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JCM Racing Pre-Race Report: Sonoma

NHRA Sonoma Nationals

Event 12 of 21

Sonoma Raceway

Sonoma, Calif.

July 28-30, 2023


Top Fuel:


JUSTIN ASHLEY

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


2022 NHRA Sonoma Nationals Event Recap:

Qualified sixth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Alex Laughlin in E1; defeated by Mike Salinas in E2)


Last Event (Seattle):

Qualified third; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Tony Schumacher in E1; defeated by Clay Millican in E2)


2023 Statistics:

11 races; four wins, one runner-up, one No. 1 qualifier


Career Statistics:

66 races; nine wins, three No. 1 qualifiers


Fan Events:

  • Wednesday, July 26, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m., Russian River Brewing Co. NHRA Night (700 Mitchell Lane, Windsor, Calif.) – driver autograph session featuring Antron Brown, Justin Ashley, and Ron Capps; Each driver’s car will be on display

  • Saturday, July 29, 10:30 – 11:00 a.m., Team Toyota autograph session at Toyota midway display

Noteworthy:

Prior to the race, Ashley will be donating his time and racing skills to the Speedway Children’s Charity NHRA Charity Karting Tournament event on Thursday afternoon. Later that evening, he will attend the 15th annual Eric Medlen Nitro Night dinner. Guests will enjoy a casual barbeque dinner, live auction, raffle, and gather to celebrate the life of the late Eric Medlen.


Quotable:

“The first two races of the swing are in the past and we are focused on how we can continue to get better in the present moment. We have great data from Seattle that we hope to apply this weekend in Sonoma. The track will be fast and we get four qualifying sessions which is ideal for our Phillips Connect Toyota team powered by Okuma.


“Sonoma is a race that we're really looking forward to because of the record-setting conditions that are often available during the Friday night session. We’ll have Phillips Connect representatives in attendance and would love nothing more than to join the Phillips Connect 300 at the 1/8 club. A lot of teams, ourselves included, want to be the first to do so.


“Thursday will be a very special day because I will spend time go-karting with fans and attending the Eric Medlen Nitro Night dinner to help raise money for Speedway Children’s Charity of Sonoma. Dustin Davis, Phillips Connect and our marketing team were instrumental in reviving this event last year and it has really taken off again. I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Eric Medlen but the impact he made on the lives of so many within the NHRA community has been invaluable. I am grateful for the opportunity to join others as we celebrate his life.”

TONY SCHUMACHER

Driver of the SCAG Power Equipment Top Fuel Dragster


NHRA Sonoma Nationals Event Highlights:

  • Two-time event champion (2007, 2008)

  • Five-time runner-up (1999, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2018)

  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier (2006, 2011)

2022 NHRA Sonoma Nationals Event Recap:

Qualified 13th; First round exit (defeated by Steve Torrence in E1)


Last Event (Seattle):

Qualified 12th; First round exit (defeated by Justin Ashley in E1)


2023 Statistics:

11 races; one runner-up finish


Career Statistics:

545 races; 86 wins, 88 No. 1 qualifiers


Quotable:

“Sonoma is a great track, and I’m super excited to be back there once again, it’s one of my favorites. The crowd is so huge, and the track does such a good job getting people in and packing the place. More importantly, we feel that we are going in there with a great race car. We had a tough match in Seattle, might have beat some of the other cars, but Sonoma we are going to take everything that we learned in Seattle and come right off the trailer ready to kick some butt.”

Funny Car:


TIM WILKERSON

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


NHRA Sonoma Nationals Event Highlights:

  • Two-time event champion: 2004, 2009

  • Two-time runner-up: 2011, 2017

2022 NHRA Sonoma Nationals Event Recap:

Qualified seventh; First round exit (defeated by J.R. Todd in E1)


Last Event (Seattle):

Qualified sixth; Event champion (defeated Matt Hagan in E1, Ron Capps in E2, Blake Alexander in E3, J.R. Todd in E4)


2023 Statistics:

11 races; two wins, one runner-up finish


Career Statistics:

581 races; 24 wins; 20 No. 1 qualifiers


Noteworthy:

  • Looking to make it two-in-a-row by picking up his second consecutive race win after having powered to victory last weekend at the NHRA Northwest Nationals

  • Will participate in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Funny Car Challenge on Saturday where he will compete for a $10,000 purse and three championship bonus points

Fan Events:

Saturday, July 29, 10:00 – 10:30 a.m., Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge driver autograph session at Mission Foods midway display


Quotable:

“We changed a lot of things going into Seattle and are happy with the results so far. I’ve got to thank my guys for sticking with me as we worked through the kinks; they’re doing a great job and I’m so proud of them. Winning Seattle was a great thing, and hopefully we can carry that momentum into our race in Sonoma this weekend and who knows, maybe we can go back-to-back with wins. I’d love nothing more than to do that for my guys, our supporters at SCAG and LRS, and the Maynards.


“Our car got better and better throughout the weekend last weekend, and the conditions in Sonoma always give us the opportunity to put up big numbers, especially during that Friday night run, so we’re going to go in there and try and run a top three E.T. each session, and hopefully that will set us up for a nice, long day on Sunday.”


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