June 19, 2012
School is now out for the approaching summer, which for us means a lot
more races coming up. So far this season, we've had 3 test sessions and 2
races. In fact, today, Father's Day, we plan on heading out to Woodburn
Dragstrip to try and get in as many laps as we can to test some things.
Living in the Northwest, our biggest Devil's Advocate will always be
the weather. Both of our earlier planned 2-day test sessions ended
prematurely due to rain, as did our Season Opener at Woodburn. The runs
that we have made, though, have been very promising to us. We still have
our late crew chief Norm Christensen's tune-up in our car and a set-up
that he was working on last year before his untimely death.
So far we have made some of our quickest early numbers but now it's all
about getting the clutch right to eliminate the nasty tire shake that
has plagued us as well. At the Season Opener in Woodburn, we ran a
smooth 5.83 @ 241 mph out of the box, but then up in Mission, Canada for
the Lucas Oil regional, we couldn't get past 60 feet without feeling
like my insides were going to shake out. Our hope is that if we can get
that all sorted out that we can go into these next few races being
We have some tough competition in our division and we figure at the
upcoming Lucas Oil regional race in Woodburn that there will be a lot of
good cars there. Last year, there were 13 cars that showed and we were
fortunate enough to be one of the quickest 8 to qualify. This year I
imagine it will be just as tough, if not even more so. We have had a lot
of great success at that event in the last few years. We've ran our
quickest and fastest pass to date at this event, we've qualified 2nd and
reached our first ever final round there in 2010, and in 2011 we
qualified into a very tough field. This year's event will mark a major
milestone for me as I turn the big 4-0 and there's no place I would
rather celebrate being "over the hill" than in the winner's circle,
holding a Wally.
February 27, 2012
Emmy's are over as well as the Super Bowl, Grammy's, Oscar's, 2 NHRA national events and numerous Lucas Oil divisionals, but we still have roughly 8-10 weeks before we even start to see the 1/4 mile. The team has been steadily getting the car back together piece by piece and once the weather starts to get better up here in Oregon we should start testing by late April. We are fairly fortunate to have all but one team member live within 2 miles of the shop so if something needs to be done quickly there is always a helping hand nearby. We are also blessed to have had the same guys on the crew for many, many years now as well. Jeff and Todd Ashwell are brothers with Greg Ashwell being their father, Isaac Bese and Scottie McDonald have known the Ashwell's for well over 15 years and Ray Graham is the Ashwell's longtime next door neighbor. They all work very well with each other and we have a lot of fun when out here racing. I must say there is never a dull moment with these guys. We make the most of what we have funding and parts wise but also how we entertain ourselves during those dreaded rain delays, lol, and that's how it should be I feel. Why come out and race if you're not having fun and a good time? Last year was a little stressful with the car not responding how we wanted it to and with Norm being sick but we still found the time to sit back, relax, laugh, and enjoy the time we got to spend with our racing friends and family. On a different note we've been asked to do a live call in radio show with San Diego Motorsports KCBQ 1170am next Sunday, March 4th, at 9pm. Not 100% sure of the format or what kind of topics they will ask but any chance that we can get to spread the word about the fun family atmosphere of Top Alcohol racing and about our race team, we'll take it. That's it for now and don't forget to tune in next Sunday at 9pm. See you at the races.
January 3, 2012
What a year 2011 was, a year of firsts for us and driver Jeff Ashwell. First national event round win and also travelling to much farther races such as Las Vegas and Pomona. We thought it was pretty cool when we first started going to all the Lucas divisional races but now we were going to race against teams that usually don't travel to the Northwest. It was a long 3 weeks on the road but so worth it.
As you may have noticed not one blog was written in 2011 and for that I apologize and I can promise that will not be the case in 2012. As of right now the car is loaded up all set to go to this Saturday's Winter Rod and Car Show down in Albany, Oregon. I believe this will be the 3rd year now that we have participated in this charity event on behalf of our loyal Napa sponsor as well as Rich Bailey who always puts on great benefit car shows. After the car show then it will be time to tear everything down to the bare frame to refresh, regroup, and gear up for the upcoming race season. Good times.
November 26, 2010
I have spent the good portion of today kind of sprucing up our website. It has basically been the same design since 2007 when we started this website. It will be awhile before it is up to my satisfaction but it's a start. So bear with me while these updates are happening and I will for sure be finish before the new year. Everyone have a great, safe Holiday season.
