Early Exit Costs CAPCO Driver Top Fuel Point Lead

February 28, 2016 -- Steve Torrence didn’t expect to sit atop the Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings the entire season.  After all, that’s happened just four times in the 42 years that NHRA champions have been crowned using an accumulative points system.  However, the Texan did expect to enjoy his lofty ranking a bit longer than two weeks.

Unfortunately, any hope of a wire-to-wire championship ended Sunday at the 32nd annual CARQUEST Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park when Torrence was ambushed by journeyman Terry McMillen in a first round race in which the winner made his best run of the weekend and Torrence made his worst. 

After qualifying the Capco Contractors/Rio Ammo dragster No. 3 at 3.766 seconds, Torrence sped through the 1,000 foot course in 3.851 seconds in the first round, a time that easily would have covered McMillen’s 3.935 qualifying number.  To Torrence’s consternation, McMillen instead threw up a 3.840 that was just good enough to get the win.

As a result, the 32-year-old Torrence will move on to Gainesville, Fla., for the 47th annual Amalie Oil Gatornationals in second place, just eight points, less than one round, behind Doug Kalitta. 

“That was a punch in the gut,” Torrence said.  “Terry and those guys struggled in qualifying but they stepped it up against us.  Hats off to them but we know our hot rod is bad to the bone heading to Gainesville.  This was just a little hiccup.  We’ll be back.”

A former NHRA World Champion in the Top Alcohol Dragster class (2005), Torrence is trying to become the first driver to win world titles in both the Top Alcohol and Top Fuel divisions.


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