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Justin Ashley Looking for Repeat Victory at NHRA New England Nationals

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Justin Ashley and the SCAG Power Equipment Toyota Top Fuel team enter this weekend’s NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway as the defending event winners, thought they didn’t get the win at the facility.

The 2023 New England Nationals were a bit of an anomaly. While the race began at New England Dragway, continuous rain forced the event to be postponed to the following race weekend in Bristol, Tennessee opening up the opportunity for Ashley to pick up three wins in one weekend.

Ashley would leave New England Dragway in the No. 10 qualifying position. In Bristol, while qualifying for the Thunder Valley Nationals, Ashely would defeat Dan Mercier, two-time champion Brittany Force, multi-time champion Steve Torrence and winningest Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher to win the New England Nationals while also winning the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge. On Sunday, Ashley would cap off the weekend by winning the Thunder Valley Nationals.

“This is the first real opportunity we have to race at New England Dragway since 2022. We won the race last year, but it was contested in Bristol and the circumstances were completely unprecedented,” Ashley said. “This year the weather looks good and all the teams will have four full qualifying sessions to test the racetrack. These fans deserve a great show after missing out last year and I believe they are going to get it.”

Ashley and the SCAG Toyota team have reached four final rounds so far this season. Their final round streak started with a victory at the rain delayed Winternationals before reaching the finals of the Arizona Nationals in the same weekend. Ashley would earn runner-up points for his final quad appearance at the Las Vegas Four-Wide event and Ashley picked up a win at the second Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway just outside of Charlotte. Most recently, Ashley’s final round streak was disrupted by at Route 66 Raceway when he lost in the second round of eliminations but only after winning the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge while qualifying No. 14 on Saturday.

“I am very proud of what we’ve accomplished on and off the racetrack through the early part of this season. Our focus at the present moment is strictly on Epping. But it’s also important to reflect on how we got to this point,” said Ashley who leads the Top Fuel points standings. “Our team has dedicated so much time, energy and effort into building a successful program. I am grateful to be a small part of that and represent an incredible group of SCAG Power Equipment employees, owners, users, dealers and distributors all across the country.”

Ashley will be looking for his third consecutive final round appearance at the New England Nationals and his first No. 1 qualifying position. Before winning in 2023, Ashley finished runner-up in 2022 to Mike Salinas.

Competition at the NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway begins with four rounds of qualifying Friday at 5:30 and 8:00 p.m. and Saturday at 12:30 and 3:00 p.m. Eliminations are slated for Sunday at 11 a.m. Television coverage of the event will be on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) with qualifying shows Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET and Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. Eliminations will air Sunday with two shows at 1:00 and 7:00 p.m. ET.

This story was originally published on May 30, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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