Mike Salinas sent a message in the final qualifying session at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals. The Scrappers Racing Top Fuel team will still play a role in the championship fight.
Salinas ran a 3.687-second pass at a staggering 330.55-mph in the Alan Johnson tuned Top Fuel dragster, passing Billy Torrence by .012-second to take the top spot for the first time since the NHRA Northwest Nationals. Salinas fell in the semifinals in that event and enters St. Louis in sixth place. He is racing full time for the second season and is chasing his first championship. He will race Cameron Ferre in the first round.
Torrence, who is racing for the championship for the first time, will take on part-time runner Kyle Wurtzel in the first round. He is racing from 10th place but already has two wins in 2019. His son, defending world champion Steve Torrence, is racing from fifth. The top seven racers are all stacked within .014-second of one another.
Auto Club Road to the Future Award contender Austin Prock will start his day from No. 3, matching the best race day start of his career. He will race T.J. Zizzo in the first round while chasing his second win of the season [Seattle]. Prock is riding a streak of four-straight appearances in the semifinals or better.
Doug Kalitta, who enters St. Louis as the Top Fuel leader, qualified 10th and will race his teammate and the most recent winner, Richie Crampton. That Kalitta Motorsports matchup will be one of the most interesting of the first round.
Race day is set to begin at 11 a.m. Central at World Wide Technology Raceway with Top Fuel. You can catch all the action live on NHRA.tv. Coverage begins on FS1 at 12 Central.