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Mike Salinas Claims Number One Qualifying Position at The Strip

For the fourth time this season, the Scrappers Racing team and Mike Salinas claimed the number one qualifier position in NHRA Top Fuel competition. Salinas watched the two cars lined up in front of him in Saturday night’s final qualifying session at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway run times faster than what he had set in Friday night’s session to claim the provisional number one position (3.699). 

“Yeah, basically we’re trying to run a 3.67. Rob (Flynn, crew chief) backed it down a little bit. We were trying to run a 3.67 with a five, that’s the number he picked. So I can say that was pretty close, you know, so but it wasn’t bad. But I did see him back it down. He just felt something that wasn’t right. So he did a great job.”

Crew chiefs Rob Flynn and Aaron Cave made a last-minute adjustment before firing up and Salinas was able to rocket back to the number one position. Salinas also claimed the number one qualifier position at Chicago, Seattle and Charlotte where he made history on his pass becoming the first driver in NHRA history to go 300 mph in the 1/8th mile.

“You know, one out at a time. I’ll tell you in Pomona if we’re sitting in the qualifying number one, but here’s the coolest thing. You got Brittany (Force) and she is amazing out there. Okay. Don’t underestimate anybody in this class. Steve Torrence is good. Everybody is good. There is no give me. You have to be on your A game, you have to do good. I’m expecting Alan Johnson. Look, the weather’s going to be cool over there. We’ve got a night run over there. So 64, 65 is going to be number one over there. And I would say the top seven to nine cars are going to be in that class right there. And then hopefully I’m at the top, hopefully.”

“Yeah, basically the car has been around. I’ve been distracted as a driver. This weekend, I fixed that. Just we have a lot on her plate, took care of it and just, you know, departmentalizing everything and with the right people around us, and we’ll be just fine. And think about this case. Here’s the coolest part. If all these cars are running this good at the end of the year, can you imagine what next year is going to be like, oh my God, it’s going to be great. I mean, it’s going to be fun. I can’t wait to run with my daughter (Jasmine Salinas) and race.”

The first round of eliminations from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway begins at 11:00 AM PT/2:00 PM ET. Coverage of the finals will air on Fox Sports 1 at 3:00 PM ET.

When the Nevada Nationals are complete, Salinas has something else up his sleeve.

“Okay. My brother (Carl Salinas) and I got this bright idea. My brother and I got this bright idea. We do everything together. So, we’re going to go try Pro Stock bikes. We have bikes coming. We want to race bikes; we’ve been riding motorcycles our whole life. So where else can you do stuff together with your family? I mean, I want to beat him and my daughter (Jianna Evaristo). We’re going to go practice Monday morning, test session, burnouts, launches, and see where we go with it. And our goal is to go run Pro Stock bikes as a family, you know, and just have a great time with it, we just live our best life. Families around me, we have a great time it just honestly, we don’t care about much. Other than having a great time and enjoying all of this with great people.”


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This story was originally published on October 28, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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