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TORRENCE PLAYING ‘HOME GAME’
CAPCO Driver Aiming for Success at Houston

April 23, 2015 -- Energized by a newly-announced affiliation with the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, Steve Torrence aims to end the second longest victory drought of his pro career this week when he sends his 329 mile-an-hour Capco Contractors dragster after the Top Fuel championship in the 28th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway.

            Despite the fact that he is coming off what he called “the best season of my (pro) career,” the 31-year-old Texan hasn’t won an NHRA Mello Yello Series event since June 16, 2013, when he prevailed at Bristol, Tenn.  That’s a span of 43 races. Torrence has said “it feels like a thousand.”

            Mainly it has been a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time against the wrong opponent.  After all, Torrence finished just three round wins out of second place last year in a season in which his second straight runner-up finish in the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the sport’s biggest single event, was his only final round appearance. 

            Nevertheless, there are growing indications that the stars finally may be lining up for the talented Texan after consecutive strong performances at Charlotte, N.C., where he was runner-up to former World Champ Antron Brown in the 4Wide Nationals, and Las Vegas, Nev., where he was the No. 4 qualifier before losing a close second round duel to eventual race winner Richie Crampton.

            The fact that he’s playing a home game at Royal Purple may be a game changer for him.  Not only can he expect strong support from a partisan Texas crowd, he knows that a year ago, at the very same event, he had the best car on the grounds.  He qualified No. 1, went to the semifinals and narrowly missed a track record when he ran a best-of-the-day 3.776 in the first round.

            A four-time NHRA Top Fuel winner and a former World Champion in the Top Alcohol Dragster class (2005), Torrence started slowly this season, advancing beyond the first round only once in his first three starts.  At Charlotte, though, in his least favorite tour event, he lost to Brown by a scant .098 of a second. 

“That was a morale booster,” he said.  “Now we just have to take that next step.”

            A survivor of Hodgkins lymphoma, a disease with which he was diagnosed as a teenager and for which he still undergoes annual checkups, Torrence learned from that battle the importance of giving back which is why he is so excited about his affiliation with the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation which ministers to first responders and military personnel during the difficult transition from deployment back to civilian life.

            “We shared the same values and had a lot of the same interests,” Torrence said of the former Navy SEAL whose foundation logo he has incorporated into the newest paint scheme on his hybrid hot rod.

            “It was a good fit,” Torrence said.  “The military is a brotherhood and so is drag racing.  It’s a great cause and it would be great to celebrate it in the winners’ circle on Sunday.”

            Two qualifying sessions Friday and two more on Saturday will set the lineup for single elimination finals beginning at 11 a.m. on Sunday.  Final rounds in will be covered live by ESPN2 starting at 2 p.m.

 



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