Texas Team Eyes Top Fuel Title at 29th Spring Nationals

April 26, 2016 -- On the one-year anniversary of the announcement of his strategic partnership with the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, Texan Steve Torrence tries to take the affiliation to a new level this week in the 29th renewal of the NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway.

Racing within driving distance of his Kilgore home, Torrence will send his Capco Contractors/Rio Ammunition dragster after the Top Fuel championship in a race in which he qualified No. 1 and reached the semifinals two years ago.

“We’re a Texas team with Texas sponsors and Texas partners,” Torrence said.  “We’re racing in our home state, Chris Kyle’s home state, the home state of Rio Ammunition and Capco.  All we need to make it the perfect Texas weekend is to get our hot rod in the winners’ circle and celebrate with all the people who support us throughout the year.”

The goal of winning one of the two events contested in his home state is no pipe dream for the 33-year-old owner/driver.  Winner of the season-opening Circle K Winternationals at Pomona, Calif., he’ll begin Friday qualifying in fifth place in Mello Yello points.  Winner of six NHRA tour events since founding Torrence Racing in 2012, the determined cancer survivor has put together a team legitimately capable of winning the $500,000 championship.

“I wouldn’t trade my guys for anybody out there,” Torrence said.  “We had a great core group with Richard Hogan and Bobby Lagana but we went to a new level when we hooked up with A.J. (tuning consultant and crew chief to the stars Alan Johnson) and we took another big step when we went to a Morgan Lucas Racing chassis.”

Since Johnson began working with Hogan last season, Torrence has not qualified outside the Top 8 and has started No. 1 at two straight races and at three of the five contested this year.

“I haven’t won in Texas since the Alcohol days (he was the 2005 NHRA World Champion in Top Alcohol Dragster) so, yeah, it would be a big deal especially with everybody here from the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, Capco, Rio; all my friends and family. 

Shared values were at the core of Torrence’s decision to align himself with the foundation managed by Taya Kyle, widow of the larger-than-life American hero whose story was documented in the movie “American Sniper.”

“Chris was all about God, family and country,” Torrence said. “He was passionate about those things and so am I. The fact that we’re both Texans and that we shared a love of the outdoors and of properly-used firearms made the partnership with the foundation a no-brainer.”

Torrence is committed to helping the foundation achieve its principal goal which is expanding awareness of the plight of military families adjusting to a post-deployment lifestyle.

A Navy SEAL who served five tours of duty in Iraq, Kyle became the most decorated sniper in American military history. He was shot and killed at a shooting range in 2012 by a fellow veteran he was counseling at the request of the man’s family.  Kyle wrote the book American Sniper, the inspiration for the blockbuster movie.

The foundation funds a series of “Revitalization Retreats” for married military and first responder couples reconnecting after deployment.  The retreats allow spouses to get to know one another again while adapting to changes that occurred during their estrangement.

“It’s a wonderful cause,” Torrence said.  “The military is a brotherhood and so is drag racing.  I just wish Chris could be here to see his dream of helping the families of military members and first responders coming true.”


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