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Melanie Salemi Rebounds with $10,000 WSOPM Second-Chance Shootout Victory

Luke Nieuwhof

With 61 Pro Mod entries on the property and only 32 drivers making it into the $100,000 main event in the Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod presented by J&A Service, WSOPM officials added a $10,000-to-win Chicago-Style Second-Chance Shootout for the 16 quickest non-qualifiers. Those 16 drivers were randomly paired for first round of the shootout, and the two quickest winners advanced to the final round at Bradenton Motorsports Park.

PDRA Pro Boost record holder Melanie Salemi experienced a couple setbacks in qualifying with her team’s newly screw-blown Al-Lee Installations Camaro. She ended up outside the 32-car field – and even outside the 16-car second-chance field –  but when other teams left, she was able to move into the second-chance race.

Salemi and her team, led by husband Jon and brother-in-law Jim, took advantage of the opportunity, running a 3.661 at 205.10 to beat Mike Decker III and move on to the final. There, she laid down a 3.643 at 206.16 to win the $10,000 check over Steven Whiteley and his 4.817 at 103.34 in the screw-blown J&A Service ’69 Camaro.  

“It was nice to be able to partake in [the second-chance race] and get a couple more runs,” Salemi said. “We were debating last night if we were going to stay and test for a couple more days, so it was nice to get those runs in. Jon and Evan and Jim put their heads together and we got a good plan and made some really good runs today. Every time that I made laps in the car, we were low for the entire round, not just the second-chance race. We were low out of everybody. It was kind of refreshing to come out and run a different setup and still be fast.”

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