Shortly before the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Series racing season was set to begin February, Mike Salinas, the owner and driver of the Scrappers Racing Top Fuel dragster, announced he was going to set out the first four races for business reasons.
Salinas did miss the season-opening Winternationals and the following event in Phoenix. Then, March 12 at the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., racing was halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Racing is scheduled to resume July 11-12 and July 18-19 in Indianapolis, but Salinas and his daughters, Jianna, who pilots a Pro Stock Motorcycle and Jianna’s older sister, Jasmine, who drives an A-Fuel dragster, will not be there either.
“I want to go back when it is ready and they have all the bugs worked out and then we will come in (and race),” Mike said. “We are not going to the first two races and we will wait and see, and our first race will be the U.S. Nationals (Sept. 3-6 in Indianapolis) and my daughters are going to do the same thing. They are with me. We race as a family.”
When racing went on hiatus, Salinas gave his 10 crew members from his Top Fuel team – including co-crew chief Brian Husen – the option to come work with him in his waste management companies in San Jose, Calif.
“I told my guys you have been on payroll and you’re still working on the race car and there’s not much to do over there because we are not sure if we are going to go or not,” Salinas said. “I said, I will tell you what you can come to California and work 15 days. I told them they could work 15 days on, 15 days off. These guys have a good work ethic and we’re going to win races with this group.”
Salinas said he didn’t show his drag racing crew any preferential treatment when working with his company.
“We put them out there doing harsh jobs, driving trucks, parking trucks, loading trucks,” Salinas said. “We also have them doing toilet deliveries, cleaning toilets because of all the businesses we own because we own a big port-o-potty business. We also have them dealing with rental fences. These guys are no joke.”
According to Salinas, the 10 Top Fuel crew members are returning to San Jose July 13 for their second 15-day cycle.
“I don’t respect anyone who doesn’t work hard, and these guys have been with me driving trucks, loading trucks and doing the jobs we have with all our different companies,” Salinas said. “These guys jumped right in and worked seven days a week, 15 to 17 hours a day. I will put those guys up against anybody. Even Alan Johnson’s daughter came here to work in the office.”