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JCM Racing Pre-Race Report: Pomona 2

In-N-Out Burger NHRA Nationals

Event 21 of 21

Countdown Event 6 of 6

In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip

Pomona, Calif.

Nov. 10 - 12, 2023


Top Fuel:


JUSTIN ASHLEY

Driver of the Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel Dragster


Countdown to the Championship Ranking: 5th (-82)


In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip Overall Highlights:

  • Two-time winner

  • One-time runner-up

  • One-time No. 1 qualifier

Note: all highlights are from the Winternationals race


2022 NHRA Finals Event Recap:

Qualified 10th; First round exit (defeated by Antron Brown in E1)


Last Event (Las Vegas 2):

Qualified sixth; Event runner-up (defeated Dan Mercier in E1, Austin Prock in E2, Steve Torrence in E3; defeated by Mike Salinas in E4)


2023 Statistics:

20 races; six wins, two runner-up finishes, three No. 1 qualifiers


Career Statistics:

75 races; 11 wins, five No. 1 qualifiers


Noteworthy:

  • Ashley is in pursuit of his first Top Fuel world championship

  • Begins the weekend sitting 82 points – or less than three competition rounds – behind No. 1 ranked Steve Torrence

  • Enters the NHRA Finals after having powered to a runner-up finish in Las Vegas at the most recent event on tour

  • In addition to his six wins in eight final round appearances, Ashley’s dominant 2023 season has included:

    • Three No. 1 qualifiers

    • A class-leading six Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge specialty race wins

    • Winning the 2023 NHRA Camping World Series regular-season to begin the playoffs as the No. 1 seed

  • For the past two seasons Ashley and the Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel team have supported and honored veterans through a partnership with the Wyakin Foundation. This weekend, Ashley, Phillips Connect, and the Wyakin Foundation will be hosting three veterans on Saturday, Nov. 11, to celebrate Veterans Day

    • The Wyakin Foundation’s mission is to serve as a conduit, connecting wounded and injured veterans to their successful and fulfilling civilian futures through education, development, and guidance

    • This year, Ashley donated $2,500 to the Wyakin Foundation when he was on the Top Fuel team that won the Toyota Supra Showdown. The Phillips Connect team has also hosted contest and raffle winners at races through their fundraising efforts


Fan Events:

  • Saturday, 10:30 -11:00 a.m., Team Toyota autograph session at Toyota midway display

Quotable:

“At the beginning of the season everyone says they just want to have a shot at the championship coming into the NHRA Finals at Pomona in November. We have our shot and now it’s all about capitalizing on the opportunities that are ahead. We’re focused on taking it one round at a time and letting the points take care of themselves. Our best chance to win this championship is by taking care of our business and not being concerned with the variables around us.


“There are little points available throughout qualifying and 30 points per round available on race day. We just want to get as many qualifying points as possible and then race to the best of our ability on Sunday. There are no easy rounds and the competition is stronger than it’s ever been before. We have an amazing team with these Phillips Connect guys led by Mike Green and Tommy DeLago so it will be exciting. I am looking forward to the challenge.”


TONY SCHUMACHER

Driver of the SCAG Power Equipment Top Fuel Dragster


Countdown to the Championship Ranking: 9th (-235)


NHRA Finals Event Highlights:

  • Four-time event champion (2004 - 2007)

  • Five-time runner-up (2000, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2018)

  • Six-time No. 1 qualifier (2003, 2005, 2007 - 2010)

In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip Overall Highlights:

  • Six-time event winner

  • Seven-time runner-up

  • 10-time No. 1 qualifier

2022 NHRA Finals Event Recap:

Qualified eighth; First round exit (defeated by Clay Millican in E1)


Last Event (Las Vegas 2):

Qualified ninth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Shawn Langdon in E1; defeated by Mike Salinas in E2)


2023 Statistics:

20 races; one runner-up finish


Career Statistics:

554 races; 86 wins, 88 No. 1 qualifiers


Noteworthy:

  • Tied with Don Garlits and Doug Kalitta for the most Top Fuel wins (six) at Pomona

  • Leads the Top Fuel class in number of No. 1 qualifiers (six) at the NHRA Finals

  • Leads the Top Fuel class in number of overall No. 1 qualifiers (10) at Pomona

  • Is vying for his 22nd top 10 finish

  • Has enjoyed a late-season surge, which has seen him advance to the semifinals at two of the last five events in addition to a quarterfinal finish at the most recent event in Las Vegas

Quotable:

“Seasons are determined by timing, and we didn’t have a very good car at the beginning of the year because we had a lot of brand-new parts and a lot of things to work through. But lately, we’ve been running well, and while I can’t win the championship this year, I’m going to enjoy Pomona because we have a great race car and we will probably upset the apple cart at some level. To be honest, whoever wins the championship, it’s going to be a hell of a battle and they’re going to have to get through some very difficult cars. I love Pomona, and I love the end of the year and seeing who can gut-out the pressure. So, while we won’t win the championship, we will be the pressure.”


Funny Car:


TIM WILKERSON

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


Countdown to the Championship Ranking: 8th (-269)


In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip Highlights:

  • 1998 event runner-up

  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier

Note: all highlights are from the Winternationals race


2022 NHRA Finals Event Recap:

Qualified eighth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated J.R. Todd in E1; defeated by Ron Capps in E2)


Last Event (Las Vegas 2):

Qualified ninth; First round exit (defeated by Alexis DeJoria in E1)


2023 Statistics:

20 races; two wins, one runner-up finish


Career Statistics:

590 races; 24 wins; 20 No. 1 qualifiers


Noteworthy:

  • Clocked his career-best speed (336.91 MPH) during the 2022 Pomona 2 event

  • Has finished in the top 10 an impressive 18 times and is seeking his 16th consecutive ranked finish. Wilkerson’s 2023 highlights include:

    • Reaching a milestone 50th final round when he advanced to a runner-up finish in Las Vegas

    • Powering to two event wins (Joliet, Ill., and Seattle)

    • Two Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge specialty race appearances


Quotable:

“I’m looking to bounce back from a really awful weekend in Vegas, blow-up wise. Then, hopefully end the year with a win for our whole SCAG Ford Maynard Wilkerson Racing team. We had some great standout moments this year, including a win at one of the facilities I consider a home track, and now we want to close out the year strong. We’re not in the championship hunt but we’re looking forward to playing spoiler and making the teams still in the chase really work for it.”


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