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JCM Racing Pre-Race Report: Indianapolis

NHRA U.S. Nationals

Event 15 of 21

Indianapolis Raceway Park

Indianapolis

Sept. 1 - 4, 2023


Noteworthy:

  • JCM Racing will begin accepting applications for the 2024 JCM Jr. Dragster Driver Development program starting Sunday, Sept. 3 at 8:00 a.m. ET through Saturday, Sept. 9 at 5:00 p.m. ET. For more information and to apply: www.jcmnitro.com/driver-development


Top Fuel:


JUSTIN ASHLEY

Driver of the Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel Dragster


2022 U.S. Nationals Event Recap:

Qualified second; Semifinal finish (defeated Shawn Langdon in E1, Steve Torrence in E2; defeated by Antron Brown in E3)


Last Event (Brainerd):

Qualified No. 1; Semifinal finish (defeated Terry Totten in E1, Bye in E2; defeated by Leah Pruett in E3)


2023 Statistics:

14 races; six wins, one runner-up finish, two No. 1 qualifiers


Career Statistics:

69 races; 11 wins, four No. 1 qualifiers


Noteworthy:

  • Ashley begins the weekend as the Top Fuel points leader

    • With 1,133 total points, Ashley has a 101-point lead over second place driver Steve Torrence. With 195 points up for grabs this weekend, it will be a battle between Ashley and Torrence for the No. 1 seed heading into the Countdown

  • A six-time winner in 2023, Ashley will be looking to win the U.S. Nationals for the first time and duplicate a feat his Funny Car driving father, Mike Ashley, accomplished in 2007

  • Leads the Top Fuel category with his 31-8 round-win record and has the best average reaction time in the class

  • By advancing beyond the quarterfinals in Brainerd, Ashley secured a spot to compete in the last Mission #2Fast2Tasty Top Fuel Challenge of the year

Fan Events:

  • Thursday, Aug. 30, 7:00 – 7:30 p.m., Cruz Pedregon Open House driver autograph session (462 Southpoint Circle, Brownsburg)

  • Friday, Sept. 1, 12:00 – 12:30 p.m., DSR Performance Block Party benefiting Riley Children’s Foundation driver autograph session (1681 E. Northfield Dr., Brownsburg)

  • Saturday, Sept. 2, 12:30 – 1:00 p.m., #2Fast2Tasty autograph session at Mission Foods midway display

  • Saturday, Sept. 2, 1:00 – 1:30 p.m., Team Toyota autograph session at Toyota midway display

Quotable:

“You're excited for any race but there's something special about the U.S. Nationals. That's the one that everyone wants to win. That's the race that cements your legacy in this sport and we want to win that race. It's a grind because of the five qualifying sessions, because of the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty challenge and then race day on Monday. It really takes a team effort from the beginning of the weekend through the end of the weekend, so that's a special one. It’s really an exciting way to end the regular season then shift our focus to the Countdown.


“They have raised the purse for the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge so there will be $15,000 on the line for the Top Fuel winner. But more importantly, points are available and the NHRA fans will get to experience more elimination-style racing. This has been a great program and Mission Foods has been an unbelievable asset within our sport. I hope it comes back next season.


“The U.S. Nationals is our Super Bowl so there are a lot of fun events for our fans leading up to the race. As a representative of Phillips Connect it’s important that I make myself available while also ensuring that I am mentally and physically prepared to compete a high level. Five qualifying sessions and a Monday race day requires a lot of focus so finding the right balance between racing, events and everything in between will be a key to finding success.”

TONY SCHUMACHER

Driver of the SCAG Power Equipment Top Fuel Dragster


NHRA U.S. Nationals Event Highlights:

  • 10-time U.S. Nationals champion (2000, 2002 - 2004, 2006 - 2009, 2012, 2016)

  • Two-time runner-up (1996, 2005)

  • Four-time No. 1 qualifier (2005 - 2007, 2014)

2022 U.S. Nationals Event Recap:

Qualified 13th; First round exit (defeated by Mike Salinas in E1)


Last Event (Brainerd):

Qualified 10th; First round exit (defeated by Leah Pruett in E1)


2023 Statistics:

14 races; one runner-up finish


Career Statistics:

548 races; 86 wins, 88 No. 1 qualifiers


Noteworthy:

  • With an unprecedented 10 U.S. Nationals victories, Schumacher is the winningest Camping World Series driver in Indianapolis history

  • Made his Top Alcohol Funny Car debut at the 1995 event

  • Advanced to the final round in 1996 during his Top Fuel debut

  • Team minority owner Don Schumacher captured his first NHRA win during the 1970 U.S. Nationals race

Fan Events:

  • Friday, Sept. 1, 12:00 – 12:30 p.m., DSR Performance Block Party benefiting Riley Children’s Foundation driver autograph session (1681 E. Northfield Dr., Brownsburg)

Quotable:

“I love Indy. It’s where I got my start racing in Top Fuel. I’ve had so much success there and nothing would be better than to have a good get-healthy weekend at a facility that’s been so good to me over the years. Our SCAG Top Fuel team is coming off of a beautiful test session where the car performed like it should. The crew is full of confidence, I’m full of confidence, and we feel good. It’s going to be a great weekend and we’re ready to put on a great show.”

Funny Car:


TIM WILKERSON

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


NHRA U.S. Nationals Event Highlights:

  • Two-time event champion: 2003, 2021

  • Two-time runner-up: 1997, 2012

  • 1998 No. 1 qualifier

2022 U.S. Nationals Event Recap:

Qualified sixth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Bobby Bode in E1; defeated by Bob Tasca in E2)


Last Event (Brainerd):

Qualified ninth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Alexis DeJoria in E1; defeated by Ron Capps in E2)


2023 Statistics:

14 races; two wins, one runner-up finish


Career Statistics:

584 races; 24 wins; 20 No. 1 qualifiers


Noteworthy:

  • One of eight drivers to have qualified for the 2023 Pep Boys All-Star Funny Car Callout specialty event, scheduled for Sunday

  • A two-time winner in three final round appearances in 2023, Wilkerson begins the weekend occupying the No. 7 position in the Funny Car rankings, and with points-and-a-half up for grabs, is looking to close out the weekend inside the top five

  • Powered to his first final round appearance at the 1997 Indy event (defeated by Whit Bazemore)

  • Wilkerson was awarded his first No. 1 qualifier during the 1998 race

Fan Events:

  • Sunday, Sept. 3, 10:45 – 11:15 a.m., Pep Boys All-Star Callout driver autograph session at Nitro Alley Stage

Quotable:

“Really looking forward to having a good weekend at Indy. This weekend’s points-and-a-half format means a lot to us. We’re seventh currently and with the points pretty tight like they are in the middle, we have an opportunity to make a pretty big move to get us ready for the Countdown. If we have a really good weekend, we could move up to fourth or fifth. So, we’ll go out there and do the best we can but I have a really good track record at Indy and I’m looking forward to continuing that surge. In addition to competing for the big trophy on Monday, we qualified for the Pep Boys Callout and that should be a good time; its so great for the fans. I can’t wait to get back to Indy and get this weekend started.”


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