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JCM Racing Pre-Race Report: Brainerd

Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals

Event 14 of 21

Brainerd International Raceway

Brainerd, Minn.

Aug. 18 – 20


Noteworthy:

  • Team owner Joe Maynard celebrated a birthday on Aug. 15 and is looking to close out his birthday week in the Brainerd winner’s circle

  • Mike Lewis, Vice President of JCM Racing, will compete in the Top Alcohol Dragster category during the Brainerd event, campaigning the JCM SCAG Power Equipment/Versatran Transport Equipment A/Fuel Dragster

    • Lewis’ entry is owned and operated by Robin and Tony Samsel

    • Lewis is a two-time finalist and two-time No. 1 qualifier in the TAD category. He last competed during the Menards NHRA Nationals in Topeka last weekend, where he qualified No. 1 and advanced to the semifinals


Top Fuel:


JUSTIN ASHLEY

Driver of the Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel Dragster powered by Okuma


2022 NHRA Brainerd Nationals Event Recap:

Qualified third; Semifinal finish (defeated Krista Baldwin in E1, Shawn Langdon in E2; defeated by Tony Schumacher in E3)


Last Event (Topeka):

Qualified seventh; Event champion (defeated Josh Hart in E1, Leah Pruett in E2, Antron Brown in E3, Brittany Force in E4)


2023 Statistics:

13 races; six wins, one runner-up finish, one No. 1 qualifier


Career Statistics:

68 races; 11 wins, three No. 1 qualifiers


Noteworthy:

  • Begins the Brainerd event as the Top Fuel point leader after having won six events in seven final round appearances throughout the first 13 races of the season

  • Seeking to secure a third consecutive win for the first time in his young career as a team owner and driver after having powered to victory in Topeka, Kan. and Sonoma, Calif., the two most recent events on tour

  • By advancing beyond the quarterfinals in Topeka, Ashley locked-in a spot to compete in the Brainerd #2Fast2Tasty Challenge, and will be seeking his sixth victory in the Mission Foods-backed specialty race

  • Okuma will be recognized as an associate partner on Ashley’s machine this weekend. Many strategic engine and clutch components utilized on JCM Racing cars are made with Okuma CNC machines

Fan Events:

  • Saturday, Aug. 19, 10:30 – 11:00 a.m., #2Fast2Tasty driver autograph session at Mission Foods midway display

Quotable:

“Last weekend was a lot, and I am so thankful we got the win because my Phillips Connect Toyota team did an amazing job. We have had some great runs this season for sure and it all goes back to this team led by Mike Green, Tommy DeLago and Dustin Davis. They are all total professionals, and they keep everyone on the same page and motivated to give 100 percent every time we put the car together. I can’t tell you how much confidence that gives me as a driver.


“We have so much support on this team from Phillips Connect, KATO Fastening Systems, Chip Lofton at Strutmasters.com, Lucas Oil, Mac Tools and Toyota, that we feel like we have to perform at the highest level every time we go down the track. I don’t consider it pressure; it is more we want to represent these great companies and brands to our best ability. This is a dream come true and this season has been amazing so far. This sport is about improvement and repetition. You want to be able to get quicker and faster but also have a tune-up that is repeatable. You can’t win races guessing. Mike and Tommy have a great handle on this race car and I feel very comfortable driving. This weekend is going to be exciting and then we can start thinking about the U.S. Nationals and the Countdown.”

TONY SCHUMACHER

Driver of the SCAG Power Equipment Top Fuel Dragster


NHRA Brainerd Nationals Event Highlights:

  • Three-time event champion (2000, 2004, 2008)

  • Four-time runner-up (2003, 2006, 2011, 2022)

  • Six-time No. 1 qualifier (2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012)

2022 NHRA Brainerd Nationals Event Recap:

Qualified seventh; Event runner-up (defeated Doug Kalitta in E1, Josh Hart in E2, Justin Ashley in E3; defeated by Steve Torrence in E4)


Last Event (Topeka):

Qualified fourth; First round exit (defeated by Scott Palmer in E1)


2023 Statistics:

13 races; one runner-up finish


Career Statistics:

547 races; 86 wins, 88 No. 1 qualifiers


Noteworthy:

  • Powered to a runner-up finish at the 2022 Brainerd event, and is looking for a repeat performance as he aims to reach his second final round of the season

  • Schumacher leads the Top Fuel class in No. 1 qualifiers (six) at BIR

Quotable:

“I love Brainerd, and I’m looking forward to getting there for several reasons. We’re coming off of a No. 4 qualifier from Topeka last weekend, the best we’ve qualified so far this year. Yes we lost in the first round, but weather conditions just jacked with us all weekend long last weekend, and we still performed good. Our SCAG dragster is running right, and I tend to do well at Brainerd. Last year, we were runner-up there, and hopefully we can repeat with another visit to the final round this weekend.”

Funny Car:


TIM WILKERSON

Driver of the SCAG Power Equipment/Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang


NHRA Brainerd Nationals Event Highlights:

  • 2003 event runner-up

  • 2004 No. 1 qualifier

2022 NHRA Brainerd Nationals Event Recap:

Qualified sixth; First round exit (defeated by Chad Green in E1)


Last Event (Topeka):

Qualified sixth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Terry Haddock in E1; defeated by Matt Hagan in E2)


2023 Statistics:

13 races; two wins, one runner-up finish


Career Statistics:

583 races; 24 wins; 20 No. 1 qualifiers


Noteworthy:

  • Sits seventh in the Funny Car rankings, and with just two races remaining before playoff starting positions are set, will be looking to the Brainerd event to move up in the standings

Quotable:

“Every race is different and every track is different, so hopefully we can go to Brainerd and keep our momentum up of our car running well, but we’re going to have to work on our driver a little bit (said jokingly). I’m a little pissed at him after last weekend with Hagan’s good light, so we’ll see how that works out this weekend. Only two races left before the Countdown fields are set, and our SCAG/LRS team is focused on finishing the regular season strong.”


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