Ashton Winger: Airborne Adventure Destroys Car

Ashton Winger: Airborne Adventure Destroys Car

Ashton Winger just wanted to lay down a fast lap in qualifying. Unfortunately, that quest ended in turn three during the Hunt the Front Super Dirt Series event at the Talladega Short Track in Eastaboga, Alabama.

“I went over the cushion and began rolling — three or four times over,” Winger, of Senoia, Georgia, said. “I had no injuries, but my 2023 Rocket was destroyed.”

Fortunately, Winger prepared for the worst. He sat in a ButlerBuilt full-containment seat, with a Simpson harness, Simpson helmet and Simpson head-and-neck restraint.

“As strange as it would seem, the only part of the car that hit the ground was the roof — it bounced hard and twisted the halo,” Winger’s father, Gary, said. “The crash did not tear up any suspension. We took the shocks off of that car and put them on our backup car.”

This wreck reminded the Wingers of a similar crash they had at LaSalle Speedway in Illinois during the DIRTcar Summer Nationals.

“When the car landed hard on the bars that are around the driver’s head, we felt it was best to replace the whole chassis,” said Gary. “We don’t have to, but we want to replace this chassis.”

Ashton won 17 features last season, but he admitted that he’s off from his pace from last year.

“We are having a terrible start to the season — it’s not a good feeling at all,” Ashton said. “We need to test and figure out why we are off a bit.”

Gary felt that they may have been ahead of other teams last year when Hoosier changed its compounds for dirt late model racing.

“The tires threw a curveball at all the teams,” said Gary. “Last year our setup was so good, the tires didn’t hurt us as badly as it did some of the other teams. Now, the other teams caught up to us. We have to get better now.”

Gary is a well-known shock builder and owns GW Performance.

“We have to try some different concepts, setup-wise,” Gary said. “When you race, you don’t want to be terrible — you put yourself in a smaller box. It is better to sacrifice a race or two and do some testing. When you’re off a second in testing, you just write ‘don’t do that’ in your notes and try something else. You can’t do that on race day.”

On Thursday, Ashton Winger and the team plan on heading to East Alabama Motor Speedway in Phenix City for practice. Depending on how that goes, they’ll either head back to the shop or to the World of Outlaws event at Thunderhill Raceway in Summertown, Tennessee.

“Ashton knows what he needs to feel when he’s in the car,” said Gary. “When he feels it’s right, then we can go and race.”