LAS VEGAS – Mike Salinas picked up his first NHRA Top Fuel win Sunday at the 20th annual DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Salinas is the 107th different winner in Top Fuel history.
J.R. Todd (Funny Car), Bo Butner (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also victors in their respective professional Mello Yello Drag Racing Series categories.
Salinas started the race day from the No. 1 qualifying position. He powered his Scrappers Racing dragster to a victorious 3.801-second, 330.39 mph pass when he outran Brittany Force, Clay Millican and Doug Kalitta in the final round. Force finished as the Top Fuel runner-up.
“It means a lot,” Salinas said. “I have this program that I put in my head and I believed it would work. Alan Johnson (tuner) has been five years in the making. Didn’t say much, just let everything fall where it’s going to fall. We build something and now we can go racing.
“The important thing, for me, is that I have four daughters coming into the sport. I set the bar for my family all the time and now we have a good bar for them to reach and meet from the (Pro Stock) motorcycle, to the A-Fuel, to our Pro Mod coming, to everything we’re going to do. It’s going to be a great thing.”
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-second pass at 319.07 mph. 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 coming in second.
“It’s all Kalitta Motorsports,” Todd said. “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 season with his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevy Camaro team with his 6.677-second pass at 206.67 mph. 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’s Sunday win is his first four-wide win and his second win at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“I learned that you can’t be a lazy winner,” Butner stated. “The win light is off now and it’s time for the next race. We’ve got to work hard but I’m with the best team. I’m in the final with Greg and Jason, we’re like three brothers. It’s just great to get that with Ken (Black, team owner). It worked out to be a good day and just very blessed and can’t complain.”
Arana picked up the win on his Lucas Oil EBR amongst 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 cruised to a 6.907-second run at 195.97 mph to pick up his second win at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“That Lucas Oil motorcycle, she’s bad to the bone,” Arana said. “That’s just a testament to my team and the consistency. We weren’t the fastest but we were consistent all weekend. I worked on my lights and they got better and better and I stepped it up when I needed to step it up in the final because the final was stacked. I love going up against those guys. It makes me put out my best. It’s just something about racing those guys that you just dig deep and really go for it.”