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Three Car SCAG Racing Team Wrap Up Thunder Valley Nationals

The newly formed SCAG Racing team consisting of Top Fuel pilot Justin Ashley in the SCAG Power Equipment Toyota Top Fuel dragster, Funny Car Rookie of the Year candidate Daniel Wilkerson in the SCAG Power Equipment Summit Ford Mustang and Dave Richards who is running the full NHRA season for the first time in the Versatran/BlueBird Funny Car, exited the Super Grip NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in the first round on Sunday.

Entering race day as the No. 2 qualifier off their 3.795 second pass at 322.42 mph from Friday night, Justin Ashely and the SCAG Power Equipment Toyota Top Fuel dragster team had a titanic matchup against two-time world champion Brittany Force. Ashley would leave the starting line first but his 3.764 second run at 324.36 mph that ended with an engine explosion at the finish line, wasn’t enough for Force’s 3.733 at 319.42.

“This is racing, things like this are going to happen. This sport is a constant emotional rollercoaster so it’s important to put things in perspective. We lost a close first round matchup against a tough competitor but still accomplished a lot throughout the weekend,” Ashley said. “Mike Green, Tommy DeLago, Dustin Davis and the team always give us a good racecar but we just happened to run into a parts failure early on Sunday. I’m grateful for everybody at SCAG Power Equipment, all the dealers and distributors that were with us this weekend, Toyota, Phillips, Lucas Oil, Mac Tools and KATO, and Impact. We’ll get back to work and be ready for Richmond.”

Dave Richards and the Versatran / BlueBird Funny Car team came into race day as the No. 15 qualifiers after a 4.209-second pass at 256.31 mph from Friday evening. This is the sixth race of eight races and fifth consecutive race Richards has qualified for. The Versatran Funny Car would line up against Alexis DeJoria in the first round. Richards crossed the finish line at 4.242 seconds and 294.75 mph, but it wouldn’t be enough for DeJoria’s 3.938 second pass, the second quickest of the event, at 318.69 mph.

“Our Versatran / BlueBird team had our ups and downs this weekend, but we powered through. We ended qualifying on a decent run, and we were happy to be in the show today,” Richards said. “We’re continuing to progress, myself as a driver I’m working hard to get better too. I keep saying it because I believe it: Good things are coming.”

Daniel Wilkerson and the SCAG Ford team started race day from the No. 10 position off a 4.064-second pass at 310.98 mph that earned them a first-round match-up with 16-time champion John Force. After the team worked through an engine explosion from qualifying on Saturday evening, Wilkerson would have his best run of the weekend crossing the finish line at 3.981 and 318.60 mph, but it wouldn’t be enough for Force’s 3.953 at 320.97.

“After the fire during qualifying on Saturday night, we started tearing into everything and realized there was too much to do with the looming 10:00 am start so we punted and switched to our backup car,” Wilkerson said. “Very proud of how our team performed under fire (literally). We had an unrelated parts failure that doomed us today, but we are still happy with where our SCAG Summit Mustang and ready for Richmond.”

The SCAG Racing team will continue on the 2024 Mission Foods Drag Racing Series schedule with the Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park, June 22-23.

This story was originally published on June 9, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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