TORRENCE LOSES HEARTBREAKER TO SCHUMACHER
Capco Contractors Dragster Faces Long Odds in Mello Yello Title Bid
October 5, 2014 --The clock may have struck midnight Sunday on Steve Torrence’s Cinderella bid for the Mello Yello Top Fuel championship.
After taking out three-time former series champion Larry Dixon in the first round of the 30th annual NHRA Keystone Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, the talented Texan lost the glass slipper against point leader and seven-time champion Tony Schumacher by the narrowest of margins.
Schumacher won the second round race in 3.752 seconds at a finish line speed of 325.30 miles per hour. Torrence trailed in 3.767 seconds at 326.40 mph, his quickest and fastest run of the entire weekend.
That may have been the defining moment in Torrence’s season because, when the chase resumes Halloween weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he and his Capco Contractors dragster will be 143 points off the lead.
Overcoming that deficit would require Torrence to do something he hasn’t been able to do all year – and that is win a race. In fact, it involves winning not one, but both of the remaining events. Even then, Schumacher would have to exit in the first round at both races to give the Texas a reasonable chance to make up the deficit.
Barring that unlikely scenario, the 31-year-old cancer survivor will have to be satisfied with turning in his best-ever performance in a Countdown. After winning just three total rounds the last two years, he will move on to Las Vegas with a 6-4 record in these playoffs and a chance to finish as high as second in points, an enormous achievement for his family-backed team.
“We had our chances,” lamented the graduate of Kilgore College, “but we just came up short. It’s a big blow because we know we have a great team and a great race car. My guys have worked their tails off and you’d like for them to get something back. We’ll just go on to the next two races and treat them just like we would have if Tony hadn’t run off from everybody.
“Our goal now is to finish as high as we can and end the year with a little momentum” said the four-time tour winner. “At the start of the year, everybody thinks they can win it all but you come down to the last few races and you know there’s only gonna be one champion and this year it looks like it’ll be Tony again.
“That’s just more motivation for next year.”
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