CAPCO Dragster Among Favorites in Keystone Nationals

September 30, 2015 -- On a track on which he has had little previous success, Steve Torrence tries again to make up ground on pacesetting Antron Brown this week when the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship moves to Maple Grove Raceway for the 31st running of the Keystone Nationals.

For the 32-year-old Texan, the playoffs thus far have been one big tease.  After starting the first two Countdown races from the No. 3 and No. 1 qualifying positions, he was unable to get his potent Capco Contractors entry beyond the second round.

Last week’s race at St. Louis was particularly frustrating for the former Top Alcohol Dragster World Champion (2005) and cancer survivor.  After speeding to a personal best 1,000 foot time in qualifying No. 1 at the AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals (3.718 seconds), he lost one of the closest races of the day to Top Fuel rookie Dave Connolly (3.724 for Connolly; 3.741 for Torrence) with whom he now shares eighth place in the driver standings.

“Dave’s a friend of mine and we love that kind of close racing,” Torrence said, “but I’d have loved it a lot more if it had gone our way.   We’re just a win looking for a place to happen but with Antron winning the first two Countdown races, the rest of us are running out of races to catch him.”

Realistically, unless someone stops the point leader this weekend, the NHRA might as well start etching Brown’s name on another championship trophy like the one he won in 2012.

“I said that whoever got the hot hand could win this thing and the Ant definitely is the hottest guy right now,” Torrence said.  “Hopefully, we’ve got something for him this week.”

 Although he’s won only a single round of racing in four previous appearances at Maple Grove, Torrence enters the third Coundown event more highly-regarded than one might imagine.

NHRA TV commentator Mike Dunn placed him second at Maple Grove in his weekly power rankings behind only Brown and he based that largely on the performance numbers rung up by the Capco dragster.  In the last eight races, Torrence has recorded the four quickest times and the fastest finish line speed of his career and the races he’s lost, for the most part, have been agonizingly close.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt his confidence to have hired Allen Johnson as a consultant to crew chief Richard Hogan.  Johnson, who was forced to park his own car while pursuing additional funding, has won 11 of the last 17 NHRA Top Fuel championships as either crew chief or car owner.


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