CAPCO Contractors Driver Retains Top Fuel Point Lead

July 23, 2017 -- Success on the NHRA Mello Yello drag racing tour is a comprehensive effort that requires every team member, whether animate or inanimate, to perform perfectly every time down the track.  Apparently, someone didn’t get the message Sunday and, as a result, point leader Steve Torrence bowed out early in the 38th annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals.

After performing flawlessly during qualifying and in a first round win over journeyman Rob Passey, Torrence was victimized in round two by a single cylinder that refused to fire in sequence Sunday at Bandimere Speedway.  With his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster down 1,250 horsepower due to the misfire, the 34-year-old Texan saw his bid for a third straight tour victory evaporate against Brittany Force. 

It was the first time in five races that the businessman/racer had not gone to the semifinals or beyond.  The only driver to break the 3.80 second barrier on all four qualifying runs on the mile-high track, a performance that earned him a race-high nine qualifying bonus points, Torrence slowed to only 3.972 against Force. 

“There’s such a fine line when you’re tuning one of these things,” Torrence said of the challenges that face crew chiefs like his own Richard Hogan and Bobby Lagana Jr.  “It’s like walking a tightrope and sometimes you just fall off.  Did we expect it?  No.  We had a good set-up.  My guys did a great job.  It’s just one of those things that happen and you just have to put it behind you and move on.

“That’s our mindset,” he continued.  “Denver’s done.  Now it’s time to go to Sonoma and get back in the winners’ circle.”

Despite the loss, Torrence will start this week as the Top Fuel point leader for the fourth consecutive race.  He will begin Friday qualifying for 30th Toyota Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway leading Denver winner Antron Brown, the three-time and reigning NHRA Champion, by 54 points and Leah Pritchett by 70. 

Whomever is No. 1 in points following the Labor Day U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, Ind., will start the NHRA’s Countdown to the Mello Yello Championship at Charlotte, N.C., with a critical 30-point advantage. 

Coming off a breakthrough 2016 season in which he finished a career-best third in Top Fuel points, Torrence and his team have taken the lessons learned a year ago and applied them to the present.  The cancer survivor hasn’t lost a first round race since last September and has qualified eighth or better, securing lane choice for the first round, in 45 consecutive events, best in the class.


# # #