CAPCO Driver Stays Fourth as Tour Moves to New England

May 22, 2016 -- Doug Kalitta has emerged as the biggest hurdle for Texan Steve Torrence in his bid to become the first driver to win NHRA series championships in both the Top Fuel and Top Alcohol divisions.

Despite another solid performance at the wheel of the Capco Contractors/Rio Ammunition dragster, Torrence couldn’t get past Kalitta in the semifinals of the 28th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals Sunday at Heartland Park-Topeka.

In the third close race between the two Top Fuel rivals this season, Kalitta got to the finish line first in 3.757 seconds.  Torrence trailed at 3.840.  That gave Kalitta a 2-1 lead in head-to-head meetings this year and it propelled the veteran to his second straight tour victory.

“Hats off to them,” said the 33-year-old Texan.  “They’ve got it going on right now but we’re really close and this won’t be the last time we look across at each other (this season).  We know the drill.  To win the championship, you’ve got to beat Doug and Antron and the rest.  Nobody said it’d be easy.  But that’s the motivation.  That’s why we’re here.”

Torrence, who won the season-opening Circle K Winternationals at Pomona, Calif., and has started half the races from the No. 1 qualifying position, will move on to Epping, N.H., for next month’s fourth annual New England Nationals in fourth place behind Kalitta, Brown and pseudo-teammate Brittany Force.

Force, who bowed out in round two after lowering the NHRA national record to 3.676 seconds in qualifying, relies on the expertise of tuning consultant Alan Johnson, as does Torrence.  That collaboration has paid big dividends including three wins and five No. 1 starts.

“That was a badass run,” Torrence said of Force’s national record.  It shows us what’s possible.  It was crazy out there.  Every run down the track seemed like was a career best or close to it.  But there are so many good cars out there right now that there’s just no margin for error.  We’ve raced Doug three times and the biggest difference, I think, was eight hundredths of a second.”


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