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Justin Ashley Wins NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway

Points leader Justin Ashley and the SCAG Power Equipment Toyota Top Fuel dragster team picked up their second win of the season Sunday at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.

Ashley, who had already picked up a win during the weekend in the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge, ran an impressive 3.710 second pass at 328.06 mph to holdoff local Clay Millican (3.722 at 337.92), reigning world champion Doug Kalitta (3.725 at 326.00) and veteran Antron Brown (4.780 at 163.31). The victory was Ashley’s 15th of his career, 13th in Top Fuel, first at zMAX Dragway and first in the unique four-wide format.

“When you come out here and you race four-wide, the quads are so good. It really doesn’t matter who you’re racing, especially with depth of the Top Fuel field now. The quads are going to be stellar each and every time, and you saw it even in that final round. There was a lot of really good reaction times a lot of really good E.T.s and it made for some close racing,” Ashley said. “I think the only thing that could derail us is ourselves. If we got out of focus. It’s not about focusing on the competition, even though you want to know where you and relevant to everyone else, but our focus is on being the best version of ourselves that we can be. As long as we keep that internal focus, I think we’ll have a lot of success.

“Mike Green, Tommy DeLago, Dustin Davis, the whole SCAG Power Equipment Toyota Philips Connect team work so hard day in and day out. They’re the ones who deserve to hold this Wally Trophy,” Ashley continued. “So proud to represent SCAG Power Equipment and all of SCAG nation, all of the wonderful dealers, users, owners out there. These things are tough to win, so I get a little bit emotional sometimes. I couldn’t be prouder nor more grateful for this opportunity.”

Ashely made his way to the finals by winning his first quad of the day on a holeshot. Ashley’s .052 second reaction time paired with a 3.763-second pass at 331.69 mph advanced him along with Tony Stewart who had a 3.762 at 326.71 with a .068 reaction time.

In the second round, Ashley, with Stewart, would line up against Antron Brown and Brittany Force. At the finish line, Ashely would come in second at 3.711 seconds and 333.58 mph to advance with the quad winner, Antron Brown (3.728 at 333.66), to the final round.

In Funny Car, Daniel Wilkerson with the SCAG Power Equipment Ford Mustang Funny Car team earned his first career runner-up finish with a 3.923-second pass at 327.59 mph. Wilkerson would miss getting his first win on a holeshot to Matt Hagan. Hagan would go 3.946 at 332.34 but his .029 reaction time compared to Wilkerson’s .080 would get him the win.

“Very proud of the SCAG Power Equipment Summit Mustang team. These boys worked their hearts out all weekend and it paid off. The 333.16-mph run on Friday and then the 3.885 second pass today is exactly what we needed,” said Wilkerson who is now eighth in the points standings. “We have a badass hot rod, and we are super pumped for Joliet, Illinois in a couple weeks.”

Wilkerson, like teammate Ashley, also won his first quad of the day on a holeshot. Wilkerson would handle his Ford Mustang to a 3.885 second pass at 329.58 with a .052 reaction time to come in first over No. 1 qualifier Bob Tasca III who also advanced with a 3.871 at 336.82 and .067 reaction time.

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In the semifinals, Wilkerson would run a 3.906 second pass at 328.30 mph 328.30 mph, enough to advance with quad winner, reigning world champion Hagan (3.879 at 334.24) to the finals.

Dave Richards and the Versatran / BlueBird Funny Car team entered race day in the No. 14 qualifying spot to lineup in a quad with Blake Alexander, Matt Hagan and Austin Prock. Richards would cross the finish line at 4.014 seconds and 319.60 mph enough to advance to the second round for the first time this season.

“The plan is always to just get down the racetrack. I didn’t even really know I advanced until I made it to the turnout and they were waving me left, that’s a good sign. Felt amazing to get that first round win of the season,” said Richards who advanced with Hagan (3.918 at 331.61). “We just keep picking away at it and keep getting a little better. We’re finding our groove and it’s pretty awesome. We can’t thank SCAG Racing, Versatran, BlueBird and Randy Gloede enough for the opportunity they’ve given us. Looking forward to a lot more win lights this season.”

In the second round, the Versatran car would smoke the tires for only a 6.568 pass at 99.14. The finish earned Richards quarterfinal points, putting him 15th in the standings.

The SCAG Racing team will have two weekends off before heading to the Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway just outside of Chicago May 17-19.

This story was originally published on April 29, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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