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Nitrous Pro Street Racer Kyle Salminen Climbs Into Cavalier

Posted By: Mary Lendzion
Written by Mary Lendzion
Photos by NMCA Staff
Kyle Salminen’s father, Matt Salminen, had complete confidence in his son when he invited him to pilot his pristine blue 1969 Camaro for NMCA ARP Nitrous Pro Street competition a few years ago.
He also had a lot of data to share with his determined son, who has decidedly demonstrated some serious skills on the strip. 
During eliminations at the NMCA/NMRA race at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Michigan last July, however, the car began going into severe tire shake as it left the starting line, and Kyle and Matt discovered when they got it back to their home in Port Charlotte, Florida, that the four-link was broken.
“We were asking it to do more than it was designed to do,” said Kyle.
Knowing that it would take some time to make repairs to the blue 1969 Camaro, Kyle and Matt, who had recently traded a 1967 Chevelle they had for a black 1968 Camaro, decided to prepare that black 1968 Camaro for the final two races of the season, which were at Summit Motorsports Park in Ohio and Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in Indiana. It was a roller, and they set it up with the nitrous-enhanced and Nelson Competition-built 632 cubic-inch Chevrolet engine, Dart heads, Wilson Manifolds intake, FuelTech wiring harness, M&M Transmission-built Turbo 400 and wiring from the blue 1969 Camaro.

“We worked on that car every day until it was time to leave for the race in Ohio, because we really just wanted to finish the NMCA season, and we’re glad we were able to do that,” said Kyle.
When the race season ended, Kyle and Matt sold the black 1968 Camaro and bought a 2003 Cavalier with a Jerry Bickel Race Cars chassis they found online as a roller and had it delivered from the seller in Missouri to their home in Florida.
“We were doing well, but we know that the racers in Nitrous Pro Street are going faster and faster, and since our cars had factory front frame rails, we felt that it was time to pick up a purpose-built race car,” said Kyle, who finished in second-place in 2020, which was his first year in the category, followed by third-place in 2021 and fifth-place in 2022. “The Cavalier has a four-link and dual frame rails.”
After sending their tried-and true nitrous-enhanced 632 cubic-inch Chevrolet engine to Nelson Competition and their Turbo 400 to M&M Transmission to be freshened, they installed them in the Cavalier.
“We had to make a few modifications to get the transmission to fit,” said Kyle. 

When the work was done, the Salminens headed to the 29th Annual Ryno Classifieds NMRA Spring Break Shootout presented by Nitto in early March at Orlando Speed World Dragway in Florida, where Kyle — who had never driven the car before —qualified in the second spot out of 11 cars with a 4.39 and 164 mph, won the first round of eliminations with a 4.36, won the second round of eliminations with a 4.31, had a solo pass in the semifinal round of eliminations and finished as the runner-up with a 4.32 against David Fallon Jr., who was not far ahead with a 4.28.
“The car felt completely different from the Camaro I had driven the past few years,” said Kyle. “It definitely put me back in the seat a little more when launching, and went as straight as an arrow down track. We recorded our best 60-foot time ever that weekend with a 1.01, and we were really happy with the car. It definitely has even more potential.”
Kyle is now aiming for the NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by MAHLE Motorsport, which is April 14-16, 2023 at Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina. He hopes to get several test passes in before qualifying.
“We only have eight passes on the car right now, so we need more passes to get more data, but we are looking forward to the rest of the season,” said Kyle. “While I’m in the 2003 Cavalier, my dad is going take the blue 1969 Camaro back to No Time racing, so we have some exciting things going on.”


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