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Kyle Salminen Has His Foot Firmly Planted on the Pedal in ARP Nitrous Pro Street

Posted By: Mary Lendzion
Written by Mary Lendzion
Photos by NMCA
 
It is easy to see that racers in ARP Nitrous Pro Street are experienced and efficient when it comes to getting the most out of their cars and combinations.
 
They mull over the data they collect on their passes, and then they carefully yet committedly make changes to improve upon already impressive reaction times and elapsed times.
 
Among those racers is Kyle Salminen of Port Charlotte, Florida.
 
Keeping his nose to the grindstone has helped him go places he dreamed of going when he started racing years ago, and a second-place finish in 2023 points proved that he and his Jerry Bickel Race Cars-built Cavalier are capable of capturing a class championship.
 
With a deep desire to do ever better, Salminen got off to a strong start in 2024 by securing a semifinal finish after running 4.20s at the U.S. Street Nationals in January at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida with a 632 cubic-inch Nelson Competition engine, Induction Solutions nitrous system and Liberty’s Extreme transmission.
 
Then he and his father, fellow racer, crew chief and tuner, Matt Salminen, bought a new 632 cubic-inch engine from Pat Musi Racing Engines, after consulting with Musi about what they wanted to accomplish. They installed it just a week before the Holley NMRA/Red Line Oil NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by Sipple’s Speed & Performance and Top of the Rock Thrill Festival presented by Innovation Performance Technologies in April at Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina.
 
“Our old engine was on an iron block, and our new engine is on a billet block, so it is lighter,” said Salminen. “Pat Musi also did our intake and worked on our Dart heads, and after we got the engine in the car, with our Induction Solutions nitrous system, Liberty’s Extreme transmission and FuelTech FT600, we went to FuelTech for a chassis dyno.”


 
Soon after that, Salminen made some test passes at the event at Rockingham Dragway, before ripping off a 4.23 to lead qualifying and then racing to the NMCA Winner’s Circle with a 4.26 to Nicole Liberty’s super-close 4.27.
 
“We were definitely happy with how the car was running with the new combination, and my dad and I think it has even more potential,” said Salminen. “We are just going to keep at it and see what we can change to make it run even better.”
 
Focused on another final round finish, Salminen set out for the Holley NMRA/Red Line Oil NMCA Race for the Rings & Saturday Thrill Festival in May at World Wide Technology Raceway in Illinois. He qualified in the third spot with a 4.27 and achieved a runner-up finish with a 4.26 to Leonard Grawburg’s 4.24.
 
“Weather changes during that event made tuning a little tricky,” said Salminen, who currently has the ARP Nitrous Pro Street points lead. “We had made some changes to our Neal Chance converter during a pre-event test session, but we ended up trying to go back to the baseline we had in Rockingham. After that race, we saw some things we thought we could improve upon, and we have been changing some ratios on the Liberty’s Extreme transmission and a few other things to get better as we go.”
 
The Salminens are now ready for the 22nd Annual Scoggin Dickey Parts Center Red Line Oil NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem, this weekend, May 30-June 2, at Beech Bend Raceway in Kentucky.
 
“We have learned some things this year, through trial and error, and we are willing to do what it takes to improve from here,” said Salminen. “We are looking forward to the race in Bowling Green. The last time my dad raced there, he won, and this will be my first time racing there.”


 

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