Johnson, Hogan Again Will Collaborate on CAPCO Dragster

February 11, 2016 -- With a new chassis beneath him, a legendary tuner beside him and a new sponsor behind him, Steve Torrence understandably has high expectations for a 2016 NHRA Mello Yello drag racing campaign that begins this week with the 56th renewal of the Circle K Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway Pomona. 

Torrence, who put up career best numbers last year after Alan Johnson came on board as consultant to veteran crew chief Richard Hogan, will start the new season with that same mechanical collaboration intact.

He’ll also start Friday qualifying with a fresh Morgan Lucas Racing chassis and with a new marketing partner in Texas-based Rio Ammunition, the global leader in the manufacturing of shotgun ammunition for the sporting markets.  It’s a combination he hopes he can ride into the winners’ circle on Sunday.

Furthermore, based on the results of last week’s pre-season test at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix, one would be hard pressed to exclude Torrence and the Capco Contractors/Rio Ammo dragster from the 3.60 second, 330 mile-an-hour sweepstakes that has become NHRA Top Fuel racing.

“Two years ago, 3.75 was a stout number,” Torrence said.  “Last year, you had to run low 3.70s to be a player.  This year, it’s going to be 3.60s.  The price of poker keeps going up.”

That said, the 32-year-old cancer survivor is sure he was on just such a 3.60 run during last week’s test when he covered the now standard 1,000 foot distance in 3.739 seconds at only 282 miles per hour.

“That was going to be my career (best) run,” he said.  “We didn't even go all the way to the end.  I clicked it at about 700-750 feet but it (still) went 2.96 to half-track.  This new chassis is working wonders for us and I can’t wait to start racing for real.  (The guys on) my team worked their tails off all winter to get this car going. I'm glad all of this hard work is coming to fruition."

The former Top Alcohol Dragster world champion (2005) also tested at 3.729, 3.731, 3.739 (a second time), 3.750 and 3.753.  Coupled with last November’s 3.717 on the same Pomona track he will tackle this weekend, the five-time Top Fuel tour winner carries a lot of momentum.

“Last fall, we brought Alan in to give Richard and Bobby (Lagana) another set of eyes,” Torrence said.  “Those guys are friends and they’ve worked together before so it really worked out for us.  It was hard not to get excited once we were able to put all the pieces in place for the season.”

Johnson, who has won championships with Top Fuel drivers Gary Scelzi, Tony Schumacher, Larry Dixon, Del Worsham and Shawn Langdon, also will serve as consultant to crew chief Brian Husen on Brittany Force’s Monster Energy dragster, thereby creating an informal strategic alliance designed to help both teams enhance performance and consistency through the exchange of information.

It’s an arrangement facilitated by the fact that Torrence Racing maintains shop facilities within the John Force Racing complex in Brownsburg, Ind.

“We’re still racing rivals,” Torrence said of Brittany Force, “but this is a way for both teams to get extra data which you really need to compete for the championship against (Don) Schumacher and (Connie) Kalitta and (Bob) Vandergriff (all of whom are racing multiple cars).”



# # #