CAPCO Driver Goes for Twice the Gold at Brainerd

August 17, 2016 -- Since turning pro, Steve Torrence never has won four races in a season or two races in-a-row but, at the wheel of the most dominant car in the Mello Yello Series, the talented Texan has a chance to achieve both of those milestones this weekend at Brainerd International Raceway. 

The 33-year-old cancer survivor, a two-time winner and eight-time No. 1 qualifier this season at the wheel of the Capco Contractors/Rio Ammunition Top Fuel dragster, will oppose Antron Brown in the postponed final round of the 29th annual Protect the Harvest.com Nationals on Saturday before returning his focus to the 35th annual Lucas Oil Nationals concluding on Sunday. 

“I’m looking forward to racing Antron on Saturday during Q3 (the third qualifying session for the Lucas Nationals),” Torrence said.  “(It’s) a great opportunity for this team, the best in the business.  They’ve given me a great car all year and I’m just the lucky guy that gets to drive it.”

Nevertheless, the car Torrence will roll to the starting line for the first of four Lucas Nationals qualifying sessions on Friday won’t be the same one he took to the finals two weeks ago at Seattle, Wash., the one in which he lowered the NHRA national record for 1,000 foot time to 3.671 seconds. 

Externally, there are no discernible differences to the black-and-red hybrid but crew chief Richard Hogan and car chief Bobby Lagana Jr. took advantage of a rare break in the summer schedule to get a bit of a chassis tune-up from Aaron Brooks, the head honcho at Morgan Lucas Race Cars. 

Brooks, crew chief on rival Richie Crampton’s dragster, replaced the “front clip” on the Capco chassis, in essence installing some fresh tubing for the upcoming 62nd annual U.S. Nationals and Torrence’s title run in the six-race, $500,000 Countdown to the Mello Yello Championship.

“The chassis had 108 runs on it (one-third of which [38] were the quickest of either the session or the round),” Lagana said, “so we just decided to freshen it up.  It shouldn’t be a problem.”

Torrence, who survived Hodgkins lymphoma as a teenager and a minor heart attack six weeks ago, an apparent residual of the radiation treatment he endured during his cancer scare, enters the weekend in third place in Mello Yello driver points behind Brown and Doug Kalitta.

The 2005 world champion in the Top Alcohol Dragster division, Torrence has emerged as a legitimate title threat in only his fifth year as a team owner.  He has not qualified worse than seventh this season and his average starting position has been second.  That’s a credit to the chassis, the engine and the team that puts it all together.


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