Sixth ‘Pole’ of the Season for CAPCO/RIO Driver

June 18, 2016 -- Steve Torrence continued to flaunt his high performance muscle Saturday at Bristol Dragway with a standout performance that will send his Capco Contractors/Rio Ammunition Top Fuel dragster to the starting line for Sunday’s 18th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals as the No. 1 qualifier for the sixth time in 11 races this season and for the second time in as many weeks.

On Friday, the 33-year-old Texan covered the standard 1,000 foot distance in a track record-equaling 3.745 seconds at 324.12 miles per hour.  Then, as has been his M.O. this year, he and a team headed by crew chief Richard Hogan, car chief Bobby Lagana Jr. and tuning consultant Alan Johnson worked Saturday on refining the engine and clutch set-up for race day conditions.

As it has done almost all season long, Torrence’s 10,000 horsepower dragster went down the track, under power, on all four of its qualifying runs.  His other times were 3.792, 3.873 and 3.890 seconds.

And, as usual, the cancer survivor gave the credit to those around him.

“The car has been exceptional,” Torrence said.  “My team has given me the best car I’ve ever had.  When you get in the seat, you know the thing is capable of outrunning anybody that you come up against (and) setting low E.T. each session (as he did on Friday) is a huge confidence boost for me as a driver and a testament to how hard these guys have worked.

“We’ve made 16 laps in the last two weeks and they’re still ready to go, energetic and full of drive. That’s what it takes to have the caliber of a team that can go win a championship.”

Torrence, who won last week at Englishtown, N.J., will start Sunday third in the Mello Yello driver standings behind only Doug Kalitta and reigning series champion Antron Brown.

He’ll begin his latest quest against Terry Haddock, the versatile journeyman from Temple, Texas, who has been racing almost exclusively this year in Top Fuel after first distinguishing himself in the Funny Car division.  If he is able to advance, Torrence likely will oppose eight-time series champion Tony Schumacher in round two with Brown a possible semifinal foe.

It’ll be the sixth Father’s Day start for the seven-time tour winner.  He earned a Father’s Day victory at Bristol in 2013 but his dad, Billy, wasn’t there to see it.


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