There are a few reasons why Ashley Conway Lang could have felt pressure to perform at peak levels when she dove into NMRA ARP Open Comp back in 2011.
Among them are the fact that her brother, Randy Conway, is a multi-time champion in the category, and her father, Dennis Conway, also competes in the category.
But instead of focusing on that, she focuses on reaction times and running the number in her Mustang, which used to belong to her brother.
It’s a fine formula for the Michigan-based driver who is married to Robert Lang and has a son and a daughter, as she earned a fifth place finish in points in 2013 and a sixth place finish in points in 2014, which is no easy feat in the category where the drivers are dialed in on the tree and the top end of the track.
“There are so many things that I like about the class,” said Conway Lang. “First and foremost, my fellow racers are amazing. They are some of the most caring and supportive people I’ve ever met. If my car broke and my competitor for the next round had the part I needed, they would still give it to me and even help put it on. They truly are my racing family. I also love the competition in Open Comp. We have so many great racers. It’s really anyone’s game out there. Finishing in the top 10 in Open Comp is such a huge achievement and really takes a lot with the skill we have in this class.”
While she had taken some time off in the past few years to focus on her family, Conway Lang was back behind the wheel at the second event on this year’s NMRA tour, the 11th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals in April at Atlanta Dragway. There, she earned her first trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle in the tough-as-nails category with a 10.24 on a 10.20 dial in her Mustang motivated by a 410 cubic-inch Ford engine built by her father and topped with Edelbrock Victor Jr. heads and a Holley carburetor she purchased from fellow racer Saul Walker.
“My goal going into the 2019 season was just to get back in the car and get some practice,” said Conway Lang. “My daughter was born in May of 2018, so I hadn’t raced in about two years. At my first race was in Georgia, I was really just looking forward to getting back in the car, but ended up winning the event. That was my first event win and such an amazing experience.”
From there, she headed to the Inaugural NMRA Gateway Rumble in May at Gateway Motorsports Park in Illinois, where she made it to the quarter-final before losing with a 10.26 on a 10.20 dial, but she had some issues at the 19th Annual NMRA Ford Motorsport Nationals in June at Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania and the 14th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing in July at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois which prevented her from pushing through rounds.
“We struggled in Pennsylvania and Joliet due to some issues we were having, which ended up being two sets of bad tires,” said Conway Lang.
Now, she’s holding down the tenth spot in points and preparing for the final event on this year’s NMRA tour, the highly anticipated 21st Annual Nitto NMRA All-Ford World Finals, featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival, Sept. 26-29 at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Her goal is to finish in the top ten in points, and she’s preparing to give it everything she has to do that.
“My plan is to get some practice in at my local track, and come to Bowling Green ready to go rounds,” said Conway Lang. “My dad is my crew chief. I really owe it all to him. He has put so much into my car on and off the track. My mom is at the track with me, watching my kids so I can race, and my brother is there to help with the car as well, but he has his own truck to get ready between rounds. My 3-year-old son loves to help me check the tires and pull my car in and out of the trailer, so I guess he is a crew member in-training.”