CONCORD, N.C. — Mike Salinas became the first Top Fuel driver to reach 300 mph at the eighth-mile during his qualifying run for the Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway on Saturday night.
With an elapsed time of 3.647 seconds and speed of 338 mph, the Scrappers Racing dragster was able to hit 300.80 mph by the time he reached the eighth-mile mark on the North Carolina drag strip.
“The car has been so close in testing, so we knew we were going to do it, we just didn’t know when,” Salinas said. “Tonight was the time to do it…We’ve been inching up on things. This is not something that we just stumbled on, this is something we’ve been working on.”
Antron Brown qualified second, while Doug Kalitta, Brittany Force and Josh Hart completed the top five in Top Fuel.
Robert Hight shot to the top in the final Funny Car qualifying on Saturday night, powering down the drag strip in 3.824 seconds at 330.15 mph. The John Force Racing driver was all smiles at the top end of the drag strip, relieved to pick up his fifth No. 1 qualifier award of the season.
“We were pushing tonight. We were really wanting to go out there and get first spot, because that’s a by first round,” Hight said. “And in the Countdown, that’s a big deal.”
Hagan fired one final shot following Hight’s run on Saturday night, but the Tony Stewart Racing driver’s 3.825-second ET at 333.49 mph wouldn’t be enough to knock Hight’s fast time. Bob Tasca III, John Force and Ron Capps completed the top five.
Erica Enders was named the No. 1 qualifier in the Pro Stock category at the Carolina Nationals on Saturday night, with her 6.509-second run at 210.18 mph carrying over from Friday’s session.
It was the Elite Motorsports driver’s fourth No. 1 award of the year.
“Today didn’t really go as planned, but making that monster run yesterday definitely was significant. It showed that what we had in Reading carried over to here,” Enders said.
With the Pro Stock category being the first back on track following the rain-delay, only two of eight cars — belonging to Enders and Camrie Caruso — were able to make it down the drag strip during the final qualifying session on Saturday.
Caruso was second with her 6.525-second ET at 209.20 mph.
Aaron Stanfield, Bo Butner III and Greg Anderson completed the top five.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Gaige Herrera kept control of the No. 1 position on Saturday, due to the 6.731-second lap at 200.62 mph he set on Friday night. It marked his 10th No. 1 qualifier in 11 races.
After donning the yellow hat the top end of zMAX Dragway, Herrera calmly stated, “We just need to do what we’ve been doing all season.”
Eddie Krawiec was second with a 6.766-second ET at 200 mph.
Angie Smith, Chase Van Sant and Chip Ellis completed the top five.