Yes, that's 300 mph in just 660 feet!
A few days ago at the zMAX Dragway in North Carolina, Mike Salinas achieved the unthinkable by reaching 300 mph in an eighth-mile run, thereby becoming the first member of the "Phillips Connect 300 at the 1/8" club. Representing Top Fuel, Salinas hit exactly 300.8 mph in the 1/8th-mile run in the final qualifying round at the 15th Betway NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Carolina Nationals.
No other driver in NHRA history has hit the 300-mile mark across such a short distance, and the achievement formed part of Salinas' track-record run of 3.647 seconds at 338 mph, making him the number 1 qualifier. The milestone was achieved in the 11,000-horsepower nitro category.
The "Phillips Connect 300 at the 1/8" club was only started last season. According to the NHRA, hitting the 300-mph mark was one of the last goals for race teams in the 11,000-hp nitro categories - at least, one of the last goals deemed achievable safely and controllably. For his achievement, Salinas will receive a $30,000 bonus. The next driver to hit 300 mph in the eighth-mile will get $13,000, and the third one to do it, $9,000. The program is open to ten competitors in total.
It's difficult for any driver who hasn't competed in racing at this level to comprehend hitting 300 mph in 660 feet, and comparisons can't even be drawn to the quickest road cars. Take the 1,025-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170, for instance, which is "only" traveling at an NHRA-certified speed of 151.17 mph when it clears the quarter-mile - it takes double the distance to reach half the speed that Salinas did.
"This is surreal," said Salinas. "Racers, we all dream about this. It's just amazing. We're inching up on things. This was not something we just stumbled on. The run itself, from half-track on, it was moving pretty good. To be able to do this and be the first at it, it's amazing."
"There can only be one first, and Mike is always going to be remembered for being the first to go 300 mph in the eighth-mile," said Phillips Connect EVP Jim Epler.
It's been 31 long years since the 300-mph barrier was reached in the quarter-mile, a drag racing milestone achieved by Kenny Bernstein, also known as "Bud King" and the "King of Speed." Salinas is now the new king of speed, thanks to his remarkable achievement in North Carolina.