TORRENCE SEEKS RETRIBUTION AT U.S. NATIONALS
Double-Team Effort by Two Capco Contractors Top Fuel Dragsters
August 28, 2014 -- With the start of this week’s 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway, Steve Torrence will have gone one full calendar year without taking his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster to a final round in the NHRA’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
If that was a test, the 31-year-old Texan aced it.
Torrence not only survived a series of frustrations that likely would have devastated most others, he actually enhanced his reputation as a one of the elite performers in the sport’s ultimate class.
Without a win or a runner-up to show for his efforts, the avid hunter and outdoorsman rolls into Indy for drag racing’s biggest event in fifth place in Mello Yello points. He is the only driver without at least one final round appearance to make the starting lineup in the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship.
Furthermore, the fact that the tour moves this week to a racetrack on which he has had previous success and that he’ll be racing with his dad, Billy, provides a boost in confidence that he hopes to parlay into his fifth career Top Fuel victory.
After overcoming Hodgkins lymphoma as a teenager, surviving the current winless streak, his longest as a pro, is child’s play.
“We’ve had some success at Indy,” Torrence said. “We’ve been runner-up three times in Top Fuel (twice in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout and once in the Labor Day classic) and we won here the year we won the (Top Alcohol) championship (2005). Plus, we know we have a bad ass race car.”
Indeed, Torrence has had a car capable of winning every race this season. He’s started from No. 1, he’s posted quick time on race day, top speed of the meet, has earned more qualifying bonus points than anyone except points leader Doug Kalitta and actually has won more racing rounds (17) than he did a year ago – and that’s with seven races remaining.
Moreover, because he struggled in last year’s Countdown, Torrence believes he and crew chief Richard Hogan will be much better prepared for this one.
Before they can focus on the $500,000 championship, though, Hogan and Torrence have some unfinished business at Indy and the fact that they aren’t in Saturday’s Traxxas Shootout may be a blessing in disguise.
“It would’ve been kick ass to race for the Traxxas money again this year after being runner-up the last two,” Torrence said, “but, at the same time, not being in gives us a chance to focus on winning on Monday – and that’s what we really want to do.”
Having his dad occupying a pit spot adjacent to his own is a double positive for the Kilgore College graduate.
Not only does it provide moral support, it also means two times the data from which Hogan, Bobby Lagana and Donnie Bender can glean information necessary to make the critical tune-up decisions on both Capco dragsters.
The master plan is for Billy Torrence, who has been racing sportsman cars for more than 20 years, to run the second Capco car at Indy and every race in the Countdown, just like he did a year ago.
“That makes a big difference, especially when you’re racing against all these other multi-car teams,” Torrence said.
As for the elder Torrence, racing with his son is a way to get away from the pressures of running Capco Contractors, a Texas company he founded almost 20 years ago and one that has become an industry leader in pipeline construction and maintenance.
“It’s a special relationship we have,” said the 56-year-old who himself has been an NHRA national event runner-up in Super Comp. “I always love to go and race with Steve. That little stint of racing I did with him last year, I had a great time. I hope I can get out there (in the Countdown) and do some good for the team.”
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