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Scrappers Racing Aiming For Twin Wins In the Windy City

Mark Rebilas photos

Sisters Jasmine Salinas and Jianna Evaristo share a single-minded focus as they head to suburban Chicago for the Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals presented by PEAK Performance at historic Route 66 Raceway. They are in the joint pursuit of excellence in their Scrappers Racing machines, ultimately aiming to park Jasmine’s Top Fuel dragster and Jianna’s Pro Stock Motorcycle in the winners circle on Sunday. 

As Jasmine prepares to make her fifth professional start in the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series, the Top Fuel rookie is looking forward to building on her recent achievements behind the wheel of the Scrappers Racing Top Fuel machine. Earlier this year, she took over driving duties for her father and Scrappers Racing team owner, Mike Salinas. Three weeks ago in Charlotte, Jasmine raced to a personal best speed, clocking over 330 mph. Since then, she’s been working with her crew to make adjustments to her program, tailoring the car to maximize performance. Route 66 Raceway has been good to the skilled drag racer in the past, giving her an extra boost of momentum. 

“We’re continuing to make some tweaks to the car around my comfort and preferences as a driver,” explained Jasmine. “We’re slowly transforming Mike’s car into one that’s perfect just for me. And we’ve been learning how best to accomplish that over the past four races. I’m feeling optimistic after our performance in Charlotte. We’re excited to go rounds! I won the Chicago regional in Top Alcohol Dragster in 2022. I now understand that Top Fuel is a whole different animal, but knowing you’ve been successful at a track in the past always gives you a little bit of confidence.”

Jianna will join her sister in the Windy City as she pushes the limits of her Scrappers Racing Pro Stock Motorcycle. This will be her third start of the season aboard her Buell, which was a major change to her program as she previously piloted Suzukis. The fan-favorite rider known for her feisty optimism is approaching her new machine with dogged determination, keeping her eye on the ultimate prize as she heads into the weekend. She plans to build upon the consistent performance she gave in Charlotte to turn on a few win lights in Chicago.

“It’s always a good day when I get to race a motorcycle,” said Jianna. “Learning how to harness the power of this Buell has been a challenge, but in the best way possible. It’s fascinating just how different it is compared to the other bikes I’ve piloted. It’s going to be a really good fit for me and I like the direction we are taking. We have the best team behind us and getting to compete professionally with Jasmine has been fantastic. We push each other and learn from each other. I think that dynamic is going to have a positive impact on my performance throughout the season.”

“It was so nice having Jianna and Pro Stock Motorcycle back at the track in Charlotte,” remarked Jasmine. “I haven’t had any family with me at the track since Pomona so that’s made the experience a little lonely for me. But it’s extra special to know you’ve got your family standing on the starting line supporting you, and I love being able to do the same for her.”

All of the ultra-competitive drag racing action begins on Friday, May 17 with qualifying sessions at 2:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Qualifying will continue on Saturday, May 18 with sessions scheduled for 11:40 a.m. and 2:20 p.m.. Eliminations begin on Sunday, May 19 at 11:00 a.m. 

This story was originally published on May 16, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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