JOLIET, Ill. (May 20, 2023) --- During the final day of qualifying for the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals, the newly-announced Maynard Ashley Racing Justin Ashley and the Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel dragster team took another win in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge, outrunning Antron Brown and Austin Prock in rematch races with his Winternationals foes. For his efforts, Ashley collected another $10,000 payday and equally as important as the cash was an additional three Camping World championship points.
“It's very exciting. Winning these specialty events means a lot to our team,” said Ashley, who became the first two-time Mission Foods Challenge winner. “I am so grateful to Mission Foods and how they’re committed to NHRA drag racing. Anytime there is an additional opportunity to race and collect bonus points along the way, I think it's significant. This was a great day.”
Ashley will head into race day as the No. 4 qualifier and a first round race with Jacob McNeal. For Ashley and the Phillips Connect Toyota team making two quality runs set them up hopefully for another successful race day. The last time Ashley took the Mission Foods Challenge win, the 2020 NHRA Rookie of the Year won his second consecutive Winternationals the next day.
“We did a good job of running well and setting the tone for ourselves going into tomorrow,” said Ashley, a seven-time Top Fuel national event winner. “Tomorrow's a new day, but today and everyday I am proud to be able to represent our Phillips Connect Toyota racing team. In round one you always get those butterflies and I had them in Q2 today. It helps from a driver's perspective to experience that before Sunday.”
The win was a perfect conclusion to a big news day for Ashley and his team. Between rounds Ashley announced the creation of Maynard Ashley Racing, a new union between his racing operation and JCM Racing.
“I feel very blessed to be in the position that we're in now, to be able to announce today the formation of our new partnership, Maynard Ashley Racing,” said Ashley. “We are so appreciative of the Maynard family, Jim Epler “Mr. 300” and Dustin Davis. This new team shows growth, it shows strength, it shows stability, and we want to be out here doing this for a very long time because this is what we love to do and it's a business on and off the racetrack and that's where our focus is.”