Schumacher Wins Record 10th U.S. Nationals Title

September 5, 2016 -- Regrettably, the third time was not a charm for Steve Torrence, the talented Texan whose bid to win drag racing’s biggest event once more was denied Monday in the 62nd renewal of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway.

Racing the most prolific winner in Top Fuel history for the most coveted title in the sport in front of a live television audience, the 33-year-old cancer survivor was runner-up to Tony Schumacher by an almost indiscernible .006 of a second.  The win was Schumacher’s record 10th at the U.S. Nationals. 

Monday’s loss was the narrowest of the three final round defeats suffered by Torrence and his Capco Contractors/Rio Ammunition dragster in the last four years in the race known as “The Big Go.”  However, this one easily was the most painful.

“This is a tough one to take,” acknowledged the man who will start the NHRA’s Countdown to the Mello Yello Championship from the No. 3 position.  “My guys worked so hard and gave me such a good race car – plus we really wanted to win it for A.J. (tuning consultant Alan Johnson, whose brother Blaine was killed in a qualifying accident at the Nationals 20 years ago). 

“Not to take anything away from Schumacher and that team,” Torrence said.  “Their record speaks for itself.  But to be that close to winning at Indy for the third time in four years and not get it done is … it’s just hard to take.”

Although Monday’s loss was one of the closest in the event’s Top Fuel history, Torrence lost by only .033 of a second in the 2014 final (to Richie Crampton) and by .089 of a second in 2013 (to Shawn Langdon).  He lost to Crampton in the first round a year ago

Ironically, it was Torrence’s first loss to Schumacher in four final round meetings.  He beat the eight-time series champion earlier this year at Englishtown, N.J., and also beat him to earn his first tour victory back in 2012 (at Atlanta, Ga.).

The No. 2 qualifier, Torrence took down Bruce Litton in round one, former world champion Shawn Langdon in round two and veteran Doug Kalitta in the semifinals to reach the finals for the sixth time this year.


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