Mike Salinas locked up his fourth No. 1 qualifying spot of the season, riding the strength of his Friday Q2 3.69 pass into the top position and then making another statement with the quickest pass of the final qualifying session with a 3.737 from the Alan Johnson-tuned Scrappers Racing entry. Salinas will get a bye in the first round due to the 15-car field.
“Well, tomorrow is a different day. You just go one day at a time and can get too far ahead of yourself and get yourself in trouble, but the rest of the guys know that we've got our stuff together,” he said. “So that's what's gonna be fun.
“Consistency is very important very important. That's how Steve Torrence won the championship and they're still dominant on what they're doing. So any time we go up qualifying we race and it's a race. It's the final somewhere. It's not a game.”
By and the large the ladder did not change below Salinas either as Brittany Force (3.702) and Steve Torrence (3.705) held onto the next two positions on the qualifying sheets. Force will face off against local racer Ron Smith, who only made it down the track once in his season debut, while Torrence, the reigning world champ and points leader, will square off with Steve Chrisman, who is making his second start of the season.
Leah Pritchett, who qualified fifth, had Saturday’s second-best pass, a 3.739 and will take on rookie Austin Prock, who had a fine series of qualifying passes (3.827, 3.778, 3.827, and 3.810), in round one. A number of other drivers also had great qualifying outings that will have them in the running for Sunday’s eliminations.
Terry McMillen missed just once, in Q2, but otherwise had three fine laps of 3.766, 3.776 (best of Q3), and 3.784. Hometown favorite Shawn Reed also looked really good in his first race since June in the Hughes Oilfield Transportation/Bob Vandergriff Racing entry with passes of 3.761, 3.744, and 3.800 and another full pull in Q4 that was lost to a timing malfunction.
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