CAPCO Driver Bows Out in Second Round at Charlotte

September 20, 2015 -- Take Antron Brown out of the equation and who knows how many NHRA tour events Texan Steve Torrence might have won the last few years at the controls of the Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster.

Unfortunately, Brown still looms large for Torrence, the 32-year-old Texan who on Sunday remained winless against the 2012 World Champion after his 10,000 horsepower hybrid suffered an almost immediate loss of traction in a second round showdown at the eighth annual NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway. 

Although he earned three qualifying bonus points, was the third quickest qualifier, put up the fastest finish line speed of the event (320.36 miles per hour) and took out Australian expatriate Richie Crampton in the first round, Torrence never mounted a challenge against Brown.

“When you get shots like that, you need to take advantage,” Torrence said, “and we couldn’t do that today.  It was big to give Richie a little payback for what he’s done to us at Indy the last couple years, but we had chance to really move up the (Countdown) ladder.

“(Crew chief) Richard Hogan and the boys gave me a great car and I’ve been trying to do a little driving but it was up in smoke (spinning the tires) as soon as I hit the gas.  That’s a sick feeling.  You’re watching the other guy just drive away.

“We’ll regroup and get after ‘em again in St. Louis (at this week’s 18th annual AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals),” said the cancer survivor and former Top Alcohol Dragster World Champion (2005).  “I still feel like we can make a run but you can’t give away too many shots like we had today.”

Butt for Brown, Torrence was undefeated this year at zMAX Dragway.  He lost to the former Pro Stock Motorcycle rider in the final round of last spring’s NHRA 4Wide Nationals before tumbling in Sunday’s second round.

“It’s hard ball out there,” Torrence said.  “It doesn’t matter if it’s the first round or the final, when you race guys like Antron and Tony, you’ve got to take them down.  We’ll get some other chances but this one was kinda painful.”

A five-time Top Fuel winner, Torrence will start Friday’s race 130 points off Brown’s lead with five Countdown races remaining in which to make it up the deficit.


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