One of Canada’s most talented young female drag racers will have an interesting drag racing season to follow this year…

Ashley Bart, who is now Ashley Huffman, has been a popular fixture within Western Canadian drag racing since a very young age.  After starting in the sport at only 8-years old with some involvement with “Kiddy Kat snowmobile grass drags” and followed by Junior Dragster racing at 10-years old, Ashley has seemingly on a year-by-year basis built up and added to her very impressive racing resume.  

At age 16, she then started in full size drag racing vehicles (actually on the exact day she got her driver’s licence!) racing in the Super Pro category,  In her first year doing that she had two wins, placed runner-up in final season Super Pro points and was named “Rookie of the Year”  (at Calgary’s Race City).

Following that, she attended the Frank Hawley School of Drag Racing to successfully earn her TAD licence.  Then In 2008 she earned the cockpit for the very formidable Kenny Gilmour Racing TAD,  and toured with various event appearances within Canada and the Western United States with that team.  In 2009 she was selected by fan voting at and named the year’s “Most Improved Driver”.

In 2010 her TAD team attended the Rocky Mountain Nationals in Edmonton, AB  where she went on to win her first ever event in the TAD class running what was then the IHRA class equivalent called Pro Fuel.  At that race, fans may recall, she was the only supercharged car entered in the field that featured all injected nitro cars.  With that win she also became the first Canadian female winner ever in the category.


Ashley made some Canadian drag racing history while competing at the 2010 edition Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals – racing Kenny Gilmour’s TAD

“Racing with Kenny Gilmore was an extremely important part of my career and I can’t thank him enough for that opportunity,” Ashley refected.  “I was given very valuable knowledge and seat time — and I know for a fact that it made me a better driver because it allowed me to learn to act quickly for situations while piloting such a car.”

In 2012 Bart Family Racing (overseen by Ashley’s father Rick) decided to venture back into racing their own family operated racing team.  They focused first on some Super Pro/Super Comp action before upgrading to a new TnT chassis dragster that was acquired from fellow Albertan’s Dale and Garth Giroux in 2015.  With that potent car Ashley frequented the wildly successful Top Eliminator series at Edmonton’s Castrol Raceway which is overseen and organized by Gord and Bob Ebertz.

The Bart Racing Family team has been competing in this Donovan-powered  TNT-built T/D since 2015.

After a marginal placing in points her first year (outside the top 25), Ashley followed that up with a truly sensation 2016 season when she qualified #1 twice, won two season events and was then crowned the overall Top Eliminator points champion during a dramatic final day of racing for that season. 

“This club which is run by the Ebertz Brothers is by far one of the best racing groups you could ever compete in,” she continued. “In this class every single race in won or lost by the smallest of margins, you have to know what your doing and be your best every single run – or your going home.  This class made me the driver that I am today, and I consider that title win my biggest accomplishment to date.”

“At the end of that year I was so honoured to receive the “Bears Paw Cup” that was started by the late Scott Taylor,” she emphasized. “That award is given to the driver with the highest amount of qualifying points throughout the year.  I was the first recipient of it after it was handed out following Scott’s sudden and unexpected death.  Scott Taylor was incredible on and off the track and I was honoured to win it in his name.”

During the just past 2017 drag racing season, Ashley did however take the season off.   The reason for that was very positive because she and her husband Chad were expecting their first child and they welcomed daughter Nova to the world last August 11th.   So during that period, her Dad Rick took over the controls for their dragster for the season.

“Actually Nova has already experienced her first drag race,” Ashley laughed.  “When she was only 4.5 weeks old she experienced her first winners circle with her Grandfather!”

“Ashley Huffman’s Dad” (Rick) with Granddaughter Nova (4.5 weeks old!)  in victory lane at Castrol Raceway last year!

Looking forward to 2018 – the plans for Ashley’s racing team includes something pretty unique.   Not only will they go hard after Castrol Raceway’s Top Eliminator title again, they have also confirmed plans to race internationally — in England at Santa Pod Raceway next October.

“Bart Family Racing, along with the Ebertz Brothers will be attending Santa Pod’s Flame & Thunder event,” she confirmed.  “Both the cars will be leaving Edmonton in September.  They will go in a container on a truck from Edmonton to Halifax and then Halifax across the ocean to England.”

This opportunity came to be though a relationship developed by Rick Bart and Paul Burrows who operates “Lighter Than Air” which is a hot air balloon competing team.  Rick, who manages the Heritage Inn (High River, Alberta) is the primary sponsor for the “Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival”.  Paul and his team (from London) attend that competition every year and he was the incentive behind the idea to fly the Canadian race teams over to Santa Pod next fall.

Ashley Huffman who won the prestigious Top Eliminator Club season points title at Edmonton’s Castrol Raceway in 2016 – will look to repeat that feat again in 2018.

For Ashely however, this will not be her first international venture drag racing, she affirmed that back in 2001, while racing the Bart Family Racing Junior Dragster, she attended the “Jr. World Finals” in Hawaii (and placed 3rd in the world at that event).

The Bart Family Racing operation too has an impressive list of supporting sponsors which includes: Highroad Distillers (primary) and associates Stormfront Promotions, Blackstone Oilfield Services, DE Hoffmyer Services, High River Liquor Store, GM Mechanical, Home Hardware, Maurice, Global Signs, Coors Banquet, Bigfoot RV Storage and Karen & Darryl Forster.

Posted by Bruce Biegler