By Bobby Bennett http://competitionplus.com/CPSportsman/justin-ashley-scores-monumental-nhra-div-1-lodrs-victory

Justin Ashley had a date with destiny on Saturday night.

The second-generation drag racer captured an impressive victory winning the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Div. 1 Top Alcohol Dragster crown behind the wheel of the Randy Meyer Racing entry at Virginia Motorsports Park, located outside of Richmond, Va, But this simply wasn't just another victory.

Ashley not only qualified #2 in the quickest-ever NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster field (5.265 bump) but also stopped Jared Dreher in the final round to capture his first-ever divisional title.

It seemed like yesterday that the 24-year old real estate developer was at VMP, then 8, watching his father Mike Ashley score his first victory behind the wheel a supercharged car.

"The car ran so well all weekend," Ashley said. "We were able to keep the car in the teens all weekend, and we needed to be there because this was the quickest field in Top Alcohol Dragster history. The competition out here was simply amazing."

Ashley fired his first shot in qualifying with a 5.177, 277.66 pass to land #2 behind Richard Rourke's 5.161.

Ashley said this kind of performance was the kind he'd envisioned when he declared his team would compete for a Top Alcohol Dragster title.

"Anytime I get behind the wheel of this car, Randy Meyer and his team put me in a position to win," Ashley explained. "This is the kind of performance we expect week in and week out."

Ashley's march to the winner's circle began with his quickest run of the weekend, a 5.141, to stop Julie Nataas. He then used an .04 light and a 5.158 to lead Dan Page through the lights.

In the final round, Ashley outreacted Dreher and scored the victory with a 5.238. Dreher slowed to a 7.164 for runner-up.

Ashley believes the key to the weekend success was getting off on the right foot on Friday.

"I think running the 5.19 out of the trailer...
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was the place to be for race fans. People from all over the world filled the stands to witness the inaugural four-wide event at the Las Vegas track. The speedway had a sell-out crowd for the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.

Fans showed up in droves to feel the energy and be a part of the historical event. Four-Wide drag racing has established itself in the Western Region and from the response of the fans and race competitors, you can bet it’s here to stay.

Once again, Team Litton Racing joined forces with Randy Meyer Racing to compete in the Top Alcohol Dragster division. Although race fans were eager to get the first glimpse of the newly constructed track, breaking in a new strip can bring many challenges for the driver and race team.
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Driver Bill Litton, Crew Chief Randy Meyer, Assistant Crew Chief Dan Pomponio, and crew members Mary, JJ, Howard, Ted, and Glenn knew they had to bring their A – game. The first round of qualifying took off with a smooth run reaching the finish line in 5.42 seconds @ 270 mph. Driver Litton rolled into the next round of qualifying 5.39 @ 271 mph holding on to the #6 spot. The 3rd and final qualifying run on Saturday showed improvement, finishing at 5.34 @ 272.9 mph still holding on to the #6 qualifying spot. “After a trick race track, being an all new surface, we have come out in pretty good shape. Bill being the #6 qualifier with 5.34, looking pretty good going into eliminations," said Chief Meyer. "On Saturday we will be running first round eliminations to see if we can continue onward up the eliminations ladder, and hope for the best."
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After qualifying in a solid position, Driver Bill Litton was optimistic going into first round eliminations. Per Litton, “Randy, Dan,...
John Lombardo Jr. and the NAPA Auto Parts/Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Funny Car team shook down their new McKinney car during testing at Auto Club Famoso Raceway.

LAS VEGAS, April 4, 2018 – John Lombardo Jr. is ready to make his 2018 season debut at this weekend’s DENSO Spark Plugs Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas with a new car and the same mindset that drove the NAPA Auto Parts/Lucas Oil Chevy Camaro Top Alcohol Funny Car team to nine total wins in 2017.

Though eager to begin his pursuit of the 2018 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series championship, Lombardo and team patiently put a new race car together while others put their first competitive runs in the books in Pomona and Gainesville. Once the thorough process was completed at the team’s Southern California headquarters, they gained valuable information with the new frame at a test session at Auto Club Famoso Raceway before venturing out to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Lombardo doesn’t foresee five months’ time elapsed or a whole new race car tempering the considerable momentum he gained with wins in Las Vegas and Pomona to close the 2017 season in November. He drives with confidence knowing that the team surrounding him has immaculately prepared the supercharged, methanol-burning hot rod.

