Capco Contractors Driver Retains Point Lead Despite Early Exit at Houston

April 22, 2018 -- Steve Torrence remained winless in his home state Sunday after dropping a narrow decision to No. 1 qualifier and track record-holder Leah Pritchett in the second round of the 31st annual NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway.

Winner of 11 of the previous 30 Mello Yello tour events and of 18 overall, the Kilgore resident had hoped to finally break through Sunday at one of the two Texas tracks he calls home, especially after runner-up finishes at Royal Purple each of the last two seasons. 

Instead, he’ll have to wait until fall when the tour moves to the Texas Motorplex outside Dallas for another opportunity.     

Despite the loss, the just-turned-35-year old cancer survivor managed to retain a share of the point lead in his latest bid for the $500,000 Mello Yello Top Fuel Championship. 

When the tour moves to Charlotte, N.C., this week for the ninth annual NGK 4Wide Nationals, he and eight-time series champion Tony Schumacher will start the race tied at the top with 385 points apiece.

Torrence’s problems began in qualifying where, for the first time in the last 60 events, he failed to place his Capco Contractors dragster among the quick eight starters.  That sent him into eliminations without the benefit of lane choice for the first time since 2015.

Although he managed to win his first round match with Scott Palmer, his second round 3.778 wasn’t quite good enough to handle Pritchett’s 3.740 in the other lane.  It also was an early day for dad Billy Torrence who made his third start of the season in a second Capco dragster.

The elder Torrence again qualified well (No. 4 at 3.737 seconds) but fell to eventual runner-up Terry McMillen in the second round, 3.775 to the winner’s 3.766.


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