Texan Looks for Double-Up Success at Auto Club Raceway

November 7, 2016 -- Steve Torrence won’t win the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Championship, but the talented Texan still has an opportunity to make history this week when he drives the Capco Contractors/Rio Ammunition Top Fuel dragster in the 52nd annual Auto Club Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Currently second in points to close friend and three-time champ Antron Brown, Torrence is in position to become just the 13th pro driver to open and close the season with a victory and just the sixth to do so in Top Fuel.

Winner of the season-opening Circle K Winternationals contested on the same Pomona track, Torrence is riding the momentum born of a victory two weeks ago at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and enters the season finale having taken his potent hybrid to the finals in four of the last eight NHRA tour events.

“This Capco team has really persevered,” said the eight-time pro winner.  “(Crew chief) Richard Hogan, (car chief) Bobby Lagana and all my guys have worked a lot of hours to get us where we are right now.  We’re just a family-run team out here competing with the big dogs and putting some of the (Don) Schumacher and some of the (Connie) Kalitta cars on the trailer is what we live to do.”

Ironically, Torrence cites his June heart attack as one of the keys to delivering his most successful season as both a driver and team owner.

Even though he missed the Summit Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio because of the aforementioned heart attack, he has recorded a category best eight No. 1 starts this year, has appeared in a career record eight final rounds, has won three races, owns the current NHRA national record for 1,000 foot performance at 3.671 seconds and is on the verge of securing his highest-ever finish.

“You know, I’ve gone out and really beat myself up over mistakes and tried a lot of things to make myself better this year” he said, “but sometimes you’ve got to just take a step back and realize that you’re getting to live what most people just dream about.  You’re a professional race car driver.

“After I had that heart attack, I redirected my focus,” said the cancer survivor and 2005 World Champion in Top Alcohol.  “I said, ‘you know, I’m going to have fun and enjoy the opportunity that I’ve been given.’  We’re having fun. That’s what I told (the team) in Vegas.  I said, ‘we’ve got a good hot rod but, hell, let’s go out and have a good time today’ and we had a good time every round.”

The theme for the weekend then is clear: let the good times continue to roll.


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