Career Best 3.703 Sends Texan to No. 1 Start in Season Opener

February 13, 2016 -- Qualifying alongside eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, Steve Torrence unloaded the quickest time of his Top Fuel career Saturday and drove the Capco Contractors dragster to the top of the qualifying order in advance of Sunday’s 56th annual Circle K Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway Pomona.

Torrence stopped the 1,000 foot timers in 3.703 seconds at 328.06 miles per hour on his final attempt, snatching the No. 1 spot from veteran Doug Kalitta and setting himself up for a first round match with journeyman Steve Faria of Tulare, Calif.

It was a natural progression for the 32-year-old Texan whose previous best time was the one he posted during last November’s Auto Club Finals on the same track.

As excited as he was at securing the sixth No. 1 of his career, the former Top Alcohol Dragster World Champion (2005) was even more pleased with the continued consistency of the Morgan Lucas Racing chassis beneath him. 

After an impressive test last week at Phoenix, Ariz., the car made four solid runs in qualifying for the season opener, improving on each attempt – from 3.815 to 3.750 to 3.743 to 3.703.  He was second quickest in the first session; quickest in the last.

In addition to his career best time, the five-time tour winner’s 328.06 also was the category’s fastest.  In 14 previous appearances at Pomona, the cancer survivor’s best starting position was fifth place at last year’s Winternationals.

“It was pretty cool to be running against Schumacher,” Torrence said.  “We’re a small team, a family-run team (that’s) family business sponsored so, yeah, I do feel like we have something to prove.  We brought on Rio Ammunition as an association sponsor this year and we’re right in the thick of things.  We’ve got some good ammunition and I hope we have a big gun for this year. 

“I hope this translates into a good performance tomorrow,” he continued.  “We just need to maintain consistency.  Bringing Alan (Johnson, consultant to crew chief Richard Hogan) into the mix has brought a lot of credibility for us. 

“He spurs Richard a little bit, pushes him a little bit.  Alan has that confidence with himself and, as a result, is able to push Richard to go outside his comfort zone a little bit.”



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