August 6, 2010
I’m a few days behind in getting all of the Spokane stuff out because that weekend kicked my butt. I don’t recall ever in the 5 years I’ve been with the team that we have raced strictly at night. Having Q1 start around 7:30 or however late it was it was a new experience for sure. At one point I think we raced closer to 9pm. I’m used to going to the track at 8am racing at maybe noon and 3pm and calling it a day by 5pm. But I’ll tell you, seeing those nitro nostalgia funny cars and the jets race at night was pretty darn cool. Overall it wasn’t a bad weekend but it was one of those that you wish you could just put it behind you and not have to think about it again.
I’d had never been to Spokane County Raceway and I was actually quite impressed with the place. The restrooms were very clean and upgraded and the grandstands were very close to the track. There really wasn’t a “bad seat in the house.” so to speak. And speaking of the grandstands they were packed for Saturday’s qualifying. Probably the most people we have ever raced in front of at a divisional event, or ever for that fact. I think the track announcer even said it was the best weekend attendance for Spokane County in a long time, too bad for the crowd that only 5 TAFC’s and 4 TAD’s made the trip there. But I have nothing bad to say about the facility, except that I wish it wasn’t so far from Keizer, Ore because I wouldn’t mind racing there a few times a year
One thing that did happen was a wicked severe thunderstorm that came rolling in early Saturday morning. The guys had stayed up talking until probably 2am give or take and this monster of a storm bestowed upon us around 4am. I believe I saw lightening first and the thunder but didn’t think much of it because there was a possibility of thunderstorms that night. Then the wind started blowing, and then the wind really started blowing. I grabbed my phone to look up the Weather Channel that I have programmed into it and it said that Spokane was under a severe thunderstorm warning with damaging winds approaching. Uh, yeah, no kidding. Trash cans were being blown over with empty beer cans whizzing by you at 60 mph. Our big awning was creaking and moaning from the ferocious winds. And I thought for sure that if I got out of our tent that it would fly off into the night and bounce around like big tumbleweed. About 2 hours later the storm passed but it was most definitely the talk of the pits for awhile
Our next race is the Lucas Oil D6 race in Seattle. We didn’t run quite as well as we would’ve liked in Spokane so we’re out for redemption August 20-21st. We’re currently 3rd in Divisional points but Clint Thompson is still within reaching distance. Brian Hough probably has a lock on the championship but we can still finish as high as 2nd place. We have the heart, we have the determination, we have the confidence in ourselves, there is nothing stopping us. We’re going for it.
July 15, 2010
The NHRA season is over half done and now so is Ashwell Racing's season. It's hard to believe that we only have 4 races left. At least Spokane was added or else we wouldn't be going out again until mid August. Seattle wasn't too bad. We left in one piece and no fires to be had. Well, maybe the barbeque with my lack of culinary skills but that's a whole different story. A local newspaper, The Maple Valey Reporter, ran a nice article about Jeff and Todd and their not so good luck at Pacific Raceways. Thank you Kris Hill for writing a great story. We also got to experience HOT temperatures. It was so hot Friday that we actually opted out of Q2 because we felt we couldn't improve on our qualifying position. The track temp was 136 degrees at the time but there were numerous cars who did improve but at least we stayed cool! Thankfully it did cool off enough throughout the weekend to make it bearable. We rented a golf cart for the weekend and it was a blessing. Quick trips to the bathroom or the playground for the kids or just even taking a spin to cool off. It was worth it. Trying to keep 4 young kids entertained and cool is hard work! But we survived. All we needed was an endless supply of Capri Sun, Tom and Jerry, and patience.
Myself, Todd, Isaac, and Scotty were going to stay at the track Saturday night and then leave bright and early Sunday morning but then Todd decided to drive home Saturday night. We left around 10:30 and got home around 2:45ish. I tried to stay awake to keep Todd awake but failed miserably. I barely made it until we dropped Scotty off in Kalama, WA but it was all over after that. I was done. Spokane is the next race and it will be a night one. Jeff said he hasn't driven at night for awhile so it will be a change for him. Qualifying is scheduled for 8:30pm but it is actually still light out at that time so I don't know if I would call it night racing. Anyhow, that's it for now.
R.I.P Mark Niver...
