Point Leader Sets Torrid Pace in AAA Fall Nationals

October 14, 2017 -- Texas – With a Mello Yello Top Fuel championship in his sights, native Texan Steve Torrence kept the pressure on his closest rivals Saturday by driving the Capco Contractors dragster to the top of the qualifying order for Sunday’s 32nd annual AAA Texas Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex.

Torrence was quickest in three of the four qualifying rounds and his track record-tying 3.682 second effort was good enough to insure his third No. 1 start of the season although it will be his first at the Motorplex where, since moving up to Top Fuel, he never before had started higher than fifth.  It’s his first No.  1 since last June 17 when he set the qualifying pace at the Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenn.

"Our confidence is for sure at an all-time high," Torrence said after earning the 16th No. 1 of his pro career.  "It's always good to win at your home track.  We've just not been able to do it.  We’ve been in the final in the last four Texas races at Dallas and Houston and just didn’t get it done.  It's been elusive but ultimately what we need to do is just get points however we can.”

Torrence scooped up all but one of the available bonus points during qualifying and, as a result, extended his lead over Doug Kalitta from 42 to 56 points entering Sunday’s single elimination tournament.  He will start Sunday with a first round race against Top Fuel rookie Blake Alexander, the No. 16 qualifier at 3.842 seconds. 

Torrence was quickest in every session except the third in which he was second quickest at 3.790 behind Leah Pritchett’s 3.780.  His times in order were 3.711, 3.682, 3.790 and 3.728. 

It was the 53rd straight race in which Torrence has qualified eighth or better, the longest such active streak in the category.  A top eight start insures that a driver will have the lane choice option in the first round of eliminations.    

“To win here at the Motorplex, one of the tracks we call home, would be cool (after consecutive runner-up finishes in 2015 and 2016),” admitted the 34-year-old point leader, “but we just need to go rounds.  I've said before I think this championship could be decided by just one or two points.”

The last time Torrence won at the Motorplex was 2005 when he prevailed in the Top Alcohol Dragster class en route to a Lucas Oil World Championship.  This year, he is trying to become the first driver ever to win NHRA titles in both the Alcohol and Fuel divisions.

The top three drivers in points – Torrence, Kalitta and Brittany Force, find themselves on the same side of the ladder.  Torrence could face one or the other in the semifinal round.


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