Mike Salinas drove his Valley Services Top Fuel dragster to the number one qualifier position during the second round of qualifying on Saturday afternoon. Salinas posted a time of 3.743 seconds at 329.02 mph, and the time held through the third and final session later in the afternoon.
For Salinas, the achievement marks his second number one qualifier of 2023, with his first coming at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago. It was also his 13th career number one qualifier. For Salinas and his Scrappers Racing team, there has been a lot of effort behind-the-scenes to learn about the car and make some adjustments before heading into the Countdown, and with today’s results, the team believes those learnings are starting to pay dividends.
“Basically, what we did was exactly what Steve Torrence did last year, we just didn’t share it with anybody,” said Salinas, following his final qualifying round. “We just fell on our face and tried all kinds of different things. All the stuff we did learn, we’re just applying it now and the car seems to be responding exactly like we wanted it to. Our 60-foots were amazing for the heat and the track temperature. I think we’re in a good place.”
By earning the number one qualifier position, Salinas will have a bye run in the first round of eliminations on Sunday. With the track temperatures expected to be coolest for that first session, you can expect the Scrappers Racing team to still bring as much power as possible to the starting line.
“Guaranteed,” said Salinas. “We are going to throw down. We have to. Every run means something for the Countdown. It helps moral and it helps with three guys in there calling the shots. I told them yesterday, it’s time to open up a can and let’s go and see what we can do. I’ve let you do everything you want and now it’s time to run. There is no tomorrow because if we don’t start now and get our momentum going, we’re not going to do too well.”
The first round of eliminations from Pacific Raceways begins at 10:30 AM PT/1:30 PM ET. Coverage of the finals will air on FOX at 4:00 PM ET.