Mike Salinas struggled for most of the weekend, but he saved the bulk of his performance for Sunday when it mattered the most. After he experienced issues on the first three of his four qualifying attempts, Salinas and his team were able to right the ship exactly when the time was right.
His Pep Boys/Scrappers Dragster would not be denied in Charlotte.
Salinas started Sunday in the No. 5 starting position. He finished second behind Doug Kalitta in their first-round quad and ahead of Ferre, Kalitta, and Justin Ashley in the semifinals.
In the final, Salinas pushed away from Cam Ferré, Josh Hart, and Spencer Massey to record his second victory this season and his first at zMAX Dragway. He moved up to second in the standings, just 17 points behind leader Brittany Force as the Camping World Drag Racing Series heads north to Virginia Motorsports Park, south of Richmond, in two weeks.
“We have a very, very consistent car," Salinas said. “The consistency of the car, the crew, everybody on the team, it's amazing. Rob Flynn is an amazing crew chief. All our runs (in eliminations) were in the 70s. We’ve worked so hard to get here. Most people don't understand this stuff is hard, We're racing the best guys in the world. But if you believe you belong here, do the right things to stay here, you're going to be here, and you're going to win."
"We worked so hard to get here. Most people don't understand; this stuff. Is hard, We're racing the best guys in the world. But if you believe you belong here, do the right things to stay here, you're going to be here, and you're going to win."
Ferre, driving for the Canada-based Paton racing team, was the ultimate underdog but used second-place finishes behind Ashley and Salinas to reach his first career Top Fuel final round. Hart had finished second behind Clay Millican in round one and first ahead of Massey in the semifinals, Massey had advanced to the semifinals on a double-holeshot win over Brittany Force and points leader Brittany Force in round one.
This was only the seventh time in the past 26 races that neither Steve Torrence nor Brittany Force appeared in a final round.
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