Mike Salinas had Top Fuel championship expectations for the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Series season.
After three events, things weren’t going according to plan.
He entered the 20th annual DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas seventh in the points standings.
Salinas got back on track at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Friday with a 3.705-second lap at 328.46 mph to grab the provisional No. 1 qualifying spot.
“Alan (Johnson) and Brian (Husen) have been watching the weather way before this and they had a pretty good handle on what we were supposed to do. Since we fell on our face in Arizona and Gainesville (Fla.), we didn’t want that to happen again. They field stripped that car four times and we found our problem, so now we are happy we found our problem and we can go race. I thought that run should have been a 68 or 69. I know what Alan is capable of and what these guys can do. I’m here for one thing, and that’s to win. If it doesn’t happen with Alan, then it is just not meant to be, but it is going to happen.”
Salinas lost in the second round in Phoenix to Billy Torrence and in the first round in Gainesville to Jordan Vandergriff.
“This year has been really nice because now I don’t have to worry about the car,” Salinas said. “I can jump in the car and go drive and have a great time. Top-notch and professional (is the crew). I want to beat Steve Torrence. He’s the best and that’s who we are going after. With this crew that we have I believe we can do it.”
Like every weekend this year Salinas will not only be focusing on his driving, but keeping a watchful eye on his daughters, Jianna, who competes in Pro Stock Motorcycle and Jasmine, who is racing in the Top Alcohol Dragster ranks. His daughters are also competing in Las Vegas this weekend.
“I’m just really happy for them that they are out here doing this,” the elder Salinas said. “Most people don’t get to see how hard they worked. The coolest part is both daughters, I made them put the first $50,000 to buy these teams out of their pockets. Jasmine sold her couch to finish off the $50,000, so it was cool. My kids, they work for everything, which is really awesome. I told them they put the first $50,000 that means they are dedicated. I’m having a great time, but my wife is a little nerve-wracked with it. I still have two more daughters coming in, so this is going to fun.”
Mike did acknowledge he has talked to legend John Force about having daughters involved in NHRA racing.
“I stopped him at one of the races and I asked him ‘How do you do this?’” Mike said. “With the emotions and you driving, ‘How do you do this?’ He told me he puts himself in a different place when he goes and drives. The nice part is he is well experienced, and I have to learn a lot from him if we are going to have our kids out here. One thing, I built strong, confident young women and I want them to live what they want to live and be strong as they can. They are running companies now and the coolest thing is I have them believing they can do anything.”
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019