CAPCO Driver Lowers NHRA National Record To 3.671

July 30, 2016 -- Steve Torrence took advantage of the weekend’s best conditions to lower the NHRA national record to 3.671 seconds and send his Capco Contractors/Rio Ammunition Top Fuel dragster to the top of the qualifying order for a class-leading ninth time this season.

For his effort, the 33-year-old Texan will square off against fellow Texan and No. 16 qualifier Terry Haddock of Temple, in the first round of Sunday’s 29th annual Toyota Sonoma Nationals which will feature live semifinal and final round coverage on the FOX national TV network.

After running 3.671 on a cool Friday night in conditions totally different from those expected on Sunday, Torrence added Saturday runs of 3.744 and 3.690 in the heat at Sonoma Raceway.  Now, he faces a familiar challenge: translating spectacular qualifying performance into race day success.

Torrence’s dragster has been quickest in 26 of the 55 qualifying sessions in which he has been a participant this season including 11 of the last 12.  If there is a downside, it is that the former Top Alcohol Dragster World Champion (2005) turned those eight previous No. 1 starts into just two victories.

In becoming just the fifth driver in the 1,000 foot era to eclipse the 3.70 second barrier, Torrence broke a national record previously held by pseudo-teammate Brittany Force who on May 20 at Topeka, Kan., stopped the timers in 3.676 seconds.   Only one driver has gone quicker and that is Shawn Langdon who ran 3.662 on Aug. 23, 2015 at Brainerd, Minn., but was unable to provide a back-up run within one percent that would have secured the record, a step no longer required for certification. 

“You gotta really hit the nail on the head to make a run like that,” Torrence said of his record run. “When we made it (to halftrack) I did the best I could to keep it in the groove. When I looked up going through the lights and pulled the chutes and saw that sixty-something come on the board, I just started hollering because I knew it was fast.  It was the quickest I’ve ever been. I jumped out of the car and I don’t even know what I said down there.

“Seven number ones in one season has surpassed what I had done the rest of my career,” Torrence said. “We’re still a one-car team and we’re standing toe-to-toe with the big dogs and I don’t think they’re liking it too much.  The way these Capco guys have prepared this car and stuck together as a team, the way they are working together is second to none. It takes that caliber of a team to (do) what they’re doing. This is just the fruits of their labor. We are going to try and continue to march forward and not count what we’ve accomplished until the end of the year and we’ll see where we stand then.” 

Torrence has earned 38 more of the bonus points awarded to the three quickest qualifiers in each session than anyone else and he Doug Kalitta are the only two Top Fuel drivers to have earned at least one qualifying bonus point in every race they’ve run this year.


# # #