July 4th, 2010
Happy fourth of July race fans! Don't have much planned here except to go over to the race shop to finalize getting ready for next weekend's NHRA Northwest Nationals. Typically Seattle isn't a race we do particually good at but with only 13 cars currently entered maybe our luck will turn around up there. Fist and foremost, I know I am terribly late getting the race results posted and I have no excuses. My apologies. But if I were to give an excuse it would be because I was exhausted. Sometimes it takes a few days to decompress after a race weekend and this was no different. It was a hot weekend and we made quite a few trips back and forth between Woodburn and Keizer throughout the weekend. I stayed up late and got up early one day to get pictures of Woodburn at dusk and dawn:
So THAT sure didn't help. The top picture was taken about 9:45pm and the bottom picture was taken around 4:30am. So like I said earlier, I have no excuses. For the upcoming week I know a local newspaper, The Maple Valley Reporter, will be running an article about Jeff and Todd prior to the Northwest Nationals but not sure exactly when it will be published but I'm definitely looking forward to reading it. The only other events going on this week is my 5th wedding anniversary to Isaac and Jeff's 10th annual anniversary of his 28th birthday. Hopefully the gift to us will be a top half qualifying effort and a round win Saturday afternoon.
June 17, 2010
Wow what a difference 2 weeks and 2 different Countries make in terms of race weekends. We were freezing our tail ends off in Mission, Canada huddled in the trailer by the heater trying to stay warm. At the Fire and Thunder in Oregon last weekend it was starting to get downright hot with temps in the mid 80’s with the A/C cranked in the tow rig. But I think I can vouch for everybody that they would take sunny 80 degree weather, which you can race in, over 50 degree rainy weather, which you can not.
The crowds this weekend weren’t as great in year’s past and maybe that was because of a lot of graduation parties or more likely because of the annual Portland Rose Festival. I’ve only been in Oregon a short while but I have noticed that the state likes to celebrate flowers. Woodburn has the Tulip Festival, Keizer has the Iris Festival, and Portland has the Rose Festival. The Rose Festival is by far the biggest of the three festivals and who knows maybe there are more flower festivals in the state of Oregon. This weekend is Father’s Day and I want to give an early “Happy Father’s Day” to the dad’s on our team, Greg, Jeff, and Isaac, and then next weekend is the 2nd Lucas Oil race for us in Woodburn. Woodburn is our home track and we feel pretty comfortable there. Last year we had a superb outing by qualifying number 1, if only for 10 minutes before being bumped to 3rd, and ran career best numbers. I’m sure we stunned a few other teams at that race with our performance as well. So far nothing has compared to last year’s Woodburn Lucas Oil race for us so here’s hoping to even better memories next weekend. Haven’t checked the weather for it yet and even if I did it could be radically different in 8 days. As long as it doesn’t rain I don’t really care what the temps are. It rained at last year’s race on Sunday that postponed the finals until the Seattle National Event the next weekend. So here’s to no rain and another surprising record performance. And, maybe even our first win light. Stay tuned…
May 31, 2010
Happy Memorial Weekend. It feels good to be home that's for sure. It was a pretty long 4 days filled with rain and plenty of down time. I know I was really looking forward to going to Canada and going to a race track that I had never been to but we did more reading and watching TV then we did racing. Friday wasn't as bad as we got our one qualifying pass in but with the car shutting off on the line there wasn't much work to be done on the car for the next day's action. We went to bed that night in the rain and woke up to rain as well and it didn't stop until early Sunday morning. For Saturday the guys Norm, Greg, Jeff, and Scotty (who were staying in a hotel) got to the track around 8am or so. We were all just kind of hanging around trying to stay warm best we can.
I think Greg had said this heater hadn't been on for a long time. I've been with the team since 2006 and the heater hadn't been on since at least then. It was quite humorous to listen to the guys bench race and tell stories with their arms raised like this. I had asked Greg after awhile if we could go into town so I could get some magazines to read. So afterward we had 3 or 4 good gossip magazines that provided me something to read and plenty of pictures to keep the others entertained. Around 1pm the Yukon took off to go back to the hotel that left just myself, Isaac, our son Ryan, and Todd to fend for ourselves. Isaac and Ryan watched the movie Cars and Todd took lot's of naps while I ran the track a few times. Not much else to do. If it weren't for Jeff letting us borrow his portable DVD player we would've been really up creek. Isaac, myself, and Ryan were able to watch many episodes of one of our favorite shows, Mythbusters, all evening. I also spent a lot of time on my phone checking NBA scores, NHRA.com, and Accuweather to keep occupied. I believe I may have been roaming so I may cringe and nervously opening my Sprint bill when it comes in the mail.
Before all this it was interesting crossing the border into Canada. We were unsure if we need to go where the autos went or the commercial vehicle side. We chose the Commercial side which was the wrong choice. Todd, Isaac, Ryan, Scotty, and myself all had to get out of the race rig and answer all these questions about where we're going and what we're doing and whatnot to the border agent. Oh well, live and learn.
