Texan Anxious to Get Back Into Pursuit of NHRA Title

July 7, 2016 -- Rested after a couple weeks away from the NHRA drag racing tour, Steve Torrence is anxious to get back to the less serene but more familiar pace dictated by his status as a leading contender for the $500,000 Mello Yello Top Fuel championship.

A two-time winner this year as owner and driver of one of the most powerful race cars on the planet, the 10,000 horsepower Capco Contractors/Rio Ammunition dragster, the 33-year-old Torrence will start this week’s 19th annual K&N Filters Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in third place in the driver standings even after withdrawing from the Summit Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio for medical reasons.

“We left with a good car and I’m confident we’re coming back with a good car,” said the seven-time tour winner who, after undergoing a routine medical procedure, was told by doctors that while it was okay to resume a normal life, driving a 330 mile-an-hour race car that subjects one’s body to five times the normal pressures of gravity was not “normal” in their professional opinion. 

Torrence, the 2005 NHRA World Champion in the Top Alcohol Dragster class, has taken his little detour in stride.

“Feeling good,” he said on the eve of this week’s race.  “We’re a little further behind Doug (Kalitta) and Antron (Brown) but there’s still time (to catch up); there’s still a lot of racing to do.  I will tell you that sitting at home was pure agony.  I didn’t even watch the race on TV.  Couldn’t.  It’s the first one I’ve missed since we formed this team in 2012 and I just felt like I should be there.”

It was Brown, the two-time and reigning series champion, who denied Torrence a victory at Chicago four years ago, beating him in the final round when the Texan missed the light by .015 of a second.  To date, it’s the best shot Torrence has had at Route 66 although his consistency this season would suggest he’s a good candidate for another chance this weekend.

Torrence has set the qualifying pace in half the races contested thus far and that includes the one he missed.  That’s six No. 1 starts, one more than he had amassed in his entire pro career heading into the 2016 season.  He’s quick to give all the credit to the team that supports him starting with crew chief Richard Hogan and car chief Bobby Lagana Jr.

Hogan and Lagana, both successful in their own right, admittedly have benefitted this year from the presence of Alan Johnson, who came on board last fall as a tuning consultant and who this year has been working not only with Team Capco but also with John Force Racing as consultant on Brittany Force’s Monster Energy dragster.


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