“Rick Jackson, Chris Perl, and crew are known to take first class race cars to the starting line,” said Lombardo. “Their efforts produce results as evidenced by nine wins in 17 races last year, including Vegas and Pomona in November. Our offseason has been a bit longer than normal, but it was extremely busy and productive.

“We are debuting a new McKinney Camaro and starting our season this weekend at Las Vegas. I can't wait to let the clutch out and pour the power to it, so we can see what this car needs to run up front and trigger those win lights!”

The reigning Central Region champion had a fruitful 2017 campaign with nine victories that included a perfect six-for-six sweep in...
Gainesville FL - Duane Shields, didn’t make it to the NHRA Gatornationals Winner's Circle this time but still had a good weekend by making it to the semi-finals before getting stopped by a loss of traction. “I’m disappointed. We were on a roll and thought we were heading for another final round appearance but it didn’t work out this time” Duane said.

Duane qualified the PEAK A/Fuel Dragster in the top half of the field with a scorching 5.22 at 274 MPH. His qualifying run was good for 4th in the final run order of the Top Alcohol Dragster class.

In round one, Duane easily disposed of Robin Samsel. Duane was on his game and won the round at both ends of the track as he beat Samsel off the line with an 0.053 to his 0.084. At the finish line it was Duane taking the win with a 5.29 at 271 MPH to Samsel’s valiant 5.34 at 264 MPH.

In round two, Duane faced off with Jordan Vandergriff. At the hit, Vandergriff got the stating line advantage but didn’t have the power to over come the PEAK Dragster as Duane made up for his slight starting line deficit instantly with a potent 5.23 at 276 MPH to Vandergriff’s slower 5.37 at 273 MPH.

In the semifinals, Duane raced Josh Hart. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the close race that everyone was expecting. Hart got the starting line advantage and never looked back as he scored the victory with a 5.27 at 273 MPH. Sadly for Duane, he immediately went up in smoke at the tap of the throttle and had to reluctantly conceded the race. “The weather warmed up and the track got a little tricky and we lost traction. Some of the cars that were running hard all weekend began to smoke the tires as well” Duane said.

The PEAK team will take a brief break after three races in a row and then return to action April 20-22 when they move on to Virginia Motorsports Park for a Lucas Oil Regional event. Duane would like to thank his great sponsors: PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil, Final Charge, Blue Def, NGK, GRP and Brad Anderson Enterprises for their...
The track and weather conditions made it tough for the Randy Meyer Racing Team to continue their success from the 2017 season to 2018, but were able to walk away with a third place finish at both Regional races between 3 of their drivers.

The first event of the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series’ Central Region was held in Belle Rose, Louisiana the first weekend of March – a race that was typically held a month later. With a stout field the team pushed their two Top Alcohol Dragsters to power down the track as the quickest and fastest, and were able to do so with Megan Meyer’s NGK Spark Plugs race car. Unfortunately, tuning problems with Julie Nataas’s dragster caused her to qualify eighth, a first round set up for both girls to compete against each other.

Although this is not the ideal match for the opening round of eliminations for the team, the girls had a hard-fought race and the victory went to Megan as Julie had a -.002 red light. Megan went on to lose to Jackie Fricke in the following round due to tire shake on the track, despite the low E.T. she ran.

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“I didn’t experience smoking the tires until my fifth race in an Alcohol Dragster, which was in Pomona earlier this year,” Julie said. “In Louisiana I learned a lot again; smoking the tires two out of the tree qualifying passes, getting used to it and know how to recover from it. In the final session, the car was going fast but was shaking to the point where I couldn’t see the finish line, so after half track I stepped off the gas and pulled the parachutes. We wanted a clean plass down the race track so that I didn’t have to race my teammate first round, but I was pretty upset that we didn’t qualify better. After losing two races on a holeshot last year, I wanted to cut a light against Megan but tried too hard and the red light start ended it for me in Louisiana. I look forward to coming back next year and...
Gainesville FL - Duane Shields in the PEAK A/Fuel Dragster improved over last week’s runner up finish to grab a big win at the NHRA Lucas Oil Regional event held one week prior to the Mac Tools NHRA Gatornationals contested at the same track. The win ends a long drought for one of drag racing’s more popular stars in the Top Alcohol Dragster category. “I hate to say how long it’s been since we won last, but it feels really good to get the win for my team and my sponsors" Duane said after the event.

