Melanie (Simmons) Salemi recorded a breakthrough victory for the PDRA becoming the first female racer to win within the PDRA’s Pro Boost class – one of the PDRA’s three prominant Pro Mod class categories.  Home-state North Carolina racer “Tricky Rickie” Smith won a PDRA Pro Nitrous race for the second time this year at Rockingham Dragway, repeating his victory last spring at the facility.  Also scoring pro class wins at the eighth of nine scheduled events for the all-eighth-mile series, were points leader Jason Scruggs in Pro Extreme, Chuck Wilburn with his first Pro Extreme Motorcycle victory and Jody Stroud for the second time in Pro Open Outlaw.


In just her second outing with a new, supercharged MSR ’68 Firebird, Melanie Salemi, who is a native of Orillia Ontario and a former Top Dragster circuit racer, started from the third position in Precision Turbo Pro Boost with a 3.86 pass at 192.11 mph.  After that she ran the consistency of a bracket racer throughout eliminations, with runs of 3.86, 3.92, 3.86 and 3.86 respectively through Joe Baker, Larry Higgenbotham, Ric Fleck and finally Anthony Disomma to earn her first professional win.

Melanie (Simmons) Salemi made PDRA history last weekend.

“I’m completely overwhelmed. We’ve had this great vision of everything coming together and this is even better than what I imagined,” the now wife to Jon Salemi and resident of Buffalo, NY, declared. “First and foremost I have to thank my husband Jon, my brother-in-law Jim Salemi and Mike Stawicki, as well as my father, Roger Simmons. He couldn’t be here this week but we won it for him.”

In the final round, Salemi left first with a .047 light while Disomma was dead late at .158 in his twin-turbocharged ’67 Shelby Mustang. Regardless, Salemi also outran her opponent with a 3.86 at 192.63 as he put together a 3.87 at a slowing 123.84 mph.

“I knew I got out on him and I took a quick look over a couple of hundred feet out or so and still didn’t see him, but I was so worried he was going to come flying by me at the finish line,” Salemi described of her final run. “When I got there it just got quiet, but when I looked up and saw the ‘W’ on in my lane I just started celebrating in the car. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t hear from Jon for what seemed like an eternity, but he finally came on the radio and said he got mobbed on the starting line. It was pretty exciting.”

Driving her new Firebird, Melanie Salemi stopped Anthony Disomma's Mustang in the Pro Boost finale