Ashwell Team Has a Respectable Weekend on the National Stage in Seattle
NHRA O’Reilly Auto Parts Northwest Nationals
August 1-3, 2014
We were cautiously optimistic pulling into the gates at Pacific Raceways for the annual NHRA O’Reilly Auto Parts Northwest Nationals. At our last event, the Woodburn Regional, we didn’t do so well to put it mildly. We had a few ignition issues amongst other things and were hoping all of that was behind driver Jeff Ashwell and team at our biggest race of the season.
On Friday’s Q1, we were in the lanes ready to go when an unexpected rain shower visited the top end and the Top Alcohol session was bumped to a later time to allow the Pro’s to start their first qualifying attempt on time. On Jeff’s first qualifying pass, those same ignition gremlins came out and we broke the blower belt at the hit off the line. With only 12 cars on the premise we knew we would qualify, but first had to get from A to B to get an elapsed time or risk a DNQ. The crew took the dragster back into the pits, tweaked a few things and went out and clocked a 5.563 at 255.53mph in Q2 to put Jeff in the 8th spot of the normally 16 car field.
On Saturday we were greeted once again with high temps and humidity as we geared up for Q3 later in the afternoon. We were trying to improve on our Q2 numbers and also dip into the .40’s for the first time. Jeff’s previous best was run at this event last year, a 5.502. All the early incrementals looked promising but only slightly improved to a 5.540 at 256.70 to remain qualified 8th .
With this being a short field we were unsure who’d we face off in E1 but soon learned it would be the number 5 qualifier, perennial powerhouse Shawn Cowie, who just happens to be the former owner of our dragster. With the afternoon sun going down, we were 2nd pair out in what was regarded a relatively strange E1 with only 3 of the 12 cars making it down the track on clean runs.
We, unfortunately, were one of the 9 who didn’t and ran a tire smoking 6.651 at 176.77, definitely disappointing to say the least. On a positive note we didn’t hurt anything (besides the blower belt) and we’re learning new things with every pass we make down the 1⁄4 mile. We had a few pointers from some of the other teams and we really appreciated their input.
We also had a new sponsor on the side of the dragster this weekend, TRANSPAC Marinas. TRANSPAC MARINAS partners with clients to design and manufacture custom floating docks and wave attenuation systems. TRANSPAC float systems lead the industry by combining traditional nautical materials with extraordinarily rugged construction. Each float system is designed specifically for the project requirements, building on our experience of designing and manufacturing float systems for some of the most extreme site conditions anywhere.
The company has focused its resources on projects requiring exceptional performance in difficult wind and wave conditions (3’ – 9’ wave heights), improved stability, unique loading and a strong aesthetic appeal. A big thank you also goes out to longtime sponsors Marsha and Dave Walery of Walery’s Pizza. Our next race will be back at Pacific Raceways for the Lucas Oil Divisional August 16-17th .
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