Words Brad Littlefield

The successful national event debut of Justin Ashley in Top Alcohol Dragster could figuratively be described as being shot out of a cannon.

That's what the 22-year-old driver must have felt like in a physical sense with how hard the Epic Motorsports Marketing/Randy Meyer Racing A/Fuel dragster planted him in the seat during a barrage of 5.1-second, 280-mph performances.

Ashley, son of former Funny Car and Pro Mod competitor Mike, added the New York-based family to the list of NHRA family winners in a dominant performance. He ran a 5.150, now the sixth-quickest run in class history, right off the trailer and followed that up with a 5.143, the fourth-quickest run ever. He and teammate Megan Meyer, who won the East Region opener the previous weekend, qualified Nos. 1 and 2 with Meyer running a 5.153 which equaled the ninth-quickest run ever.

“It’s a big help,” Ashley said of his teammate. “It’s very easy to relate because of the similarities – we’re around the same age, both our fathers raced for a long time, things like that. To be able to lean on someone for guidance and understanding how to drive better is huge. She has been tremendously helpful to me.”

Ashley was also aided by the flawless preparation of the entry by the Randy Meyer Racing team and the mental pointers by his father.

“It makes my job that much easier as a driver,” said Ashley. “I used the same approach in the first qualifying round as I did in the final. I tried to do everything right mechanically, cut the best light I could, and keep it straight. Randy Meyer did everything he possibly could to make my job easy.”

Ashley stayed mired in the 5.1s throughout eliminations until he took on defending event champion and class veteran Rich McPhillips in the final. The injected nitro burners traded the lead a couple times until Ashley’s horsepower won out to grant the impressive rookie his first victory 5.232 to 5.258 decision.

“The race was back and forth, and I had...
Gainesville - The 48th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals weren't too kind to Duane Shields and the PEAK A/Fuel Dragster team. Unfortunately, they suffered a close first round loss to end a three race stanza which included a regional event in Phoenix, Arizona and a pair of races in Gainesville, Florida.

Even with the loss, Duane was still on his game qualifying in the top half of another tough field as the seventh seed with an impressive 5.27 at 279 MPH. “The conditions were so good in Gainesville that it could make anyone into an instant hero. Everyone in the class stepped up so we gave the car a more aggressive tune up. But that increases the risk of losing traction” Duane said.

In round one, Duane took on reining East Coast Regional Champ, Rich McPhillips, who qualified tenth with a 5.31 at 266 MPH. As the dragsters left the line, McPhillips got the starting line advantage but then got slightly out of the grove allowing Duane to nearly close the gap but McPhillips crossed the finish line before Duane was able to pass him. McPhillips rang up another 5.31 at 270 MPH over Duane’s 5.39 at 278 MPH. “It shook early into the run so I had to pedal. The 5.39 is the slowest we have run since the beginning of the season in Pomona. But this is a race where consistency could have won. I’m disappointed but I have to say that I’m really proud of my team. They have really worked hard over the last three weeks and have done a great job” Duane said.

The PEAK team now takes a short break before returning to action April 21-23 in Richmond VA for a Lucas Oil Regional event. “This break comes at the right time so we can regroup and do some testing before the next race in Richmond. We need to step it up in order to stay with the top cars in the class” he said. As always, Duane would like to thank his sponsors PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil, Final Charge, Blue Def, NGK, GRP and Brad Anderson Enterprises.
Florida’s Burnyzz Speed Shop has agreed to partner with the NHRA’s premier Top Alcohol Dragster team, Randy Meyer Racing, for the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals this weekend. The Gatornationals will be held at Gainesville Raceway, just one hour North of Ocala where Burnyzz is located.

Burnyzz was founded in 2009 and has grown into a dealership of classic cars. The speed shop offers services such as paint, vintage installations, motor swaps, interior restorations, and dyno tuning. Burnyzz also encourages consignments and storage of American classic cars. Josh Hart, who also competes in the Top Alcohol Dragster class, is the owner of Burnyzz and sees great potential of the new partnership in the TAD class.

The Randy Meyer Racing Team visited Burnyzz after winning their first regional race of the year at Gainesville Raceway. Megan Meyer, who finished fourth in the nation last year, competed in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event and qualified in the second position. Her teammate, Justin Ashley, claimed the number one position, but had a failure with the fuel pump and was unable to compete in first round. Megan took down Jackie Fricke in the opening round with a 5.25 E.T. at 276 mph, followed by a 5.29 E.T. at 274 mph to defeat Mia Tedesco in the semi-finals. In the final round of eliminations, Megan had the starting line advantage and never looked back as she defeated Rich Bourke with a 5.24 E.T. at 276 to Bourke’s 5.38 E.T. at 251 mph. This is Megan’s first Lucas Oil Regional event win, and the Randy Meyer Racing Team’s 40th NHRA win.

“Josh Hart is a great competitor,” said Megan. “His performance on the track grows each race and it makes for great racing. We built a friendship at the races after I won the 4-Wide Nationals last year against Josh in the finals. We look forward to building the Burnyzz brand with Josh’s Fearless Racing Team. There is a lot to come...