CAPCO Driver Aims to Improve on Last Year’s Runner-Up

April 20, 2016 -- Not surprisingly, the same skills that have made Steve Torrence a successful hunter and marksman have established the just-turned-33-year-old Texan as one of the premier drivers on the NHRA Mello Yello drag racing tour that moves this week to zMAX Dragway.

However, the six-time pro tour winner believes that the narrow focus and powers of concentration that serve him so well in the two arenas in which he is most comfortable actually work against him one weekend a year.  This is that weekend, the one weekend when, instead of racing against one opponent each round, as he does all season long, Torrence opposes three at-a-time. 

That’s the format of the seventh annual NHRA 4Wide Nationals, an event with which most touring pros maintain a love-hate relationship.

Torrence is no different although his distaste for the race was mollified to some extent last season when he took his Capco Contractors/Rio Ammo Top Fuel dragster to the final quad where he was runner-up to reigning world champion Antron Brown.

Still, even though he now has a runner-up finish and a No. 1 start (2012) to his credit, Torrence admits that the 4Wide still is not one of his favorites.

“You work all year to try to get into a routine,” he said, “and then the four-wide tries to take you out of it.  It’s easy to get a little overwhelmed with all that’s going on around you.  You just have to remember that you’re still racing your lane.  You can’t control what’s happening anywhere else, whether it’s the next lane or the next three.”

 Nevertheless, even though it’s no longer a new concept, the 4Wide still can be confusing.  To deal with the distractions, Torrence has a plan. 

“All we can do is try and control the things we can,” he said.  “We’ve got a hot rod that can go low every round and if we do that, we always get to pick the lane that gives us the best chance.”

Simple.  And not unmanageable, either, considering the fact that the former Top Alcohol Dragster World Champion (2005) is coming off a race in which his Capco dragster was quickest in every qualifying round, just the 45th time that has occurred in any pro class since the NHRA began awarding qualifying bonus points in 2009. 

Torrence has been a Top 8 qualifier at 12 straight events with three No. 1s during that span but he has yet to duplicate the race day success he enjoyed in winning the season-opening Circle K Winternationals at Pomona, Calif.

That win earned him a guaranteed starting spot in the Traxxas Shootout, an eight-car bonus race contested in conjunction with the Labor Day U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, Ind., that pays a $100,000 winner’s purse.  It also took him to the top of the driver standings for the first time as a pro.

“First win at Pomona.  First time to lead the points.  First win at the four-wide?  That’d be pretty sweet,” he said.



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