Behind The Wheel - #16 - Ashley Ross
From weekends at the track and in the garage, to weekdays spent as a collision repair estimator, Ashley Ross has always had a love for cars that has helped turn her into who she is today. Ashley is from Virginia and from a young age she has always been involved in some aspect of cars. She has worked for repair shops, parts companies, and performance shops, and finds that working in this industry is her “place in life”, as she says. She is engaged to her fiancé Cory that she has known since she was a late teen.
Growing up, Ashley’s time spent around her father really influenced her love for all things cars. “My dad always had muscle cars, and I loved to be around them. He always gave me a toothbrush to clean wheels”, she told me. Around age 14 she told her parents she wanted to race both horses and cars, and her parents found her a JR. dragster to let her pilot. She told me, “When I got it, we made it a family thing. My sister got into it and my cousins got into it”. She found herself in the autotech program in high school which helped facilitate her love and knowledge, and in 2005, when she aged out of jr. dragsters, her parents got her a Trans-Am for her 18th birthday/ graduation gift.
That Trans-Am is the car she still owns to this day and devotes her time to. It is a 1999 Trans-Am, with a big cam, big stall, 8-point roll bar, and suspension. It weighs in at 3300 lbs, and she has a personal best in it at 10.85 in the ¼ mile. This car has slowly developed into her racecar, and she has goals to continue to build it for class purposes. Alongside with running the Women & Wheels class, she also runs an 11.0 index class and doesn’t want to stray from that because as we all know, picking up just a second to become competitive in the next class gets expensive fast.
Ashley finds her biggest support comes from both her dad and her fiancé Cory, “there was a point where my car wasn’t running, and Cory pushed me to get it back together. He has been a big motivator for the last 4 years”, she told me. Her biggest role models are the people closest to her, which are her parents. “They always pushed me to want to do better and be the best version of myself. My dad has shown me unconditional love being a female in the automotive industry, and calls me the son he never had”, Ashley said. Alongside with her Trans-Am, Ashley spends time with her fiancé and helps tinker with his Camaro show car.
Ashley’s first Women & Wheels class race in in Charlotte where there was a 3-way pot split. She heard of the class from mutual friends and decided to just jump in. Her favorite memory from that event was, “When there was a group of women together before we race. We all got together talking and learning about everyone else and their personalities. It was nice to see that collaboration”, she said. Her biggest advice would be, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions!”. Ashley also finds that Women & Wheels has brought together women in a way that hasn’t been noticed before, “I think this group has brought women together that normally probably wouldn’t be together. You’re getting women that have been in this industry for years and newcomers. It shows we aren’t catty, and we get along- even in competition, and that we can be supportive and not put each other down as people think women do to each other. It breaks the mold”.
Ashley goes to show that not only can you spend your weekends with cars, you can also spend your weekdays with them and feel like you have found your place and happiness.
You can find Ashley on IG @ aross0531.