Texan Aims for Second Win in Five Months at Vegas

March 29, 2017 -- Having hit the jackpot on his last trip to The Strip, Texan Steve Torrence is all-in this week in a double-down bid for double up success at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, site starting Friday of the 18th annual Denso Spark Plug NHRA Nationals.

Winner last October of the Toyota Nationals, a triumph that propelled him to third place in the final Mello Yello driver standings, Torrence is hoping to replicate that victory at the wheel of a Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster that has yet to achieve the consistency that last year made it one of the most dominant race cars on the tour.

Three races into the season, the 33-year-old Torrence is sixth in points having watched the three cars in the Don Schumacher Racing stable dominate the early going.

“The DSR cars have been kicking our butts so far,” he said, “(but) maybe we can start giving them some payback (this week).  You can’t just go forward with whatever worked a year ago.  You have to keep getting quicker.  We made some changes and it just takes some time to get it right.

“We’re not as consistent as we were (a year ago), but I think we’re getting there,” said the 2015 NHRA World Champion in the Top Alcohol Dragster class.  “We’ll see if we have something for them this week.”

An eight-time winner since forming his own team in 2012, Torrence admitted that his success a year ago when he started a category-best eight times from the No. 1 qualifying position, raced in eight finals, won three times and, for the first time, set the national record was a bit overwhelming.

“It’s a little bit surreal,” he said, “going from a kid who raced Super Comp with his dad to the driver for a Top Fuel team that can contend for the championship.  We’ve been super blessed.  We just have to keep working hard and keep trying to get better because we know everyone else is doing the same.”

When qualifying begins on Friday, the avid outdoorsman and hunter will be trying to extend to 36 the number of consecutive NHRA tour events for which he has qualified his 10,000 horsepower dragster eighth or better.  That’s the longest such active streak in the Top Fuel division.

“Racing is like the shooting sports,” Torrence said.  “To succeed you need hand-eye coordination, focus and consistency.  In shooting, whether it’s with firearms or the bow-and-arrow, the goal is to fire tight shot groups and consistently place those groups in the same location.

 “That’s also our goal with the race car,” explained he Kilgore College graduate.  “We want the car to perform the same way in either lane in all conditions and while we don’t expect to always run 3.60s, we do always expect to run as quickly as whoever else is in contention.”



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