Texan Wins Category Best Fourth Race of the Year

June 26, 2017 -- Steve Torrence won his category-leading fourth race of the season Sunday with a spectacular performance at Summit Motorsports Park that included a final round hole-shot victory in the 11th annual Summit Racing Equipment Nationals.

The win over No. 1 qualifier Doug Kalitta was a .004 of a second blur that made Torrence a four-time tour winner for the first season since he founded Torrence Racing in 2012.  It enabled him to extend his lead with just six races remaining until the points are adjusted for the Countdown to the $500,000 Mello Yello Championship.

In the finale, Torrence’s .051-.062 starting line advantage put his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster back in the winners’ circle despite a narrow performance deficit (3.743 to Kalitta’s 3.736).  It was the 12th pro victory for the 34-year-old Texan, his fifth in the last 14 races, and it demonstrated once more that his confidence in himself, his car and his team is not just an idle boast. 

In fact, when the NHRA touring pros re-convene in two weeks in Chicago for the 20th annual K&N Filters Route 66 Nationals, he will be the only driver among the top four not employed by the Don Schumacher Racing juggernaut.  He leads Leah Pritchett by 50 points, Antron Brown by 81 and Tony Schumacher by a whopping 215.

That in itself is a source of great pride for a man who is trying to become the first driver in NHRA racing history to win World Championships in both the Top Fuel and Top Alcohol divisions.  He was the Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Dragster champ in 2005 and last year finished third in Top Fuel.

In running his head-to-head racing record to 24-4 over the last eight races (a winning percentage of 85.7), Torrence beat rookie Troy Coughlin Jr. in round one, applied a little payback to Clay Millican, last week’s winner, in round two and then beat pseudo-teammate Brittany Force (the share the tuning expertise of Alan Johnson) in the semifinals. 

Winning the Summit Nationals was doubly satisfying insomuch as he missed last year’s race after undergoing a medical procedure resulting from a mild heart attack he suffered coming out of a particularly strenuous workout session at a gym near his home in Kilgore, Texas.

“I had to follow last year on the internet,” he said.  “This is a lot better.  I’ve just gotta say again that my guys are THE best in the business.  They prove it every week.  I had a great car again in either lane and in any conditions and you can’t ask for more than that.  I just hate that we’re not racing next week.  You don’t get on many runs like this one, especially against the people who are out here.  It’s tough.

“So we’re gonna celebrate this one pretty good and then get ready for Chicago and the Western Swing and Indy,” Torrence said.  “We’re just gonna keep doing what we’re doing.  It’s been working so far.”

Torrence has reached the semifinals in six of the last eight races and Sunday’s success extended to 15 the number of consecutive races in which he has advanced out of the critical first round.  Additionally, his No. 3 start extended to 43 the number of consecutive races in which he has qualified eighth or better, insuring lane choice in the first round.



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