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Jasmine Salinas Claims First Top Fuel Round Win and Sets New Personal Bests at NHRA Four-Wide Nationals

Mark Rebilas photos

Top Fuel driver Jasmine Salinas put on a standout performance this weekend at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway just outside of Charlotte. The talented rookie achieved new personal bests in elapsed time and miles per hour as she competed in the fan-favorite four-wide format. Jasmine’s sister and Scrappers Racing teammate Jianna Evaristo had a solid performance in Pro Stock Motorcycle in the second four-wide event of her career. Their father and Scrappers Racing team owner Mike Salinas was watching his daughters make impressive runs throughout the weekend in honor of his birthday. 

Jasmine started the weekend with a strong qualifying effort right out of the gate on Friday afternoon. Her scorching run of 3.738 seconds at 331.61 mph set a new personal best for the intelligent and innovative driver in both speed and elapsed time. This pass held tight making Jasmine the No. 9 qualifier in the highly competitive Top Fuel field. 

On race day, Jasmine faced No. 1 qualifier and reigning Top Fuel world champion Doug Kalitta, as well as Shawn Reed and Cody Krohn. When the light turned green, all four drivers left within three-hundredths of a second of one another. Salinas blasted past all three of her competitors and reached the stripe first to secure her first Top Fuel round win. In the process, she also ran the lowest elapsed time of the round with a 3.700 at 329.50. Jasmine advanced to the second round of eliminations to face Kalitta, Billy Torrence and Clay Millican. Millican and Kalitta advanced to the finals. 

“Q1 was pretty exciting, to run over 330 miles per hour for the first time,” remarked Jasmine. “It was a good indicator for our team that we are headed in the right direction. We qualified ninth, which is the highest we’ve qualified so far. Each day we are progressing more and more. That first-round win is something that we’ve been looking forward to. On top of that, setting the low elapsed time of the round and achieving a new personal best elapsed time really made a statement for us. My dad’s birthday was on Saturday and I think we gave him a good performance to celebrate. With each race, we are learning more and more. I think we are getting closer and closer to all of the pieces coming together.”

Jianna is gaining experience with each lap she makes in her new Scrappers Racing Buell. After getting off to a bumpy start in qualifying, the skilled Pro Stock Motorcycle rider found her groove in the second qualifying pass on Friday when she powered down the quarter mile in 6.815 seconds at 194.32 mph. On Saturday, she made two more consistent runs reaching over 199 mph. But it was that pass on Friday night under the lights of zMAX Dragway that put her in the No. 11 position on the ladder. She faced LE Tonglet, Richard Gadson and Ryan Oehler in what was named the “Marquee Matchup” of race day. Despite making another consistent pass, Jianna crossed the finish line third in this impressive first-round quad.

“I’m so proud of our Scrappers Racing team and what we accomplished this weekend,” said Jianna. “It’s all about making runs right now and we are reaching a new level of consistency. That’s exciting for me as a driver because I’m finally at the point where I can begin to fine-tune things and hone my skills. I really wanted to turn on a win light for my dad’s birthday but overall I’m pleased with our performance.”

The Scrappers Racing team will return to competition in the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series in three weeks at the NHRA Route 66 Nationals, May 16-19, at Route 66 Raceway outside Chicago.

This story was originally published on April 29, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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