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JCM Racing Pre-Race Report: Reading

Pep Boys NHRA Nationals

Event 16 of 21

Countdown Event 1 of 6

Maple Grove Raceway

Reading, Pa.

Sept. 15 - 17, 2023


  • Mike Lewis, Vice President of JCM Racing, will compete in the Top Alcohol Dragster category at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals where he will campaign the JCM SCAG Power Equipment/Versatran Transport Equipment A/Fuel Dragster

  • Lewis is a former shareholder and President of Maple Grove Raceway

  • Lewis’ entry is owned and operated by Randy Meyer Racing

  • Lewis is a three-time finalist and two-time No. 1 qualifier in the TAD category. He last competed during the NHRA Brainerd Nationals in August where he qualified fourth and raced to a runner-up finish

  • Of his three final round appearances, two occurred at the Reading, Pa. facility (2008, 2009). He also secured the pole at the 2016 event

Top Fuel:


Driver of the Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel Dragster

Countdown to the Championship Ranking: 1st

Pep Boys NHRA Nationals Event Highlights:

  • Two-time event runner-up (2021, 2022)

2022 Pep Boys NHRA Nationals Event Recap:

Qualified second; Event runner-up (defeated Jeffrey Chatterson in E1, Doug Kalitta in E2, Mike Salinas in E3; defeated by Austin Prock in E4)

Last Event (Indianapolis):

Qualified third; Semifinal finish (defeated Doug Foley in E1, Leah Pruett in E2; defeated by Antron Brown in E3)

2023 Statistics:

15 races; six wins, two No. 1 qualifiers

Career Statistics:

70 races; 11 wins, four No. 1 qualifiers


  • Secured a category-leading six regular-season wins to start the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs as the Top Fuel points leader

  • Thanks to the team’s success in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge specialty races, Ashley earned 21 bonus points and netted a 10-point advantage over No. 2 seed Steve Torrence. Ashley carries a 31-point cushion over Torrence into the Reading event

  • After powering to runner-up finishes at Maple Grove in 2021 and 2022, Ashley is seeking his third consecutive final round appearance at the Reading, Pa. facility


“We accomplished everything we wanted to in the regular season but that is behind us now. We wanted to go into the Countdown as the No. 1 seed and collect a large number of Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge championship points. We feel good about that but understand that at this point in time, our focus is solely on being successful in Reading.

“If you choose to be overconfident this sport will humble you very quickly. Every Top Fuel team on the property can win the race. That’s why we believe the best approach revolves around constant improvement and being the best version of ourselves that we can be. Our Phillips Connect Toyota Racing team is incredible and works tirelessly to win both on and off the racetrack. As we head into the toughest six races of the season, I am proud to be a small part of that group.

“We have had a few good races at Maple Grove Raceway and it’s generally a very fast track. The key will be to get two good runs on Friday in qualifying and then we can start focusing on getting ready for race day with the remaining two qualifying runs. (Crew chiefs) Mike Green and Tommy Delago work so well together and I consider myself very fortunate to work closely with them and our entire team. We will be ready for any kind of track conditions, including those that may present an opportunity to join the Phillips Connect 300 MPH to the 1/8 club.”


Driver of the SCAG Power Equipment Top Fuel Dragster

Countdown to the Championship Ranking: 12th

Pep Boys NHRA Nationals Event Highlights:

  • Five-time event champion (2003 - 2005, 2008, 2014)

  • Three-time runner-up (1999, 2015, 2018)

  • Seven-time No. 1 qualifier (2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2014)

2022 Pep Boys NHRA Nationals Event Recap:

Qualified 11th; First round exit (defeated by Clay Millican in E1)

Last Event (Indianapolis):

Qualified 12th; First round exit (defeated by Mike Salinas in E1)

2023 Statistics:

15 races; one runner-up finish

Career Statistics:

549 races; 86 wins, 88 No. 1 qualifiers


  • The Reading race is slated to be Schumacher’s 550th professional event

  • Schumacher leads the class in number of Top Fuel victories (five) at Maple Grove Raceway

  • Schumacher has been the Reading No. 1 qualifier seven times- the most of any Top Fuel driver at a single event

  • An eight-time Top Fuel world champion, Schumacher begins the 2023 Countdown to the Championship from the No. 12 seed


“Reading always produces some of the best runs of the year. The facility is known for low E.T.s and big speeds, so it’s always a great show for the fans. Looking forward to some sell-out crowds this weekend.

“The Countdown starts at Maple Grove. We’re 139 points out of the lead following the reset, and I really think the car is starting to come around and reach the level of performance we expect. Now it’s time to prove it. We’ve got six more races this year to put this SCAG dragster in the winner’s circle. Our goal is a top five finish to the year so a strong weekend in Reading is crucial.”

Funny Car:


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

Countdown to the Championship Ranking: 8th

Pep Boys NHRA Nationals Event Highlights:

  • 2003 event champion

  • Two-time runner-up (2018, 2022)

2022 Pep Boys NHRA Nationals Event Recap:

Qualified seventh; Event runner-up (defeated Alexis DeJoria in E1, Ron Capps in E2, John Force in E3; defeated by Robert Hight in E4)

Last Event (Indianapolis):

Qualified 8th; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Chad Green in E1; defeated by Robert Hight in E2)

2023 Statistics:

15 races; two wins, one runner-up finish

Career Statistics:

585 races; 24 wins; 20 No. 1 qualifiers


  • Wilkerson returns to the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals as the Funny Car event runner-up after having advanced to the final round in 2022

  • Making his 15th Countdown appearance, the driver/tuner begins the playoffs from the No. 8 seed. Wilkerson’s best prior Countdown finish was a second-place effort in 2008

  • So far in 2023, Wilkerson has two national event wins in three final round appearances


“I’m really looking forward to going to Reading this year. We have had a good track record there ever since they switched the Countdown schedule around to have us start the six-race playoffs up in Pennsylvania. Our whole SCAG Maynard Wilkerson Racing team is excited about our chances this year and of course, like any other team fighting for a championship, we’d like nothing more than to start it off in winning fashion. We came really close there last year with the runner-up finish. Now, we just need a win to add to our other two race wins from this season.”

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