CAPCO Driver Falls to Brown at New England Nationals

June 6, 2016 -- Reigning series champion Antron Brown ruined an otherwise spectacular extended weekend for Steve Torrence, snatching the No. 1 qualifying position away from the Texan on his last attempt Saturday night and then beating him to the finish in a rare Monday final at the fourth annual New England Nationals.

Runner-up for the second time in the last four races in the Mello Yello Series, Torrence moved up a position in points and will start this week’s 47th annual NHRA Summernationals at Englishtown, N.J., behind only Brown and Doug Kalitta in the battle for the regular season championship and the No. 1 seeding in the Countdown to the Championship.

It was a rare according-to-form result in Top Fuel in which the No. 1 qualifier beat No. 2 in a side-by-side showdown that did not disappoint.  Brown got to the stripe first in 3.769 seconds in his Don Schumacher Racing dragster while Torrence was just a tick behind at 3.778 in the Capco Contractors/Rio Ammunition dragster. 

Nevertheless, it was not a typical race for Torrence, who got a big break in the first round against Smax Smith.  The Canadian rookie opted not to return after rain postponed eliminations for a day at New England Dragway.  Had he come back, he might have been able to capitalize on Torrence’s tractionless 6.525 which ended a streak of 25 straight runs of 3.85 or better.

That rather pedestrian time, his second worst this season, got Torrence into the second round where he regained his edge on a scheduled bye run, stopping the 1,000 foot timers in 3.772 seconds, good enough for lane choice against Kalitta, whom he dispatched in 3.796 seconds in the semis.

“Our luck just ran out in the finals against Antron,” Torrence said, “but it was a great overall weekend despite a lot of crazy twists with the rain and the way the ladder worked out.  We’ve got great momentum going to Englishtown where we’ve won before.”

Until Monday, the 33-year-old Torrence had not won a single racing round at Epping.  Nevertheless, he expected to do well in the New England Nationals and he did. 

“This is the best car and the best team I’ve had,” he said.  “That gives you an awful lot of confidence going to the line and I think that’s reflected in the season.  We’ve qualified No. 1 four times, been to three finals and won Pomona.”



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