Duane qualified 6th in a very competitive field with a 5.29 at 276 MPH. “It didn’t start out well, there were some delays so we only got two chances to qualify. We had to abort the first run so on the second run we had to concentrate on just getting into the show. It was a really tough field with seven cars in the 5.30’s or better” Duane said.

In round one, Duane took on Jackie Fricke fresh off her win over Duane last week in Belle Rose. At the hit, Duane got off the line first with a 0.063 to Fricke’s 0.073. Duane never trailed and took the stripe with a stout 5.23 at 276 MPH over Fricke’s competitive 5.34 at 270 MPH. “We stepped it up in the first round and kept the same tune up in the car the rest of the race” Duane explained.

In the semifinals, Duane raced Justin Ashley. As the cars left the starting line, Ashley had a great 0.021 light but that was it as he had problems and shut off early. Meanwhile, Duane kept his consistency going with a 5.24 at 275 MPH to win the round and go on to the finals for the second week in a row.

In the final round, Duane faced Jeff Veale who was also having a very consistent weekend. On paper, it looked to be a very tight race as both teams had similar performances throughout the day. As the lights came down, Veale made the most of it with an 0.017 reaction time to Duane’s decent 0.023. As predicted, it was a close race all the way to the finish line with Duane getting a well deserved win with a 5.27 at 274 MPH to Veale’s close...
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Second-generation nitro racer Justin Ashley learned a lot in his first season of Top Alcohol Dragster.
Ashley, who pilots the Epic Motorsports Marketing/Realty Warehouse A/Fuel Dragster for Randy Meyer, learned quickly to keep his emotions in check, even when he had plenty to get emotional about.
"What works best for me is keeping the emotions out of it - being mechanical.," explained Ashley, a two-time winner in 2017. " And that’s something I learned from my father and Frank Hawley. Get in the car and do the same thing every time. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first round of qualifying or the fourth round of eliminations on Sunday. You just put all your emotions to the side, don’t get too high, don’t get too low. Just get in the car, do your job. There’s plenty of time at the finish line to show your emotions."
Ashley proved a quick study as he laid down a No. 1 qualifier in his first outing, the NHRA Division 2 opener in Gainesville, Fla. A week later, he drove his way to the winner's circle at the NHRA Gatornationals. And for good measure, he added a No. 1 qualifier at the prestigious NHRA U.S Nationals and a second win in Brainerd, Minn.
Ashley will make his 2018 racing debut this weekend at the Lucas Oil NHRA Division 2 event this weekend in Gainesville, Fla. He's a much different driver than the unproven rookie who rolled through the gates last March.
"My nerve level was probably closer to 10 then, especially going into that race," Ashley said. "But at the same time when it was time to go and sit in the car and actually drive my nerves definitely calmed down a lot, and I was able to just focus on what I had to do. There was a lot of anticipation. A lot going on inside and outside the car at that time. But thanks to Randy and the team I was able to learn and grow as a driver.
"Relative to now where things are a little bit different. I’m looking at things a little bit different having those passes under my belt. You still get those...
Belle Rose LA - The PEAK Dragster’s stellar performance in 2018 continues as Duane Shields made it to the final round at the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Race Series Regional at No Problem Raceway located in Belle Rose, Louisiana. “I wish we would have won but this was good since we haven’t been to a final round in a while” Duane said after the event.

Duane ended up third on the qualifying ladder with a 5.44 at 215 MPH and faced former Top Fuel stand out, Spencer Massey, in round one. Massey ended up being a no show but ready or not the PEAK team slapped down a 5.24 at 273 MPH which was low ET for the first round of competition. “The car ran right where we wanted it to in the first round” Duane explained.

