Jianna Evaristo Flies To Final Round Finish For Scrappers Racing In Bristol

(Photo credit: Mark Rebilas)

Pro Stock Motorcycle standout Jianna Evaristo raced to the second final-round appearance of her career at the Super Grip NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at iconic Bristol Dragway. After qualifying in the top half of the ladder for the first time this season, the talented rider powered her Scrappers Racing Buell to an impressive runner-up finish against reigning world champion Gaige Herrera. Her sister, Top Fuel rookie Jasmine Salinas, also broke into the top half of the field for the first time in her burgeoning career. 

After overcoming a few early qualifying struggles on Friday, Jianna made a solid run of 6.865 seconds at 198.32 mph in the third qualifying session on Saturday to clinch the No. 6 position on the ladder aboard her Matt Smith-tuned Scrappers Racing Buell. She was slated to face No. 9 qualifier Marc Ingwersen in the first round of eliminations but Ingwersen was not able to make it due to engine issues that arose during qualifying, effectively giving Jianna a bye-run into the quarterfinals where she faced Chase Van Sant. Van Sant left the starting line a tick too early resulting in a red light and ceding the round-win to Evaristo. 

In the semifinals, Jianna faced Richard Gadson in a tremendous side-by-side battle that had fans on the edge of their seats. While Jianna had the starting line advantage, Gadson caught up to her within the first 330 feet. In a remarkable display of determination, Evaristo surged ahead of Gadson before the stripe and her pass of 6.898 at 196.50 defeated his 6.916 at 194.80, advancing Evaristo to her first final round of the season where she would face Pro Stock Motorcycle phenom Gaige Herrera.

Despite Herrera’s impressive win record, Jianna has bested him in competition before. In fact, in the previous three times that the two have faced each other, she’s defeated him twice. Anticipation was palpable as the two talented drivers lined up against each other. Jianna made her fastest pass of the event, laying down a blistering 6.861 at 197.94, but it was not enough to outpace Herrera who earned his ninth consecutive event win.

“Our team felt really good headed into this weekend after learning a lot in testing,” Jianna shared. “We knew that some of the adjustments we made were going to help us move in the right direction and qualifying in the top half of the field confirmed that for us. Going so many rounds in eliminations was a huge boost of both confidence and motivation, especially with all of the incredible fans in the stands supporting us. There is something really special about this track. While I would have loved getting that victory for my team, I’m proud of our performance. I’m working hard to step up my game so we can continue making progress.”

The Scrappers Racing Top Fuel team, led by Rob Flynn and Arron Cave, made encouraging advancements with fan-favorite Jasmine Salinas behind the wheel. They started the weekend on a positive note and maintained a consistently high-performing machine with each pass. Her first qualifying effort of 3.892 seconds at 319.60 mph was the second-best run of the session, earning her two valuable bonus points. However, it was her fiery pass of 3.814 at 326 mph under the lights of Bristol Dragway on Friday evening that would earn her the No. 5 qualifying position and the top speed of qualifying. Determined to learn more and develop her piloting skills with every lap down the track, Jasmine put on another stellar qualifying performance on Saturday as her Q3 run of 3.838 at 315.93 was the best of the heat, earning three additional bonus points. She finished qualifying strong with yet another impressive blast down the track running a 3.873 at 315.12.

Jasmine’s No. 5 qualifying spot pitted her against none other than Tony Schumacher, the winningest Top Fuel driver of all time, in the first round of eliminations. The pair put on a great show for the fans as they were neck-and-neck all the way to the stripe. Jasmine made a spectacular run of 3.802 at 328.78, her fastest of the event, but it was not enough to outpace Schumacher’s 3.794 at 325.61.

“I really wanted to turn on some win lights today,” said Jasmine. “We had a consistent car all weekend and I can’t say enough about this amazing crew. We earned our way onto the top half of the ladder and even earned some bonus points in qualifying. That’s what we’ve been looking for. I know that if we keep this up, those wins will come.”

The Scrappers Racing teams will next head to Richmond, Virginia for the next stop on the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series tour, the Virginia NHRA Nationals, June 21-23 at Virginia Motorsports Park. 

Imagination 9 PR

Spread the love