Melanie Salemi is ready to make the 2019 PDRA season her best yet in the Pro Boost class and she is pushing hard toward her goal of a championship. Her Resolution Racing Services Firebird has been in the hunt at each PDRA stop this year and she’s ready to have a breakout performance at one of her favorite tracks this weekend during the PDRA North-South Shootout.
Racing in the PDRA Pro Boost class really isn’t for a racer who lacks a killer instinct — it’s an eliminator full of seasoned Pro Modified pilots that know how to win with a boosted combination. Melanie fits right into this group with an impressive resume of PDRA and Pro Mod wins. Thus far in 2019, Melanie and her team have been in the mix at every PDRA race and are ready to capitalize on what they’ve learned at the Maryland International Raceway.
“We didn’t run in Maryland last year but it’s one of my favorite tracks to race at. Back in 2015, it’s where I got my Pro Mod license so it’s a special place for me. We’ve gotten to the semi-finals at both of the PDRA races this season. We’ve been able to qualify pretty strong in the Pro Boost field at each event, we just can’t get past the semi-final round. Hopefully, this will be the event where we can get over that hump, make it to the final round, and win,” Melanie explains.
The consistently strong performances that Melanie has been putting up this year aren’t a fluke — they come from a busy offseason for her and the team. Spending long hours in the shop and in the dyno room have proven to be very valuable. The mindset of fine-tuning every detail of the car to gain performance was the mantra in the offseason and continues every time the team arrives at a facility to race.
“We rebuilt everything on the car so it was fresh coming into 2019, along with making some small changes to it, as well. The big thing we did was spend a lot of time on the dyno with our engines. We spent many days and countless hours working on the engine and supercharger program. Jon [Salemi] was just fine-tuning everything with how the car performs. Most of our sponsorships and marketing partnerships include products, so we worked with them to develop things for the car. We make 120 runs a year and know how to get the car down the track, but it comes down to fine-tuning things so we can pick up some E.T. here and speed there,” Melanie says.
When you’re trying to win a points championship it’s vital to be in the hunt early so you don’t have a mountain to climb later in the season. Melanie has positioned herself well coming into the third race of the season against some difficult competition.
“The top three cars are all stellar performers so I really feel this year is going to be neck-and-neck with all three cars. Hopefully, we can pull off a couple of wins to get ahead, but the competition in the Pro Boost class is insane. You can’t discount anyone and you have to be pushing your car to the limits every run to be able to win. I think that if we got a chance to pick up the lead we would pound the ground and try our hardest. I’ve finished third in the points twice since I started running this car so I have my own personal goal to do better this year,” Melanie says.
As for her team’s strategy at the North-South Shootout, they aren’t showing up to play it safe at all. Each time Melanie rolls up to the waterbox on race day there won’t be anything held in reserve … it’s all about leaving everything on the track to go as fast as possible.
“Our strategy is to run our car the best we can every pass down the track and go into race day knowing we have to run as hard as we can every run. We’re going to hit the ground running on Thursday with testing and go forward from there. We race the track every pass and don’t worry about who’s in the other lane. Having the mindset of trying to run as fast as you can each pass will keep you in the show,” Melanie explains.
You can see Melanie Salemi and the rest of the PDRA Pro Boost stars fight for the win at Maryland International Raceway this weekend during the North-South Shootout. All of the racing will be shown live RIGHT HERE on SpeedVideo.com. This broadcast is brought to you by presenting sponsor Edelbrock along with DEI, Flying A Motorsports, Jerry Bickel Race Cars, Race Star Wheels, and TCI.