Even though it was very cold and rainy and there were quite a few delays non weather related throughout the event I can't complain about anything. I got to go to Canada and attend a race that I had never been to and hang out with people that my husband, son, and I call family. We might entertain going back next year if we are guaranteed sunny skies and warm temps but until then you can catch Ashwell Racing June 12-13 at Woodburn Dragstrip's Fire and Thunder.
May 24, 2010
I'm new to the Keizer (Oregon) Iris Festival so I will just write what I know. I know that they had a food pavilion at the Keizer Station Shopping Center and other booths, kind of like a fair set up. They had a 5k race on Saturday, that yours truly competed in, and also the parade was on Saturday as well. They had over 150 entries in the Iris Parade that lined up down River Road. It was kind of neat seeing the funny car up there on a flat bed (and hopefully the only time I see the car on a flatbed). Luckily the weather held up just long enough to complete the entire parade before a deluge of rain hit. Also on the agenda is the Lucas Oil Opener for the alcohol cars in Division 6. Qualifying is scheduled for Friday and Saturday with eliminations on Sunday. I've heard there are 8 cars entered but that can always change at the last minute so we'll see. Not much else is going on right now. I believe we will load the car later this week and then myself, Isaac, and Todd will leave Thursday morning with Greg, Norm, and Jeff heading up early Friday. With 4 days of camping out at the track I'm sure I will have plenty of stuff to write about when we get back into town so until then...peace out.
May 20, 2010
The Season Opener is the books now and we look on to Mission and the Lucas Oil Division 6 event. This will be our first time there and I'm really excited to get back to the track and race. Our races at Woodburn are not competition races per se, so I'm looking forward to actually competing for points and all. The weather forecast didn't look great but it is still over a week away. Anything can happen in terms of the weather in the Northwest in a week. Weather Channel had rain Accuweather had sun. Go figure. Todd, Isaac, Ray, and myself stayed at the track Saturday night but instead of just chilling out and enjoying the night Isaac and Todd spent quite a long time putting the spare motor in the car. I think they finished sometime around 9pm and after that we just all went to bed. I love spending the night at the track. If all goes good we'll be camping out for 4 nights at Mission. I strongly believe that we have a competitive car for this year. We ran pretty close to what Brain Hough and Larry Miner did last weekend and both of the those cars will probably claim Division 6 as their home division so we'll be seeing them more this year I'm sure. Well that's it for now and keep your fingers crossed for NO RAIN next weekend.
May 15, 2010
Yeah, it's finally race time. Even though we're more part of the special program only putting on exhibition passes we're still at the track getting to race. In 2 weeks though we'll be gearing up for the Lucas Oil Division 6 opener at Mission Raceway. We're going to be using this weekend as a test session to make sure everything is kosher for Canada. The team has never been to Canada or competed full time in Division 6 so it should be interesting to see how well we do in competition. I would love for the team to get their first win light. As of right now the weather this weekend looks decent, but then again this is Oregon. It can be 80 degrees and sunny today and then cloudy or raining and 50 degrees the next day. But as of today's forecast it is suppose to be 75 today with high clouds and 72 and party to mostly cloudy tomorrow. There is a front moving in for Sunday night so let's just hope it stays true for Sunday NIGHT. We ended last year on a high note running a 5.77 out of the box but this is a new body and new motor and we haven't made a full track pass yet with it. The car sure looks good though. This is one of the best paint jobs that I think we have had. If it weren't for our great sponsors we sure wouldn't be getting to hang out at the track this weekend. Thank you to Tony, Eric, and Jerry from Wilson's Napa Auto, Doug and Mike Gatchet from G & S Machine, Dave Walery of Walery's Pizza, and NGK, Valvoline, and Sunbelt for all their continued support of Ashwell Racing. Here's hoping that we don't hurt any parts, stay safe, and have fun. See you at the track!
April 26, 2010
If you looked at the home page you will see that Greg and Isaac took the car up to the flagship store in the chain of Wilson's Napa Auto Parts stores. Isaac was kind enough to take photos for me but our lovely hosting site is having technical difficulties and not allowing me to post as many pictures as I wanted to. And speaking of pictures, I was looking through our gallery of pictures in the folder and some of them really crack me up. I should post them here but don't really want to embarrass anybody. I remember when we first started this website in 2006 green as grass having no idea how to start or where to start. I look back at the photos I have of Greg, Jeff, Isaac, Paul, and James, that we used for the crew shots and they are pretty sad. Nobody is smiling. None of the pictures are uniformed. You have guys that look like they have had better days. Anyhow, fast forward 4 years and the crew pictures are much better. MUCH better. Well 19 more days until the race season starts for us and then we will have 2 races a month for the next 5 months. Can't wait and should be fun. The Portland Trailblazers are about to start game 5 in the NBA playoffs so I am going to go watch.
