Justin Ashley’s plan for his second season in the Top Fuel ranks calls for 12 races, with the possibility of two more.
“We’ll start at Pomona, then we’ll go to Phoenix and Gainesville to kind of try and get ourselves into a rhythm by doing the first three races of the year. We would love to do all 24 and compete for a championship just like all the teams out here, but it’s going to take some time and we’re going to continue to work together on the business side of things and as a group and we’ll get to that point. But right now 12 to 14 races is where we’re going to be at for this year,” the 24-year-old New Yorker said.
And that’s a mind set that distinguishes Justin Ashley from the pack. His passion is tempered with a strong sense of business.
Moreover, he seems to be finding companies that are genuine marketing partners, good fits for his brand.
“Yes, that’s a big deal,” Ashley said. “I kind of look at sponsorship a little differently. I don’t look at it so much a sponsorship like, ‘Here’s a check, put my name on the side of the car, go run your program.’ I don’t look at it that way. I look at it more of like a marketing partnership. When we bring companies on board, our top priority is to make sure that they get their return on investment. So we always want to provide more value to them than they provide for us. Now, that’s easier said than done. But we work hand-in-hand with the companies that we’re involved with to try and make sure that they’re getting so much significant return that they’re thrilled from the dollars-and-cents side of things but they’re also thrilled from the emotional investment of it and being a part of the team.”
He’s a natural at it, this second-generation driver whose father, Mike, excelled both on the track and off when it came to wooing sponsors.
“That I can say I got from my dad. He’s been a tremendous help throughout this whole process, because when I first started this process just like anyone else, I’m trying to learn how this whole thing works. So he’s been a tremendous resource for me to be able to lean on and give me a lot of business and guidance and advice,” Ashley said.
“The big thing for me is we want to be out here. We want to be racing. That’s the end goal, and then we work backwards from there,” he said. “And we know that getting companies involved is something that we have to do. So I try and absorb and take in as much information to make that as much a possibility as I can.”
So far he has Strutmasters.com, Biocide Systems’ Auto Shocker, KATO Fastening Systems, Lucas Oil, Justice Brothers and newest partner King Engine Bearings.
To read the rest of this great article from Competition Plus written by Susan Wade click here