Northern California’s Mike Salinas will return to Top Fuel action at his home track for the 2014 NHRA Sonoma Nationals. His team will be led by two veterans of NHRA Drag Racing, Rob Wendland and Danny DeGennaro, who will be co-crew chiefs on the Scrappers Top Fuel dragster.
“We’re glad to have Rob and Danny on board; they bring the experience needed for the dragster to compete against the bigger teams,” said Salinas, team owner and driver. “We all work well together and are looking forward to a strong showing on the track. We are also looking forward to hosting a lot of sponsor guests and family friends in our pit area hospitality.”
The race team came together a couple of weeks ago, and it’s been non-stop work to get the dragster ready for Sonoma.
“We’ve been working day and night the last two weeks,” said Wendland. “We completely disassembled the dragster and put it back together with some new additions. I’m glad Danny DeGennaro could also be part of the team. We’ve worked together in the past and are on the same page for tuning and performance. We are excited to get Mike back in the dragster and have him step on the pedal.
“Our goal is to establish a baseline to point us in the right direction, to qualify and ultimately go some rounds on race day.”
Salinas is a second-generation racer from San Jose, Calif. He heads up the Scrappers Racing team with his wife, Monica, and works with the third generation of Salinas drivers; daughters Jasmine and Jacquelin compete in nostalgia race cars, and Jianna and Janae drive Jr. Dragsters.
Danny DeGennaro, left, and Rob Wendland will tune Salinas' dragster in Sonoma.
As crew chief for former NHRA Funny Car driver Johnny Gray, Wendland won four NHRA national events in 2013 and a combined seven races over the past three seasons. Wendland has been helping various Top Fuel teams this season. Last weekend in Denver, he worked on Jeff Diehl’s Funny Car and jumped in to help Jenna Haddock’s Top Fuel dragster team after an upset victory over Tony Schumacher.
DeGennaro has an impressive résumé, having worked for John Force Racing, Cruz Pedregon, Kenny Bernstein Racing, and Joe Amato.
Salinas last competed at the 2012 NHRA Finals in Pomona, where he made it to the quarterfinals. As of now, the team’s 2014 plans are to race in Sonoma, Seattle, Las Vegas, and Pomona at the NHRA Finals.
“If the car exceeds our expectations, who knows; we may have to make a trip out East in the next couple months to compete in more races,” said Salinas.