April 15, 2010
Just watching the Portland Trailblazer game tonight against the Golden State Warriors. It's hard to believe that this is the last regular season basketball game for the Blazers but that also means that our race season is about to begin. We did decide on a whim to go out and test last weekend but we didn't have ideal results. Last year when we went to test we didn't have great results either and then went on to have our best year to date so we're not too concerned. Woodburn had great weather and it was a chance for Jeff to get re-acclimated in the car after the long winter hiatus.
We still have about a month to go before the Season Opener at Woodburn Dragstrip so we'll have plenty of time to get ready. Tonight we went over the design for our new startling line crew shirts and where to put all of the sponsor placements. Hopefully they will be completed before we go up to Mission for the first Lucas Oil race. Anyhow, the car looked pretty darn good out there on the track. Not only is it a new paint scheme but we went from 2000 Firebird to a 2009 Mustang. It's definitely a whole new look for Ashwell Racing. Well, it's time to get back to the Blazer game and hope to end the regular season with a win. I know the game tonight
doesn't do a thing for them in the playoffs, but it will still be nice to put one more check in the "W" column.
April 9, 2010
Yes, I know. It's been a long time. Not too much has happened on the racing side lately so there really hasn't been anything to write about. We did just get the car back yesterday from PDX Wraps in Sherwood, Oregon. This is the first time that the team has used a vinyl wrap instead of just paint. I must say it looks quite nice and can't wait to see it go down the track. In the meanwhile, Zoey Ashwell celebrated her 3rd birthday March 8th and Ryan Bese had his 5th March 28th so we had a couple birthday parties there. A couple of weeks ago we fired the car up at the shop and it sounded great. We're hoping to go testing at Woodburn Dragstrip in the coming weeks to get all the kinks worked out before our opening race there May 15th and 16th. Once the season gets going it will be much easier to write about what goes on during race weekends with Team Ashwell. Until next time...
February 23, 2010
Sorry it's been awhile since we've updated but there's been a lot going on lately. A couple of weeks ago the boys drove the rig up to Wilsonville, Oregon to get the chassis certified for this year. They said all went good and that it was nice to see some familiar faces up there that we usually see at Woodburn Dragstrip.
Greg, Isaac, Todd, and Jeff have also spent the last few weekends putting the motor back together and ordering the neccessary parts and pieces to do just that. Also Isaac took his family to Monster Jam at the Rose Garden and they had a great time.
Sorry that I don't have a lot to say. All I know is that I am counting down the days until we can go racing again. May seems like such a long time to wait but I'm sure before I know it we will be pulling into Woodburn for the Season Opener.
February 7, 2010
Hey, it's Super Bowl Sunday and the first time in all that I can remember I will be happy regardless of today's outcome with the final score. I've been a Colts fan for awhile now but I would also like to see Drew Brees and the Saints win one. We have updated the 2010 race schedule so you can click HERE to see it. I'm definately looking forward to going to the Canada race but what a pain to update my expired passport. I guess we shouldn't have gone at 4:30pm on a Friday afternoon! There was a pretty long line there at the post office that we got to wait in 3 times, but we took care of it and now my family is good to go. I know Jeff is working on a blog here so we'll have him post the next one.
February 2, 2010
Welcome to 2010. I thought I would try and add new things to our website so I have decided to add a blog and a Facebook page. So this is the first edition of the Ashwell Racing blog. We'll have driver Jeff Ashwell do updates on the 1966 Dodge Dart that he is currently building as well as about his son and daughter's adventures.
I may also write about what is currently happening with the car in terms of getting ready for the Season Opener at Woodburn Dragstrip. Or maybe even what goes on behind the scenes during any given race weekend, stuff that I normally wouldn't put into the race results. Some of my favorite times is when the racing is done for the night and the team is just hanging out playing cards or throwing a football around since the majority of us sleep at the track. I'm going to open this blog to any team member who would like to contribute something about their life at or away from the racetrack. I also created the Ashwell Racing Facebook so race fans can follow us there as well. I'm not sure yet how often I'll be updating that one but I promise I will add some new photos to it once the season gets rolling. And speaking of the race season, we're all real excited about running the entire Lucas Oil Division 6 series this year. This will be the first time that Ashwell Racing will be competing in the entire series. Should be fun!