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JCM Racing Pre-Race Report: Topeka

Menards NHRA Nationals

Presented by PetArmor

Event 13 of 21

Heartland Motorsports Park

Topeka, Kan.

Aug. 11-13, 2023


  • Mike Lewis, Vice President of JCM Racing, will compete in the Top Alcohol Dragster category during the Menards NHRA Nationals, 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 one-time No. 1 qualifier in the TAD category. He last competed during the NHRA Regional event at Maple Grove Raceway in May, where he qualified third and advanced to the semifinals

Top Fuel:


Driver of the Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel Dragster

2022 Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor Event Recap:

Qualified second; Semifinal finish (defeated Buddy Hull in E1, Leah Pruett in E2; defeated by Antron Brown in E3)

Last Event (Sonoma):

Qualified seventh; Event champion (defeated Doug Kalitta in E1, Austin Prock in E2, Josh Hart in E3, Antron Brown in E4)

2023 Statistics:

12 races; five wins; one runner-up finish, one No. 1 qualifier

Career Statistics:

67 races; 10 wins, three No. 1 qualifiers


  • With five wins in six final-round appearances this season, Top Fuel points leader Justin Ashley and the Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel team are looking to keep the pressure on the rest of the field as the regular season draws to an end

  • With three races remaining before the points are reset, Ashley, who already has 15 championship points in the bank, is looking to extend his lead with another Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge win this weekend

  • Ashley enters the weekend as the most recent Top Fuel winner on tour after having powered to victory at the Sonoma Nationals last month

Fan Events:

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


“We had a very productive Western Swing. The highlight was winning Sonoma. But we were able to take something valuable from each race that we can apply moving forward. Finding success at such a critical part of the regular season was important for our Phillips Connect Toyota team.

“I love everything about the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge and I think it is one of the best competitions the NHRA has put together in recent memory. You have a different mindset on Saturday when you are in the Mission Challenge versus just making two qualifying runs. We try and take advantage of every qualifying run and stay within our routine, but there is more to it with championship points and extra money on the line. Our rematch against Josh (Hart) should be great for the fans on Saturday.

“There is a lot of history at Heartland Park Topeka and we would like nothing more than to take that final Wally back to our shop. Jim Epler, Executive VP of Phillips Connect, made the first 300 mph pass here in Funny Car so our team has plenty of motivation. We have run well here in the past and look forward to an exciting weekend.”


Driver of the SCAG Power Equipment Top Fuel Dragster

Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor Event Highlights:

  • 2010 winner

  • 2013 runner-up

  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier (2011, 2017)

2022 Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor Event Recap:

Qualified 12th; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Doug Kalitta in E1; defeated by Steve Torrence in E2)

Last Event (Sonoma):

Qualified 11th; First round exit (defeated by Josh Hart in E1)

2023 Statistics:

12 races; one runner-up finish

Career Statistics:

546 races; 86 wins, 88 No. 1 qualifiers


  • Owns the Heartland Motorsports Park track record with his 3.660 E.T., recorded during the 2017 event


“Even though we can all get into the Countdown, no one wants to get in by default. We want to get in by earning our spot in the top 10, and we have three races left to do that. We’re way, way too good of a team to be sitting in the spot that we’re sitting in. We need to step it up and make moves right now. After Sonoma, we showed some signs of life in the power level and the clutch; everything is working so let’s put all that together, bring it to Topeka, and start earning our way back into the top 10.”

Funny Car:


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

Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor Event Highlights:

  • Two-time runner-up: 2002, 2008

2022 Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor Event Recap:

Qualified sixth; First round exit (defeated by Ron Capps in E1)

Last Event (Sonoma):

Qualified fourth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Alex Laughlin in E1; defeated by Matt Hagan in E2)

2023 Statistics:

12 races; two wins, one runner-up finish

Career Statistics:

582 races; 24 wins, 20 No. 1 qualifiers


  • Captured his first national event win in 1994 while competing in the Top Alcohol Funny Car category at Heartland Motorsports Park


“I’m really looking forward to going to Topeka. I actually got my first national event win there in my (Top) Alcohol Funny Car, so it’s always a special place for me. Looking at the forecast, the weather is going to be hot and nasty it appears, and that’s right up our alley. We have a good hot-weather tune-up so this weekend’s conditions should work in our favor. Hopefully, we can bring home another victory for the SCAG/LRS Ford Mustang, and I can get a Funny Car trophy there to go with my Topeka Alcohol (Funny Car) trophy.”


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