Salinas, Todd, and Butner Win Four-Wide Nationals at the Strip
Northern California native Mike Salinas picked up his first career NHRA win in Top Fuel dragster at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when the Strip hosted the 20th annual DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.
Having built his California-based scrap metal and garbage hauling business from scratch, Salinas has applied the same winning philosophy of surrounding himself with lots of talent. For the 2019 Mello Yello Drag Racing season, the 57-year old hired former Brittany Force crew chief Brian Husen to join his long-time tuning advisor Alan Johnson at Scrappers Racing. As an added bonus, Husen was able to bring several John Force Racing teammates with him, as JFR announced their intention to move in a new direction.
Reigning Funny Car world champion J.R. Todd drove the DHL Toyota Camry to a 3.970 ET at 319.07 mph to claim the win in Funny Car at the Las Vegas track. Todd eliminated an impressive threesome that included number one qualifier Tim Wilkerson, "Fast Jack" Beckman and eventual runner-up Tommy Johnson Jr. on his way to the victory podium. It was J.R. Todd's third consecutive events win at the Strip. When he returns to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the fall, Todd will attempt to join Greg Anderson and Erica Enders as the only Pro Stock drivers to win four consecutive events at the Vegas track.
Driving for Las Vegas businessman Ken Black, seasoned Pro Stock veteran Bo Butner relied on a triple holeshot in the Finals to claim victory over runner-up Matt Hartford. Butner's .030 RT may not have been the fastest light of the weekend but it was good enough to earn him another Wally for the trophy case. Butner now owns three of the first four Wallys handed out in Pro Stock for NHRA 2019 season. It was Butner's first win four-wide competition and his second win at the Strip in Las Vegas. With ten Pro Stock wins, Butner and his K.B. Racing Camaro will be sidelined for three races as Pro Stock division's reduced class schedule for 2019 returns to action at Richmond on May 17-19 for the Virginia NHRA Nationals.
The rest of the NHRA teams will travel east for the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil on April 12-14 at Houston Raceway Park.