Mike Salinas came across the country from San Jose, Calif., this past week to the Northeast to pick up two items: his wife Monica’s diploma from Harvard University at Cambridge, Mass., and his own third Top Fuel trophy at Epping, N.H., at the NHRA New England Nationals presented by Bandero Premium Tequila.

The Scrappers Racing boss’ third statue will have to wait, while Monica’s diploma takes center stage by itself on the family mantel.

The Wally statue went to Texas with Billy Torrence Sunday.

But it just might end up standing guard beside the crib of a two-month-old little girl.

Capco Contractors Dragster driver Billy Torrence used a holeshot to defeat the quicker and faster Salinas in the Top Fuel final and earn his seventh overall victory.

Torrence used a quicker reaction time (.082 of a second) to win at 3.827 seconds and 324.44 mph against Salinas’ quicker and faster 3.816, 325.37 on New England Dragway’s 1,000-foot course.

Referring to granddaughter Haven Charli, who was born April 7 to points-leading son Steve and wife Natalie, Torrence, 63, said, “I won me a trophy for my little bitty granddaughter who’s no bigger than this trophy. Steve’s been winning ’em for her, so the old man showed up with one now.”

Since Haven Charli was born, her daddy has earned three victories in four final-round appearances. Now Grandpa has one for her after becoming the fourth different Top Fuel winner this year – and giving the family four trophies from the season’s seven completed Camping World Drag Racing Series events.

And the Texas pipeline-company owner from Kilgore gave credit to “the Good Lord for watching after me,” his Jason McCulloch-led crew, and a group of lobster fishermen: “I love this place. The fans here are outstanding. Some of those lobstermen from Maine sent us lobster last night. Had to be the lobster.”

After advancing to his first final round since the 2019 Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd, Minn., Salinas said, “It felt like this is where we belong [in a final round], running hard like we’re doing. We’re right there and we’ll keep improving.”

He said his Scrappers Racing team test for two days at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis before the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio, in two weeks. The Salinas family will test the Top Fuel dragster, two Pro Stock Motorcycles, their A/Fuel Dragster, and their Pro Mod.

Despite Steve Torrence’s loss to Salinas in their semifinal, Torrence actually extended his point lead over second-place Antron Brown from 140 points to 162. So Steve Torrence kept his lead, and Billy Torrence is third in the standings, an improvement of four places for Sunday’s winner.

“Another great job by the Capco boys,” Steve Torrence said.  “It would have been great to race my ’ol man in an all-Capco final round. But hat’s off to Mike Salinas and that Scrappers team.  We just didn’t have anything for them in the semis. But thanks to Billy and the boys, we’re taking another one of these little gold men back home to Kilgore.”

Now Haven Charli Torrence won’t need Daddy or Grandpa to win her a stuffed toy or kewpie doll on the midway at the Gregg County Fair over in Longview this fall.