Texan Slips to No. 3 in Mello Yello Top Fuel Points

June 4, 2017 -- Steve Torrence saw his streak of four-straight final round appearances literally go up in smoke Sunday when his potent Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster was victimized by a loss of traction in the second round of the fifth annual NHRA New England Nationals.

After posting his career best time at New England Dragway to take down Doug Kalitta in his opening match, Torrence was upended by Mello Yello point leader, No. 1 qualifier and track record-holder Leah Pritchett when his 10,000 horsepower hot rod slowed from its 3.716 second, 331.20 mile per hour first round pace to 7.071 seconds at just 95 mph.

“I hit the pedal and felt the tires break loose,” Torrence said.  “After running low in the first round, that’s the last thing we expected.  We’ll do the autopsy and see what’s going on and get this thing ready for  the next three weeks.”

The loss allowed three-time and reigning world champion Antron Brown to move past the talented Texan into second place as the tour moves this week to Englishtown, N.J., where Torrence will defend his title in the 48th annual NHRA Summernationals.

Despite his disappointment, Torrence was able to extend two streaks.  He started eighth or better for the 40th consecutive race and he won his first round match for the 13 successive event.  Both re career and category bests.

It was a very uncharacteristic weekend for the cancer survivor and 10-time pro tour winner.  After posting the second quickest time of the first qualifying session, the tour’s most consistent team struggled in the second and third sessions with the same kind of traction issues that re-emerged in eliminations.

However, after running 3.731 on his final qualifying attempt and then 3.716 in an opening race between two perennial title contenders, it appeared that the 34-year-old Texan had recaptured the form that had taken him to consecutive final rounds at Houston, Texas, Charlotte, N.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Topeka, Kan. and to the No. 2 in points.

“That’s drag racing,” he said.  “We’ll figure it out and get back after ‘em this week at Englishtown.  We know we’ve got a bad ass hot rod.  This was just a little speed bump.”



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