TRAXXAS Shootout, U.S. Nationals Loom Large for Texan

August 31, 2016 -- No Top Fuel driver has been more successful at Lucas Oil Raceway the last four years than Steve Torrence and yet, despite four final round appearances -- two each in the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals and the Traxxas Nitro Shootout, the 33-year-old Texan still is looking for a bookend for the Top Alcohol Dragster trophy he won in 2005.

He’ll have two chances to achieve that goal when he sends his 330 mile-an-hour Capco Contractors/Rio Ammunition dragster after the Top Fuel title this week in both the 62nd renewal of the NHRA’s biggest single event, the one affectionately known as “The Big Go,” and the fifth annual Traxxas Shootout, the race-within-a-race from which one of eight qualifiers will take home a $100,000 bonus check.

“We’ve got a great chance to make history and hurt some feelings,” Torrence said.  “This is the most confident I’ve ever been coming to Indy.  I’ve got a great race car and the best guys out here.  I wouldn’t trade them for anyone. 

“We all take a lot of pride in bringing our ‘A’ game to Indy,” said the seven-time Mello Yello tour winner.  “Racing against the best in the sport is what motivates me and Hogan (crew chief Richard Hogan) and A.J. (tuning consultant Alan Johnson) and everyone else on this team.  If you need more than that to get you ready for Indy, you probably shouldn’t be out here.”

The NHRA national record holder for the 1,000 foot distance at 3.671 seconds, Torrence has been the No. 1 qualifier a category-best eight times this season and returns to Lucas Oil Raceway, where he has started no worse than fourth in his last three appearances, having qualified among the quick eight in 24 consecutive events. 

“It’s a combination of things,” Torrence said of his performance this season.  “It started with a new race car from Morgan Lucas Racing and then Hogan and A.J. and Bobby (Lagana) just kind of got in a zone.  They’ve been making great decisions and it’s given me so much confidence.  No matter what the conditions are, I know I have a car that can go do the job.”

Remarkably, of the 62 qualifying sessions in which he has participated this season, Torrence has been one of the three quickest in 42, a feat that enabled him to pick up a record 110 qualifying bonus points, the equivalent of winning more than five racing rounds. 

Not that his success has been limited to the preliminaries.  He began the season by winning the second oldest race in the series, the Circle K Winternationals at Pomona, Calif., and followed up in June by winning another of the unofficial “majors” when he prevailed for the second time in his career in the Summernationals at Englishtown, N.J.

He also was runner-up in three other races including last month’s ProtectTheHarvest.com Nationals at Seattle, Wash., but admits that winning the U.S. Nationals in Top Fuel would trump everything else in his resume.

Although he excelled in taekwondo and is the apparent picture of health at 5-7 and 150 pounds, Torrence has survived both Hodgkins lymphoma and a minor heart attack, the latter just two months ago.  Those health challenges not only have made him more appreciative of the little things, they also 
have taught him to live every day like it could be his last because “nothing is guaranteed.”



For Immediate Release
Langdon Spoiled Texan’s Bid for Double Victory at Indy In 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Before he gets another shot at winning the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, a race in which he was runner-up in both 2013 and 2014, Steve Torrence will put his Capco Contractors/Rio Ammunition dragster to work in the fifth annual Traxxas Nitro Shootout, a Top Fuel bonus race to be contested on Saturday at Lucas Oil Raceway.

His first round opponent in the eight-driver showdown will be friend and rival Shawn Langdon who in 2013 ruined what could have been a career weekend for the young Texan when he outpaced him in the final round of both the bonus race and the U.S. Nationals.

What makes that especially significant is that Langdon’s car owner at the time was Alan Johnson, the same Alan Johnson who presently is a tuning consultant to Torrence Racing. 

First round pairings (4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 3):

1. Antron Brown, Brownsburg, Ind., Matco Tools dragster, versus 8. Terry McMillen, Elkhart, Ind., Amalie Intimidator dragster;
2. Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., Mac Tools dragster, versus 7. Leah Pritchett, Avon, Ind., Mopar/Pennzoil dragster;
3. Steve Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contractors/Rio Ammunition dragster, versus 6. Shawn Langdon, Mira Loma, Calif., Red Fuel/Sandvik dragster;
4. Brittany Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Monster Energy dragster, versus 5. Tony Schumacher, Austin, Texas, U.S. Army dragster.



For Immediate Release
Billy Torrence Will Compete in Super Comp; Son Steve in Top Fuel

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – In a sport known for family, many sons have followed their fathers into the winners’ circle.  Scott Kalitta followed his dad Connie; Tim Fletcher his dad Dan; Shawn Langdon his dad Chad; and Dave Connolly his dad Ray.  Warren and Kurt Johnson both won in Pro Stock; “Big Jim” and Mike Dunn in Funny Car; Hector Arana Sr. and Jr. in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

However, only a handful of fathers and sons -- or fathers and daughters, for that matter, have won titles in the same race on the same day: Kenny and Brandon Bernstein at Denver in 2001; John and Ashley Force at the AAA Finals at Pomona, Calif., in 2007; and Rickie and Matt Smith at Norwalk in 2013.

Steve Torrence, 33, and his dad Billy, 58, will try to join that exclusive fraternity during this weekend’s 62nd annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway, a race in which Steve will drive the Capco Contractors/Rio Ammunition Top Fuel dragster while Billy will wheel a similarly sponsored dragster in Super Comp.

Both previously have won events in the national series.  In fact, both have won races this season but they’ve never won on the same day.  Steve won this season in the season-opener at Pomona, Calif., and at Englishtown, N.J., while Billy prevailed in the Summit Southern Nationals at Atlanta.


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