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Friday, January 13, 2017

Dave Ashley #2 So. Cal. Ford Dealers / Ultra Custom Wheels Ford

    Hello again, and welcome back to the ol' Racing Champions blog~ I've been really busy here lately with several different things, but I'm finally able to sit down for a bit, and get a blog post done~ This one is on Dave Ashley's #2 So. Cal. Ford Dealers/Ultra Custom Wheels Ford~ It's a very rare truck from the Series 1 set, and was one of the first trucks ever built for the series.. and I never knew it existed until just a couple days ago~

    I got this one, along with another super rare gem, P.J. Jones' #1 Trader's Sport Truck Superstore/Vessels Stallion Farm Ford~ That one also only ran during the 1994/95 winter heat races, that were put on to basically get all the bugs out of the trucks, before they started the 1995 season~ Anyway, let's get into this post, I think it will be a pretty interesting one, but sadly, the pictures aren't the best.. but it's all I could find~ I even had to resort to screen capping race footage for pictures~

             I found out after I colorized this, that the Goodrich part is actually red on his uniform~
Dave Ashley #2 So. Cal. Ford Dealers Ultra Custom Wheels Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Supertrucks Super Trucks 1994 1995 David off road

   After talking it over for a while with Jim Venable, Frank Vessels, Dick Landfield, and Jimmy Smith, Dave Ashley was actually one of the first people (along with Gary Collins) to build a truck for the upcoming NASCAR "SuperTruck" series~ He had be doing off-road racing, and desert racing for years, and was good friends with Venable, so when he was given a heads up on the series, he quickly went to work creating a truck for the series~ He was also instrumental in creating the first rule book for the series~

   Countless hours of work went into designing, and building the truck, and countless more hours went into testing, and development~ But finally they got it right, and the prototype truck was displayed at Daytona for Speedweeks, and tested by team owner, Jack Smith~ The crowd loved it, and on April 11th, 1994, NASCAR officials approved the new series, during a meeting with Venable and others, at a hotel in Burbank, California~

                                  Ashley was a regular during the 1994/95 Winter heat races~
Dave Ashley #2 So. Cal. Ford Dealers Ultra Custom Wheels Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Supertrucks Super Trucks 1994 1995 David off road

   The first ever event held for the upcoming series was held at Mesa Marin, the half mile track in Bakesfield California, and was christened the "1994 SuperTruck Mesa Marin 20"~ There were only 5 trucks in the field that day, and Ashley qualified on the outside of row number one~ Craig Huartson  (who never ran an official SuperTruck race once the inaugural season began) won the pole for the event, while Rob MacCachren qualified 3rd, P.J. Jones 4th, and Gary Collins qualified in the back of the pack~

   After leading the first lap, Huartson was passed by Ashley, who led the next 7 laps, before handing the lead over to Rob MacCachren, who led for 6 laps, before being passed for good by P.J. Jones, who won the race in the #1 Vessels Stallion Farms Ford, owned by Scoop Vessels~ Jones was awarded 900 dollars for the win, while the remaining drivers each won 800 dollars~

   The next race was held in Portland, and was dubbed the "1994 SuperTruck Portland 20"~ Ashley won the pole for the event, with Rob MacCachren starting 2nd, Craig Huartson 3rd, Mike Hurlbert made his debut start in a truck from the 4th position, Gary Collins was 5th, and P.J. Jones was at the tail end of the field~

   Ashley never led a lap in the race, as he was passed by Rob MacCachren at the start of the event~ MacCachren led the entire 20 laps on his way to victory, and was followed by Gary Collins, P.J. Jones, Craig Huartson, Ashley, and Mike Hurlbert finished last~ Don't feel too bad for him though, last in this even was still a top 10 effort~ :P

                                                Dave Ashley battles P.J. Jones for position~
Dave Ashley #2 So. Cal. Ford Dealers Ultra Custom Wheels Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Supertrucks Super Trucks 1994 1995 David off road

   Up next for the trucks was their first real test, in the form of a 200 lap event at the Tucson Raceway Park, entitled the "1994 SuperTruck Winter Heat 200 #1"~ Along with the extended race, there were 16 drivers listed to start the event~ Ashley didn't start the race however, as he crashed his truck during practice, and didn't have another one~ He was credited as finishing last for the event, though he never started~ Rick Carelli dominated, and won the event, leading 107 of the 200 laps in the #6 TOTAL Petroleum Chevrolet~ This was also the first start in the series for Dodge, as Walker Evans finished 12th in his #20 American Racing Wheels Dodge~

   Almost one month later, the teams returned to Tucson, for the "1994 SuperTruck Winter Heat 200 #2"~ Ron Hornaday won the pole for the event, driving the #75 Spears Motor Sports Chevrolet, while Ashley qualified in the 10th spot~ Johnny Benson missed the race after a practice crash destroyed his #18 Performance Friction Chevrolet~

   Mike Skinner was the fastest truck for most of the day, leading for 107 laps, but Ron Hornaday had an equally fast truck, having led 71 laps~ In the end, P.J. Jones was able to get by both of them in the #1 Vessels Stallion Farms Ford, to take the checkered flag first~ Hornaday finished 2nd, Skinner was 3rd, and Ashley finished in 8th place, three laps off the pace of the race winner~

