TOP FUEL WAS THE ULTIMATE GOAL FOR TAD STANDOUT JUSTIN ASHLEY
by Bobby Bennett Thu, 2019-10-10 18:33
Justin Ashley learned a long time ago about the value of versatility.
For the 24-year old real estate developer, he's learned to be aggressive in two different worlds, and this weekend, he's about to step on the big stage of one of them.
Ashley makes his Top Fuel debut this weekend behind the wheel of Dustin Davis' new dragster at this weekend's NHRA Carolina Nationals, hosted by zMax Dragway in Concord, NC.
Outside of the drag strip, Ashley has built a solid reputation on New York's Long Island as a fix and flip specialist, turning distressed properties into works of art.
Two diametrically opposite worlds equal one common goal for the second-generation drag racer - to be the best.
"Drag racing can be a distraction, but you spend all week at work, fully invested in the project at hand," Ashley said. "Then, when it comes time to race, the racing allows me to put work on hold. When I am at the race track, I can clear my head and focus solely on racing. It's what I love to do. It gives me a mental and physical break from what I do here daily."
Ashley started young when it came to specializing in diametrically opposite worlds. He was a two-sport starter in high school, playing both baseball and football. Ashley attended Ithaca College, where he played football and graduated in 2016 with a degree in business administration.
"I left school and immediately put my degree to use, the day after graduation," Ashley revealed. "I was extremely motivated to make a name for myself."
His fourth year in, Ashley fixes and flips 25 properties annually, five times more than his first year.
In drag racing, Ashley worked his way from racing Junior Dragster before transitioning from go-cart style engines to a 1500-horsepower sportsman dragster. He then graduated to Top Alcohol Dragster, where he qualified No. 1 in his first outing and then won an NHRA national event in his second.
Ashley's goal was always to race Top Fuel, the 10,000-horsepower dragsters considered to be the kings of the sport. He began the licensing process in 2017, securing his licensing behind the wheel of the same dragster piloted by past NHRA champion Antron Brown.
Ashley was named the driver of the Davis Motorsports dragster earlier this season before having ever competed as a Top Fuel driver. He completed test sessions in Norwalk, Ohio, and Indianapolis, where he made scheduled shut-off passes recording runs progressively quick enough to qualify in several NHRA national events.
The dragster Ashley's racing this weekend is adorned with every social media icon imagined, and aptly named "The Influencer."
"When we made plans to market our program here with Dustin Davis Motorsports, we wanted to think totally outside of the box," Ashley explained. "The way this world operates, the social media world is huge, whether it's Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, so we felt it would be best to capture this platform. We launched this car intending to take advantage of this huge reach."
And if there's one thing his generation, Ashley believes it's the ability to monetize social media.
"I definitely know social media is strong," Ashley said. "It's just like anything in this world; it has its strengths and weaknesses ... making it both a blessing and a curse. I think when you're doing business, it's really good. It allows you to reach a lot of people in new and creative ways."
And for a young businessman, who has found a way to merge fixing and flipping, with Top Fuel drag racing, versatility is the key.