Texan Will Lead By a Single Round at AAA Finals

October 29, 2017 -- With an assist from Terry McMillen and a mistake by Brittany Force, Steve Torrence remained the Mello Yello point leader Sunday despite an early exit from the 17th annual Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
McMillen won his first pro tour event when Force was guilty of a foul start in the final round.  Had the outcome been reversed, drag racing legend John Force’s second youngest daughter would have moved into a first place tie with Torrence with one race remaining. 

Instead, when the battle resumes in two weeks at the 53rd annual Auto Club Finals in Pomona, Calif., Torrence will lead by a single round (20 points) in his bid to become the first driver in NHRA history to win series championships in both the Alcohol and Fuel divisions.  He was the Top Alcohol Dragster world champion in 2005.

Torrence’s brand new Capco Contractors dragster, looking every bit like its all-conquering predecessor, flexed its muscle in qualifying by posting the second best time after Tony Schumacher’s track record 3.673. 

However, in Sunday’s second round the big rear tires on the 10,000 horsepower hybrid began to lose traction near the 330 foot mark.  Torrence backpedaled to try and regain control but by that time the damage had been done and former world champ Shawn Langdon raced past him for the win.

“Nobody expected that,” Torrence said of the traction loss.  “We haven’t done that very much this year.  It’s just a situation you go through with a new car.  You can set them up the same but there always are going to be little differences.  The thing is, I know I’m taking a good hot rod to Pomona.”

Torrence was forced into a back-up car when he crashed his primary vehicle in the second round of the AAA Texas Fall Nationals at Dallas two weeks ago.  Crew chief Richard Hogan and the other members of Team Capco spent the last 10 days trying to replicate that car in every way.  It obviously runs just as well insomuch as Torrence matched his career bests in testing last weekend at Indianapolis.  He followed up by running 3.694 at 330.15 miles per hour on Friday’s second qualifying run.

“It just needs a little more TLC,” Torrence said.  “We’ll be ready to rock-and-roll at Pomona.”

The 34-year-old cancer survivor has won eight races this season, twice as many as anyone else in the category.  He had won only eight races in his pro career coming into the season.

“It’s about being a family out here,” Torrence said.  “We’ve been together a few years now.  These Capco guys are my brothers.  We’ve gone through the bad together.  The good is a lot more fun.”


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