                                Ashley made his only official truck series start in this truck~
Dave Ashley #2 So. Cal. Ford Dealers Ultra Custom Wheels Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Supertrucks Super Trucks 1994 1995 David off road

   The last event held during the 1994/95 Winter Heat races took place on January 5th, 1995 @ Tuscon for the "1995 SuperTruck Winter Heat #3"~ Butch Gilliland grabbed the pole for the event, while Ashley qualified 17th in the 18 truck field~ Gary Balough was attempting a NASCAR comeback of sorts, and qualified 9th for the event~ The race was won by Mike Skinner, who led 55 laps in the #3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet on his way to the checkered flag~ Ashley finished the race in 9th place~

   Following this race, Ashley only ran one race in the official series, the 1995 Ford Credit 125 @ Mesa Marin~ He qualified 24th in the 30 truck field, and was driving the #2 Ultra Custom Wheels Ford~ Mike Skinner won the pole for the race, and P.J. Jones was on the outside of row number one~ Drivers who failed to qualify for the event were Bob Jones, Mike Hurlbert, T.J. Clark, Steve McEachern, and Coach Jerry Glanville~

   Ron Hornaday Jr. basically dominated the event, leading 106 of the 125 laps in the #16 Action Racing Collectibles Chevrolet, owned by Dale Earnhardt Inc.~ He would go on to win the event with ease, with Bill Sedgwick finishing 2nd, Mike Bliss 3rd, followed by Mike Skinner, and Butch Miller finished in 5th~ Ashley finished the race in last place, following a blown engine, after completing 77 laps~ He never raced in the series again, but returned to off-road racing, and had a Hall of Fame career~

                             Dave Ashley #2 So. Cal. Ford Dealers/Ultra Custom Wheels Ford~
Dave Ashley #2 So. Cal. Ford Dealers Ultra Custom Wheels Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Supertrucks Super Trucks 1994 1995 David off road
                                                               Click pics to enlarge~
Dave Ashley #2 So. Cal. Ford Dealers Ultra Custom Wheels Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Supertrucks Super Trucks 1994 1995 David off road

   Well, like I said earlier, up until a couple of days ago, I never had even seen a picture of this diecast anywhere~ It's been a while since I started this post, so I may have already said this, but my guess is that Racing Champions knew that he ran all of the exhibition races, and he did win a pole in one of them, so perhaps they just thought he'd run this truck, at least once in an official SuperTrucks race once the season started, and he just didn't~ There may not be very many of these at all, maybe 5,000 or even less were made, I'd assume~

   I really enjoy this truck, and I think it looks awesome~ Even though the pictures I posted are blurry, you can still tell that it looks identical to the truck he ran during the exhibition races~ The card could have been a little more appealing, but the truck pretty much makes up for that~ Overall, I give this one an A- on the Racing Champions quality scale, only because the card could have been better, and the packaging on the Series 1 SuperTrucks is horrible.. it just falls apart, and is very flimsy, and the plastic tends to yellow on them much more than on any other Racing Champions diecast, in my opinion~

   I was super excited to get this truck today, along with the P.J. Jones truck, which I will be doing a post on in the near future~ Not only did I get an awesome piece to add to the collection, but I get to show it to y'all, so you can write it down on your "cars to track down" list~ I know I look at cars on Ebay a lot to find cars to add to my list of cars that I need, and I've never even seen this one before~ I did see a 1/24 scale version for 24.99 obo, if any of you are interested in that scale~

                                          **Bonus car** Chad Little #90 Cheerwine Ford~
Chad Little #90 Cheerwine Pugh Oil Co. Tank & Tummy Junie Donlavey debut

   I was pretty happy about this car, I actually didn't think I'd be able to make it look good~ I actually used Bobby Dotter's #08 TeamR Buick to make this one, so it's not technically a Ford, but oh well, that's just what I did to make it easier to make~ Chad Little drove this #90 Cheerwine/Pugh Oil Co./Tank & Tummy Ford (owned by Junie Donlavey) in the 1989 Coca-Cola 600 @ Charlotte~ He qualified 39th in the 42 car field, and ended up finishing 18th~ Pretty impressive for 600 miles in a Junie car~

   The hardest part on this car was painting the nose~ I suck at painting, even if it's on Photoshop~ I just don't have the steadiest hands in the world these days~ I still think I did a decent job on it, and I was impressed in the end~ I'd give this one an B+ on the Racing Champions quality scale, because there are some minor flaws, but it's still really cool looking~

   Thank you all for stopping by and visiting the blog again, I hope you enjoyed this post, and learned something new~ I enjoyed learning about Dave Ashley and this truck, as I was working on this blog post~ Please share this post on any social media site you're on, and click the "Follow" button at the top of this page, on the right hand side~ :)

   Below is a picture of a car my friend is looking for, along with some random old truck videos, since there isn't much on Dave Ashley~ If you have the car posted below, and wish to sell it, please contact me at buttermilkjug@yahoo.com, and I can relay the message to him~ He will gladly pay a fair price for it, if you have this exact one in the photo, not the Toys R' Us one~

                                                Here she is~ Must be exactly like this one~
Jeff Glover

                                           Dave Ashley Bio for the Off-Road Hall of Fame~

                         Dave Ashley in a Ford video, with a cameo from Donald Trump~ lol~

                                                          Dave Ashley's off-road truck~

                                     Weird segment about the 1994 debut of the original truck~

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