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Salemi, Musi Among Standouts in World’s Premier Eighth-Mile Racing Series

MARTIN, Mich. – At the wheel of what arguably are the most macho race cars on the planet, women continue to excel in the PDRA Pro Modified Series which returns this week (June 10-11) to US 131 Motorsports Park for the third annual Summer Drags.

Second generation standout Lizzy Musi of Mooresville, N.C., and fast-rising Melanie Salemi of Buffalo, N.Y., both have won races at the wheel of the erratic vehicles that have transformed the PDRA Series into one of the most popular in drag racing.

Moreover, both are expected to contend for a victory in the season’s fourth race.

Coming off a strong showing last month at the Texas Motorplex where she was the No. 1 qualifier while setting a new PDRA speed record, Musi will be among the favorites in the Pro Nitrous class at the wheel of a 2015 Dodge Dart powered by a massive 963 cubic inch engine built by her father, Pat Musi, himself a legendary performer in both Pro Mod and Pro Stock.

Salemi, meanwhile, will be a factor in Pro Boost despite the fact that she was plagued by mechanical issues in Carolina which rendered her 1968 Pontiac Firebird silent for a first round race against Texan Todd Moyer..

Few are more keenly aware of the catastrophic potential of the short-wheelbased Pro Mod cars than Musi. At 25, she already has survived three major crashes, two in Pro Mod and another in the transitional Top Sportsman category in which her younger sister Tricia has been an occasional participant.

As a result, few doubt her commitment to the sport or to the Pro Nitrous division in which she was a winner at Richmond, Va., in both 2014 and 2015.

The Pro Boost winner at Rockingham in 2015, Salemi’s Delta Faucet-backed Pontiac was built by her brother-in-law Jim Salemi in his G-Force Race Cars shop and is prepared and maintained by a crew led by her husband, Jon.

Her challenge at US 131 will be to put the first blemish on Pro Boost point leader Kevin Rivenbark’s 2016 ledger. The Wallace, N.C. driver, who was runner-up by just 14 points for the 2015 championship, has driven his 2015 Corvette to three straight victories this year, beating Salemi in the final at the opening race in Tulsa, Okla.

Originally from Canada, Salemi first distinguished herself in the Top Dragster category before getting an opportunity to go pro racing little more than a year ago. She presently is fourth in PDRA points but is less than a 100 points behind second place Paolo Guist of Osgoode, Ontario, Canada.

In addition to Pro Nitrous, Pro Boost and Pro Extreme, the three Pro Modified divisions contested within the series, champions also will be crowned in Pro Extreme Motorcycle, Top Sportsman, Top Dragster, two Jr. Dragster classes and in a newly-added Bracket Bash category for cars that cover the standard eighth-mile course in fewer than 5.00 seconds. That includes non-qualifiers in Top Sportsman and Top Dragster.

The streamlined PDRA format calls for three qualifying rounds Friday, the final round at 6pm, with side-by-side jet cars after the third qualifier (approximately 9:30 p.m.). On Saturday, there will be a last chance qualifying session at 10:30 a.m. with pre-race ceremonies at 3:30 p.m. and the first round of pro eliminations at 4 p.m. The jets will return for a final time after eliminations Saturday night.

Adult tickets, which include pit paces, are $25 each day although a $5 discount is available on-line at www.pdra660.com. Children 12 and under are free with a ticketed adult and parking also is free.