As the NHRA season rolls on, it’s time to turn our attention to the seventh event on the calendar, the NHRA New England Nationals. The event, scheduled for June 2-4, 2023, brings the excitement and competition of the drag racing world to New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.
In the midst of the high-octane competition, there’s a story of community and philanthropy unfolding. All three JCM cars will carry decals for A Soldier’s Child (ASC) throughout the race weekend. The Maynard family, long-time supporters of ASC, have been instrumental in this initiative. This national nonprofit organization serves the children of fallen military personnel who lost their lives on active duty. Since 2008, the Maynards have been involved with ASC, and last year, they expanded their efforts, bringing Gold Star Families to various NHRA races. This weekend will see another family hosted at the event, underscoring the Maynards’ commitment to this cause.
Turning to the track, one of the key figures to watch in the Top Fuel division is Justin Ashley, driver of the Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel Dragster. Ashley put in a strong performance at the 2022 NHRA New England Nationals, ultimately finishing as the runner-up after defeating Dan Mercier, Scott Farley, and Shawn Langdon. Ashley’s final showdown with Mike Salinas ended in defeat, but it marked an impressive run for the rising star.
Ashley’s 2023 season has been notable, with two wins and a No. 1 qualifier position in six races. His most recent outing in Chicago ended sooner than expected, with a first-round exit at the hands of Jacob McNeal. Despite this setback, Ashley’s career stats are impressive, with seven wins and three No. 1 qualifiers over 61 races.
A significant development for Ashley’s team is the recent partnership with the JCM Racing organization, leading to the formation of Maynard Ashley Racing. In addition to his two event wins this year, Ashley also has two Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge victories to his name.
Speaking about the upcoming event, Ashley said, “New England Dragway is considered a home track for my family since we can make the drive over in a few short hours. It’s nice to race in the Northeast and give my family and friends the opportunity to join us at the racetrack.”
Reflecting on the season so far, he added, “Getting back-to-back wins at the Winternationals from the No. 1 spot was an amazing feeling for this Phillips Connect Toyota team. It was proof that all the work our Maynard Ashley Racing team put in during the offseason was justified. We haven’t gone as many rounds as we expected in the races since then, but we have a great racecar surrounded by a great team. You can never get too high or too low in this sport. We are totally focused on trying to win the New England Nationals and doing whatever it takes to be successful on and off the racetrack.”
As the NHRA New England Nationals approach, the anticipation builds. The storylines are rich, the competition is fierce, and the commitment to community is strong. It’s shaping up to be a can’t-miss event for any drag racing enthusiast.