In the semi-final round, the PEAK team had Buddy Domingue on their hands. Unfortunately, the race was over at the starting line as Domingue red lit giving the win to Duane. Domingue ran a very competitive 5.27 at 275 MPH to Duane’s slightly slower 5.30 at 272 MPH but it was all for not due to the starting line infraction.

In the finals, Duane faced friendly competitor Jackie Fricke who had ran an impressive 5.27 in the second round. At the hit Fricke got off the line first with an 0.058 reaction time to Duane’s 0.068. At the finish line, Fricke got the win with a solid 5.30 at 272 MPH to Duane’s close 5.34 at 272 MPH. “The car ran a little slower in the second round so we gave it a little more power for the finals but it didn’t respond” Duane said.

The PEAK team now moves on to Florida where Duane has won the regional event in Gainesville and the NHRA Gatornationals three times. “This is the start of three races in a row and this weekend gives us a lot of confidence going into Florida” Duane said. Duane would like to thank PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil, Final Charge, Blue Def, NGK, GRP and Brad Anderson Enterprises for supporting the team in 2018.


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After helping the Randy Meyer Racing Team earn the number 1 qualifying spot at the NHRA Pomona Winternationals, with Julie Nataas driving, Megan Meyer is ready to kick off her Junior year in the Top Alcohol Dragster class at the Nitro in the Bayou event. Megan and the Randy Meyer Racing Team will be competing for their second consecutive title at the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series’ (LODRS) Central Regional race on March 2-4 with teammate Julie Nataas driving the team’s second dragster.

“I’m stoked to be back in Louisiana,” said Megan. “Our first year ever here, in 2016, we finished second, and won the next year. This track is one of my favorite’s because of the great weather, fun competition, and amazing fans.”

Megan’s win at the Nitro at the Bayou event last year lead to her NHRA Central Region Championship, the 7th LODRS points win for the Randy Meyer Racing Team. Megan also collected wins at Gainesville, Topeka, and Earlville, and Runnered-Up at Tulsa for an almost perfect score. This year, Megan is looking to repeat.

“Our team is one of the best in the business, and we’ve put in countless hours this off season to make these two cars the best in our class,” said Megan. “I know we have enough data, parts, and equipment to have both cars reach the final round this weekend. We raised the bar high last year, and hope to exceed expectations in 2018.”

As the Randy Meyer-led team moves on to their first LODRS regional race after having a short outing at the Winternationals, they applied a new wrap on both cars, provided by Fineline Graphics, for a fresh, new look for 2018. Megan will hold her NGK livery for the entire 2018-2019 seasons, and will share the driver’s seat with Julie following this event. The second car, formerly driven by Randy Meyer, will sport a Randy Meyer themed wrap for driver’s Justin Ashley, Bill Litton, and Rachel Meyer. Tune into...
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RIVERSIDE, Calif.
– Nostalgia funny car driver Steve Easton will be behind the wheel of the Burnin’ Money nitro funny car at this year’s 60th annual March Meet at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, March 1-4.

The Brisbane, Australia native will make his fourth appearance at the historic event driving a 1972 Plymouth Cuda for Bob Godfrey Racing. Easton previously competed in this annual event from 2013-2015 as well as the Hot Rod Reunion held during the fall.

“It’s always a thrill to drive Bob’s car,” said Easton. “We are all great friends and have heaps of fun at the race track. I’m hoping to make some more progress on the tune-up of the car and of course I want to be the first Australian to win the March Meet in a funny car.”

The event kicks off on Thursday, March 1, with time trials for Hot Rod, D/Gas, C/Gas, Nostalgia Elim. 3, Nostalgia Elim. 2, B/Gas, Nostalgia Elim. 1, A/Gas and Hot Rod slated to begin at 9 a.m. (PT). Group 1 Qualifying Session 1 is scheduled for 2 p.m., followed by the Nitro Testing Session at 3 p.m. Fans can view the full event schedule by heading to http://famosoraceway.com/march-meet.htm.

To stay up-to-date on the latest Easton Motorsport news, follow @EastonMotorsport on Facebook and Instagram.

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