Salinas gets first NHRA win

Mike Salinas 


Mike Salinas claimed his first career NHRA win on Sunday, Apr. 7, at the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, rolling to a win in a final foursome that also featured Brittany Force, points leader Doug Kalitta and Clay Millican.


But Salinas was first off the line and finished off his dream weekend with an impressive 3.801-second run at 330.39 mph in his Scrappers Racing dragster, earning his first trip to the winner’s circle in the process.


“This feels great. It’s my first win ever in motorsports, so it’s really cool and means a lot,” said Salinas, who jumped to second in Top Fuel points. “We’ve built something. The important thing for me is I’ve got four daughters in or coming into the sport. Now we have a good bar for them to reach and meet. It’s going to be a great thing. NHRA has been amazing with us and it’s pretty awesome. It’s pretty surreal to be honest with you.”


Salinas had been building to this moment since putting together an all-star team in the off-season. With Brian Husen as crew chief, Alan Johnson as tuning advisor and Arron Cave as assistant crew chief, Salinas was determined to win and it took just four races in the 2019 NHRA season to do it.


The reigning Funny Car world champion Todd drove his DHL Toyota Camry to pick up the Funny Car title on Sunday with his 3.970 pass at 319.07. He has won three consecutive events at the Las Vegas track.

Todd faced a final four of Tommy Johnson Jr., Jack Beckman and No. 1 qualifier Tim Wilkerson, with Johnson Jr. coming in second.


“It’s all Kalitta Motorsports. It seems like ever since I’ve come on board with this team, we’ve always run well here. This whole team, all four cars, have a really good handle on this place, especially Todd Smith and Jon (Oberhofer, crew chiefs). It seems like the more we come here the better grip they get ahold of this place.”


In Pro Stock, Butner picked up his third win of the 2019 season with his Jim Butner's Auto Chevy Camaro team with his 6.677 pass at 206.67. The 2017 world champ got the final win light of the day with his triple holeshot victory over the quad of Matt Hartford, Jason Line and Greg Anderson. Hartford was second to the stripe and finished as the runner-up. Butner, Anderson and Line are all in KB Racing-powered Camaros. Butner was also No. 1 qualifier.


Butner’s Sunday win is his first four-wide win and his second win at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Eddie Krawiec (top) is in front because he started just a little too soon. 


Arana Jr. picked up the win on his Lucas Oil EBR among a quadrant of champions consisting of reigning champ Matt Smith, five-time champion Andrew Hines and four-time champion Eddie Krawiec. Smith came in second as Hines broke on the starting line and Krawiec fouled out with his red light start.


Arana Jr. cruised to a 6.907 at 195.97 to pick up his second win at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway facility. 

Pluchino father and son are PDRA winners at season opener

John Pluchino (near lane) got the XPS win over Todd Hoerner with a 4.085/177.04 to Hoerner’s 4.171/175/41. 


Father-son racing duo John and Johnny Pluchino earned a long-awaited double-up at the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) East Coast Nationals presented by FuelTech at GALOT Motorsports Park on April 7. John Pluchino won in Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock and Johnny Pluchino started his 2018 championship defense with a win in Schwing America Pro Outlaw 632 presented by Precision Chassis.


The other professional class event champions were Kevin Rivenbark in Moroso Pro Boost and Jim Halsey in Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous. The first-ever Classic Graphix Pro Mod Challenge victory went to Todd Fontana. Mo Hall secured the victory in Atomizer Racing Injectors Outlaw 10.5 presented by Drag 965.


We will have a full race report tomorrow.


The PDRA will return to action in May for the first of two stops at Virginia Motorsports Park, the Mid-Atlantic Showdown presented by Modern Racing, May 2-4 in Petersburg, VA. 

Three Rampage members get SFI certification and head for ‘alien’ debut

Matt Nissen’s “Runnin’ Down A Dream” Corvette is based in Nebraska and runs with the Rocky Mountain Superchargers series.


Three members of the Funny Car Rampage team, Competition Liaison Brent Wildenstein, Roger Kuyatt and Ed Arcuri, have achieved certification from SFI through NHRA’s Division 5.


And first stop for the Colorado-based series’ 10th season is Alien City Dragway in Roswell, NM. (How can you not want to check this out?) Date for the event is Saturday, May 18.


Scheduled for six Funny Cars, Arcuri says they will double the winner’s purse if eight competitors show up. For more information or to sign up to attend contact ed@arcurimotorsports.com.

McGrotty takes ANDRA Super Gas championship before final event

With no Super Gas competitors entering last weekend’s ANDRA Grand Finals, Adrian McGrotty was named the 2018/19 Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series Super Gas Champion before the event.


His title win came based on his performance during the rest of the season, while 2017 Super Gas champion Colin Griffin has been heralded as the runner-up.


McGrotty is one of two champions now confirmed for the 18/19 season, joining Jake Berias who was celebrated as the champion for the Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster bracket in February.


We’ll have all the results from the final event of the Australian season later this week.

‘Hemi Under Glass’ Hellephant coming for 2020

Mike Mantel, owner and driver of the iconic “Hemi Under Glass,” has announced that there will be a new version of the car targeted for 2020.


“The ’68 car I am currently driving is the longest performing Hemi Under Glass with significant history,” Mantel said. “We will continue to tour with the ‘68 car and plan to have it where ever the new generation car goes so people can enjoy seeing more than 50 years of history and evolution of the brand.“


Mantel continued, “I have been considering a new generation Hemi Under Glass for three years and I believe timing is right to do it. The new Gen 3 426 Hellephant engine with its 950 lb-ft of torque and 1,000 hp will have the power we need to wheelie the car down the full quarter mile and is a proper fit for the year and make of the car. Right now, our plan is to use the LX platform Challenger. There is rumor that Chrysler may be coming out with a Barracuda and we would love to use that if the chassis and look of the car would work. Otherwise, the current Challenger is a good fit for us.” 

NHDRO will open season at Gainesville

QO Bikes Real Street will make their first NHDRO appearance with streetable combinations of nitrous, turbos, or mountain motors delivery their power through street tires. Wes Brown (shown), Clark Proctor, John and Jason Fernandez, Johnny “Turbo” Dobrin and others will be in the competition. 


The NHDRO will begin their 2019 season at Gainesville Raceway just weeks after record-setting runs at the Florida track at the NHRA Gatornationals.


April 12-14 marks the first all-motorcycle drag race at the track since the glory days of AMA/Prostar and AHDRA.

JFR hires Director of Corporate Partnerships

John Force Racing has hired Justin Kamm as its Director of Corporate Partnerships. In that role he will be tasked to create new sponsor partnerships for the teams working with Director of Marketing Kelly antonelli and Director of Public Relations Sara Slaughter.


Kamm, 32, most recently worked for IRGSE (owner of the IHRA and several race tracks) as Director of Corporate Partnerships. He worked for five years with New Jersey Motorsports Park where he was Director of Marketing, Events and Sales. 

New Product of the Day


Kaase SR-71 Cylinder Heads

Well, the name got our attention, being long-time fans of the SR-71 Blackbird aircraft. But these SR-71 Cylinder Heads from Jon Kaase Racing Engines fit conventional big block Ford intake manifolds and headers, providing straighter, faster paths for air-fuel mixture to reach the valves.  



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