CAPCO/RIO Ammo Dragster Loses Close One at Gainesville

March 20, 2016 -- NHRA lead announcer Alan Reinhart constantly emphasizes the fact that drag racing is a right time, right place kind of a sport.  It’s a reality to which Steve Torrence could attest Sunday after he and his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster bowed out in the first round of the 47th annual Amalie Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.

On a day when eight-time series champion Tony Schumacher won his first round race with a time of 4.229 seconds and Chris Karamesines, Tripp Tatum and Terry McMillen advanced with times of 4.039, 3.866 and 3.850, Torrence covered the 1,000 foot distance in 3.781 seconds – and lost to J.R. Todd by .03 of a second in one of the day’s closest races..

The 32-year-old Texan could take some solace in the fact that pseudo-teammate Brittany Force went on to claim her first tour victory in a Monster Energy dragster tuned by Alan Johnson, who also consults on the Capco car, but it didn’t take away a lot of the sting for the cancer survivor from Kilgore.

“She was bound to win one,” Torrence said of Brittany, the daughter of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force.  “She’s driving good and both these hot rods are fast but I’ll tell you, it’s frustrating to go out early like we’ve done the last two races with a car as good as we have.  It was just one of those days.  Me and Antron (Brown) and Leah (Pritchett) all went out first round.  That’s the reigning champion and the winners of the first two races all on the sidelines after one round.

“All you can do is just remember that you’ve got a great team and a fast race car and get ready for Las Vegas (and the 17th annual Denso Nationals, April 1-3).”

Despite his unexpectedly early exit, Torrence still managed to hold on to a Top 4 spot in the Mello Yello driver standings while reminding everyone that the only time it’s really important to be No. 1 is at the end of the Auto Club Finals in November.

“Sure, you want to win them all but that’s just unrealistic, especially with the caliber of cars we have now,” said the former Top Alcohol Dragster world champion (2005).  “You just try to avoid too many days like this.  We’ll be fine.”


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