Jasmine Salinas testing Nitro Dragster in Advance of Full-Season 2024 Debut in Top Fuel

Jasmine Salinas executes her burnout in a Scrappers Top Fuel dragster - Mark Rebilas photo
Jasmine Salinas executes her burnout in a Scrappers Top Fuel dragster – Mark Rebilas photo

NHRA’s Scrappers team is growing in the Camping World Drag Racing Series. Mike Salinas, the father of two racing daughters, has had a great start to his 2023 season, winning the opening salvo in Top Fuel at the 54th annual Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals. At the same race, he watch as daughter Jianna rode her Pro Stock Motorcycle Suzuki to a semifinal result, even besting six-time Matt Smith in a straight-up fight.

Daughter Jasmine, an outstanding driver in Top Alcohol Dragster was unable to make the field in Gainesville and her class didn’t run in Phoenix (neither did Pro Stock Motorcycle). Mike Salinas didn’t have the Phoenix results he was hoping for, out after two rounds when forced to meet eventual victor Justin Ashley in the quarterfinal runs.

Everyone in that household is turning a page now, especially Jasmine. Her Top Alcohol Dragster (TAD) NHRA category has traditionally been one where newcomers to big horsepower race to gain sufficient experience so that they can suitably prep themselves for the Top Fuel big leagues. Following the 35th annual – and purportedly the final – NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park outside Phoenix, on Monday Jasmine Salinas made her first launches behind the wheel of a nitro-powered Top Fuel dragster.

The 31-year-old is working to obtain her NHRA Top Fuel license as she preps to compete full-time in Top Fuel starting next season. In Monday’s session, Salinas ran a total of three launches and made it successfully to the 330-foot mark. She’ll continue her testing on The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in April, intending to make her first 1,000-foot passes.

Jasmine Salinas, who began racing in Junior Dragster at 15, began working for her family’s Top Fuel team after college. She’s been a “floater”, one who helps out where needed, as well as a supercharger assistant. She currently serves as the various Scrappers Racing teams’ general manager and handles all day-to-day operations for herself, her sister and her father.

Salinas is ready to joining dad Mike in a Top Fuel dragster next year – Mark Rebilas photo

In her Top Alcohol Dragster class, where Salinas has competed since 2019, the Californian has earned three victories. She intends to compete full-time in TAD throughout the 2023 season, while testing the team’s Top Fuel dragster in preparation for her 2024 entry to the class.

There is a big difference between these two dragsters, as Jasmine Salinas quickly discovered. “My initial reaction was, ‘I know I didn’t even make a full pull and the power of these cars is absolutely incredible.’” It was then that she realized this transition will take time and needs to be done in a methodical fashion. Making her first three pulls “gave me even more respect for these cars and the power that they have. I want to respect it so much and take my time with it, because the horsepower and how fast it was. I’ve 100 percent fallen in love with it and I’m ruined. I will be even more ruined when I make my first full pass,” she declared.

Her father, of course, “was a hot mess all day,” as his daughter attempted to do the same things he does by rote in a Top Fuel dragster. Her mother, too, reminded Jasmine that she didn’t have to drive this car. “Are you sure you want to do this?” she asked. But still, both parents hung around as Jasmine made her runs. “And it was special because, you know, my routine from when I’m getting suited up and everything, I always hug my mom before I get in my race car. And she was there even for these runs.”

In prepping for her first full day in a Top Fuel nitro-powered, 11,000-horsepower rail, Jasmine Salinas kept her cool. “There was nobody that had put any expectations on me. I didn’t put any expectations on myself except to just show up and hit the throttle. And I was just really grateful and appreciative that I have this opportunity to take it at my own pace… “

Jasmine Salinas will be back in her Top Alcohol Dragster this weekend during the 63rd Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals on the In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragster, hoping to gain her fourth overall and first victory of the season during NHRA’s first “Western Swing.”

About Anne Proffit 1070 Articles
Anne Proffit traces her love of racing - in particular drag racing - to her childhood days in Philadelphia, where Atco Dragway, Englishtown and Maple Grove Raceway were destinations just made for her. As a diversion, she was the first editor of IMSA’s Arrow newsletter, and now writes about and photographs sports cars, Indy cars, Formula 1, MotoGP, NASCAR, Formula Drift, Red Bull Global Rallycross - in addition to her first love of NHRA drag racing. A specialty is a particular admiration for the people that build and tune drag racing engines.

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