CAPCO/RIO Driver Falls Back as Brown Wins Again

October 2, 2016 -- Steve Torrence won the latest round in what is becoming one of drag racing’s most intense rivalries Sunday, but he couldn’t sustain his momentum and bowed out in the quarter finals of a rain-soaked 32nd annual Dodge Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.

For the second consecutive year, the field was set based on a single qualifying session completed between long periods of rain.  That set up a first round showdown between Torrence and eight-time series champion Tony Schumacher in which the wannabe champion got to the finish line .005 of a second ahead of Top Fuel racing’s all-time leader.

In round two, against Leah Pritchett, however, Torrence grabbed a narrow starting line advantage but couldn’t hold on as his Capco Contractors/Rio Ammunition dragster managed only a 3.848 against Pritchett’s 3.701.

The early exit, coupled with point leader Anton Brown’s second win in three playoff races put Torrence’s and virtually everyone else’s Mello Yello championship aspirations on life-support with only three events remaining, the next in two weeks at the Texas Motorplex.

Sunday’s victory over Schumacher was Torrence’s fourth in seven meetings with the certain Hall of Famer this season and improved his overall record against the veteran to 10-16.  Torrence beat Schumacher in the final round to win his first Top Fuel event (at Atlanta in 2012) and his record in final round meetings against him is 3-1.

Two of their classic finals were decided by less than one-hundredth of a second, a third by only .046 and the fourth by two tenths when both drivers had to compensate for lost traction and regain control earlier this year at Englishtown, N.J.

“Tony always brings out the best not just in me but in everyone,” Torrence said.  “That was a very emotional win especially with all the weather issues and only having one qualifying run, but as good a feeling as we had in round one, it was the complete opposite after we lost to Leah.  We had an opening there but we just didn’t capitalize. 

“The fat lady hasn’t sung yet, but she’s clearing her throat,” he said.  “We just have to keep after it and see what happens.  It’s drag racing.  You never know.”


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