Aspiring Canadian female racer Melanie Salemi will continue her rise to prominence but with more of a “big league” presence in 2018….

The popular and versatile driver who hails originally from Orillia, Ontario, but now resides with her husband Jon Salemi in the Buffalo New York area, has revealed plans for her talented MSM Pro Mod racing team to have more of a NHRA national event presence in 2018. That development will begin with the season opening (for the E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Drag Racing Series class) during the Amalie Oil Gatornationals in mid March, in Gainesville FL.

Melanie Salemi

Melanie did race at one NHRA national event last season (her first ever), when she entered competition at last autumn’s AAA Midwest Nationals at St. Louis —  the first time that a female racer had raced in NHRA’s Pro Mod class category since 2012.

“We’ve been involved now in the Pro Mod class since 2015,” Melanie confirmed. “We’ve come to a point were we are just interested in trying to compete at the next level and getting our team the most exposure possible. We have a lot of marketing partners that we work with and feel we just needed to take the steps in doing whatever we can to compete on the biggest stage there is.”

“We have been working up to it for a while now,” she continued. “And I really enjoy racing the entire quarter mile. Back at our shop (in Buffalo) we are at a spot where we could work on our engine combination and on the dyno extensively over the winter and that has allowed us to focus on our NHRA set up.”

While a full 12-race NHRA season is certainly on the radar for the Melanie Salemi Team, they have confirmed some possible continued participation within the PDRA’s 1/8th mile Pro Boost class category, where Melanie has had an impact and where most of their event attention has been the past two seasons.

The Melanie Salemi Motorsports Firebird has already run well on the 1/4 mile – evidenced by their #1 qualifying effort (5.71 secs) during last year’s “Shakedown at the Summit” event in Ohio.

“Historically we were changing our combination up many times between races (our Outlaw engine and NHRA spec engine),” she explained. “So this year we are going to try not to do that as much. We will just continue to work with our same combination throughout the year – no matter where we go.  There are a lot of differences between the way the car was set up from PDRA to run NHRA.”

For Melanie, who races within prime conjunction with her husband Jon Salemi (Owner/Founder of Resolution Racing Services) and her brother-in-law Jim Salemi (Owner/Founder of G-Force Race Cars) and also Mike Stawicki (Owner/Founder of MSR Performance), she is optimistic about the coming 2018 racing season, with realistic objectives.

Melanie with Jim Salemi (owner of G-Force Race Cars)

“We realize that the completion in the NHRA’s E3 Pro Mod class is at the highest level there is,” she added. “As a team we want to focus on being able to make good solid runs and continue to do a lot of testing. We want to be able to make a good qualifying efforts at each race and ultimately be successful at this endeavour –while staying humble.”

Just Announced — New Era Partnership!

(In some important related news) – New Era Cap, who currently partners with NASCAR and INDYCAR in the motorsports world, will expand to include the (NHRA) in a role as the official headwear of Melanie Salemi Motorsports (MSM. New Era will provide headwear to the MSM team for all 12 races in the 2018 season. Melanie Salemi, who drives the “Purple Reign” Firebird, brings over 20 years of racing experience to the Pro Mod line-up. Most recently, she completed a three-year stint in the PDRA Pro Boost where she placed third in points for 2016 and 2017 and earned a Spring National Championship last year.

Fans can purchase all driver headwear and some MSM team products starting in February.

“Melanie is a rising star in the sport” says Billy Rieck, product lead for NHRA headwear at New Era. “Her Buffalo-based team will definitely make an impact on the track this season, so it was an easy decision to partner with MSM”.

“If you surround yourself with great companies and great people only the same will come for yourself,” said Melanie. “Myself and my team are on a quest to be the best in our class of Pro Modified drag racing. The cross marketing availability is endless between both parties and fact of the matter that both New Era and MSM are based in Buffalo, New York is the icing on the cake. New Era and MSM both see the value in each other’s marketplace and that is the exciting side of this venture in 2018 and beyond.”

For more information about MSM, please visit or


For more information about New Era visit:

Posted by Bruce Biegler
Photos by Brennan Shortall and Dave DeAngelis