TORRENCE HAS A NEW OPPORTUNITY AT TOPEKA
CAPCO Driver Trying to Channel Past Success in Kansas
May 21, 2015 -- The last time Steve Torrence won an NHRA world drag racing championship, the Heartland Park-Topeka track on which he will compete in this week’s 27th annual Kansas Nationals played a major role.
On his way to a 37-4 won-lost record that powered him to the 2005 NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster title, Torrence won nine times in 13 races and was 7-0 in two starts at Heartland Park, winning both the Kansas Nationals and an NHRA Lucas Oil Series event. That’s the kind of perfection the Texan will be seeking this weekend in his bid to drive the 10,000 horsepower, 330 mile-an-hour Capco Contractors dragster back into contention for the $500,000 NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel title.
Stung by last week’s first round loss at Atlanta, the 32-year-old cancer survivor barely had time to consider the ramifications before having to get ready for the this week’s eighth stop in the series. After falling back to ninth place, he’ll try to regain some of that lost ground on a track that has not been as kind to him as a pro as it was when he was racing in the alcohol division.
“We’re disappointed,” the four-time Top Fuel winner said of last week’s loss after a solid No. 4 qualifying effort, “but that goes with it. Everybody who leaves (an event) without that little gold man (the statuette awarded to NHRA event winners) is going to be disappointed. You just have to be mentally tough and look at the next race as an opportunity. So, this is our next opportunity to kick some butt.”
Torrence has been in serious contention the last several years for a Top Fuel title that would make him the only driver in NHRA history to have won world titles in both the Top Fuel and Top Alcohol divisions. Last year, he finished a career-best sixth even though he couldn’t get his car into the winners’ circle.
“That just shows how tough these guys are,” Torrence said of those against whom he is racing including seven-time and reigning World Champion Tony Schumacher. “There are no easy opponents out there and there aren’t any do-overs.”
On this Memorial Weekend, though, the Kilgore College graduate will have a little extra incentive with the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation logo prominently displayed on his race car. Torrence is helping to raise the profile of the non-profit which addresses the needs of spouses and family members in reacquainting themselves with first responders and military personnel after their deployment ends.
“Chris will be in our thoughts,” Torrence said. “It’s a good weekend for everybody at the races to remember that without the sacrifices made members of the military, we wouldn’t be free to be out here this week doing something we all love to do.”
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