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NHRA LODRS IHRA Drag News Photos
Fri, 21 Oct 2005, 02:41 AM

Ashley on Brink of Second Title
Courtesy of Duke Ritenhouse





LAS VEGAS -- The last time the AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge presented by TLR stopped in Las Vegas, Mike Ashley scored his first win of the 2005 season. He won't have to do nearly as well this weekend at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to claim an even bigger prize: the 2005 AMS/TLR Cup world championship.

Ashley (Torco Race Fuels '67 Mustang) needs only to win a single round at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals to mathematically eliminate second-place Jay Payne and claim his second consecutive Pro Mod Challenge championship. Even if that doesn't happen, though, the odds will still be heavily stacked against Payne (Valvoline '05 Stratus), who enters the race 591 points behind Ashley after the first 13 events of the 14-race season.

Without bonus points, a driver can earn a maximum of 516 points at an AMS/TLR event, meaning even a DNQ from Ashley would still leave Payne needing to either reach the final and score 200 bonus points (100 apiece for breaking the Pro Mod Challenge e.t. and speed records) or win the event and grab at least one of the two bonuses. With Las Vegas Motor Speedway sitting at an altitude of 2,100 feet and the series records already at a stout 6.000 and 239.23 mph, though, any chance for bonus points appears remote in the extreme. If no bonus points are earned in Las Vegas, Ashley will win the AMS/TLR Cup even if he chooses not to compete.

Between them, Ashley, Payne, and Joshua Hernandez (Tommy Lipar Racing '57 Chevy) have combined to win 10 of the 13 Pro Mod Challenge events this season. Ashley won four in a row at one point, a streak that began at the spring Las Vegas event, to set a series record.

The ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals will also feature the third annual FLOWMASTER Pro Mod CLASH, an eight-car bonus event for the most consistent qualifiers over the past 14 events. Hernandez finished on top of the CLASH points standings, scoring 169 points to Ashley's 159 and Payne's 154. The $44,000 CLASH will be run during the AMS/TLR qualifying rounds; a $5,000 double-up bonus is available to any driver who wins both the CLASH and the regular eliminations title. The first-round matchups for the CLASH are as follows (final standing in parentheses):

(1) Joshua Hernandez vs. (8) Troy Coughlin
(2) Mike Ashley vs. (7) Glen Kerunsky
(3) Jay Payne vs. (6) Thomas Patterson
(4) Troy Critchley vs. (5) Chip King





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