Mike Salinas earned his first career Top Fuel victory at the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. He did so with a brand-new team, headed up by legendary tuner Alan Johnson and crew chief Brian Husen. Salinas, who began racing Top Fuel full time in the 2018 season, got up on stage at the following race a week later in Houston and promised his entire team Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Salinas delivered on his promise fewer than two months later at the Scrappers Racing shop in Brownsburg, Ind. Indy Bureau Chief John Kernan caught up with Husen and the rest of the crew as they fired up their motorcycles outside of the shop just days before the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties to celebrate their first win with their new driver.
The team, which has won multiple championships together (most recently with Brittany Force) got off to a flying start with Salinas. Scrappers Racing grabbed pole position at the last stop on tour, the Route 66 NHRA Nationals, and advanced to the final round. He fell to defending Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence but in reaching his third career final and second of the season, Salinas has already achieved a certain marker of success.
That will hardly satiate the ultra-competitive Californian. He showed up to testing in Arizona with one mission: winning a Top Fuel championship, knowing full well he has a team that's capable of delivering the goods. He'll have another opportunity to win, this time in Topeka beginning with qualifying on Friday. Racing begins with Top Alcohol qualifying at 1:30 p.m. Central Time.
Tickets are still available, but if you can't make it out to Heartland Motorsports Park, make sure you have a subscription to NHRA.TV or tune to FS1 beginning Saturday night for complete coverage of the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties.