Beats Schumacher to Win $100,000 Top Fuel Bonus Race

September 2, 2017 -- The third time proved to be a charm for Texan Steve Torrence who, after runner-up finishes in 2012 and 2013, won Saturday’s Traxxas Nitro Shootout at Lucas Oil Raceway in a spectacular final round duel with eight-time NHRA World Champion Tony Schumacher.

Torrence drove his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster through the 1,000-foot course in 3.673 seconds at a finish line speed of 329.50 miles per hour.  Schumacher crossed the line just behind him in 3.680 seconds with a closing speed of 330.31 mph.  The victory, worth $100,000, sends the 34-year-old Torrence into Monday’s 63rd annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals with much needed momentum.

Winner of a category best six Mello Yello tour events this season, Torrence trails three-time and reigning Top Fuel champion Antron Brown by 31 points in the battle for the No. 1 starting position in the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s version of baseball’s World Series.

Saturday’s performance was almost flawless.  Torrence left the starting line first in all three rounds and his hybrid race car, tuned by veteran crew chief Richard Hogan with help from Bobby Lagana Jr., posted the quickest time in each round.

“We’re hitting on all eight,” Torrence said, a reference to firing on all cylinders, “and it couldn’t come at a better time.  It’s great to get the 100 grand – thanks, Traxxas, but the big deal is we made a statement.  We came her to compete whether it’s in qualifying, the Shootout or The Big Go.  Hogan has this thing flying, my guys are pumped and as long as I can keep doing my job, we’re going to be a player.”

For Torrence, the only disappointment was that his final round 3.673 did not count as a qualifying run.  If it had, it would have moved him up to third in the order for Monday’s race behind Clay Millican and Leah Pritchett.  Instead, he will move into Sunday’s final two qualifiers in the No. 5 position. 

“Obviously, we’d like to move up but five isn’t a bad spot.  I know I’m gonna  have a car on Monday that can win no matter where we qualify.”

It was the cancer survivor’s first win of any kind at Lucas Oil Raceway since 2005 when he won the U.S. Nationals in the Top Alcohol Dragster class en route to the World Championship.  This year, he is trying to become the first driver to win the title in both Top Fuel and Top Alcohol and would love to once again use the world’s biggest drag race as a stepping stone.


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