The last three races Top Fuel driver Mike Salinas has competed, in Norwalk, Ohio, Denver and Sonoma, Calif., did not end well. They were all first-round losses.
Salinas changed his fortunes Friday night at the Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle.
Salinas qualified as the provisional No. 1 with a 3.694-second elapsed time at 327.66 mph in Q2.
“I think he was going to try and shoot for a 68,” said Salinas of his renowned tuner Alan Johnson. “I think he was going for a 68 and funny, the car has a lot more left in it. I think he’s just testing the waters, which is how he wants to do it, but the car has a lot more in it. Really smooth, really clean, real nice.”
Salinas wasn’t making any bold predictions for Saturday.
“They are going to try,” said Salinas when asked if his team could go faster in Saturday’s two qualifying sessions. “Depending on the weather, if the track gets hot, you will not see those numbers, but I know they will get close. There will be a 71, 72, that is in the heat. The Torrences are awesome. Brittany (Force), there is nobody who is messing around. We have Clay (Millican), Brittany, everybody is stepping up. You better bring your ‘A’ Game, or else you are going to go home early.”
At the top end of the track after his Q2 run, Salinas didn’t know his ET, but Steve Torrence did.
“Steve came over and said that was a good run,” Salinas said. “He (Steve Torrence) sets the pace for this field right now. When you get a compliment from him, it is really, really nice. This sets the recipe for the rest of the weekend (for us). As long as we do our job, we know the crew is going to do its job, I need to do my job and we will have a great showing this weekend.”
Salinas arrived in Seattle sixth in the points standings.
“Or goal, just like everybody else’s we need to leave Indy in the No. 2 position,” Salinas said. “We have to quit messing around and we have to win a couple of these races. We have this one, Brainerd (Minn.) and Indy. We just need to knock on Steve’s door. The coolest part is I won in Bristol (Tenn.) and his father (Billy Torrence) was like the second or fourth call I received and congratulated me. That’s what racing is about. Class act people.”
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019