at the races will be Brandon B., an Army combat veteran with a tour in Iraq. Brandon found a path to career and life success after he reached out to the Wyakin Foundation in 2022. He is currently in the Wyakin trades program and is on pace to get his A.A.S degree as a Machinist. The final veteran guest is Patrick S. Navy (retired), who deployed to the Gulf during Iraq and Afghanistan and is also working on his A.A.S degree as a Machinist.
 
“Being able to bring veterans and participants from the Wyakin Foundation to the NHRA races is an amazing opportunity for our organization,” said Cory Rodriguez, Wyakin Foundation Executive Director. “We have made huge strides in helping veterans across the country and our relationship with Phillips Connect and Justin Ashley has been a big part of our success. Veterans Day is a special time to honor our men and women who served, and we appreciate the support from Justin, Phillips Connect and the NHRA.”
 
Throughout the weekend the NHRA will be honoring veterans, and the three Wyakin Foundation guests will join Justin Ashley’s team on the starting line on Saturday during the third qualifying session. Additionally, they will enjoy the Phillips Connect hospitality area and get an up close and personal view of the Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel team.

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Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.