Capco Driver Tries to Extend Point Lead; Second Car Entered for Billy Torrence

September 19, 2018 -- Few pro racers have more fun on the NHRA Mello Yello tour than Top Fuel point leader Steve Torrence.  The 35-year-old Texan is a live-life-to-its-fullest kind of guy due in no small part to the fact that he has survived both Hodgkins Lymphoma and a related heart attack.

Nevertheless, entering this week’s AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park, a race he won just a year ago, the usually fun-loving Torrence has taken on a more serious demeanor.

“I’m naturally intense,’ admitted the 22-time pro tour winner, “but as the year’s gone on, I’ve been a little more relaxed and able to have some fun.  To be honest, though, the rest of these races won’t be fun. 

“We have five more counting this one and we need to win them all,” he said.  “If we’ve learned one thing, it’s that you can’t leave anything to chance because there are no sure things out here.  Anything can happen.”

That’s a not-so-veiled reference to 2017, a year in which he dominated the tour, winning eight times, winning the Traxxas Shootout bonus race, winning the U.S. Nationals, winning the regular season championship, winning everything, in fact, except the one thing he wanted to win most: the Mello Yello Championship.

Exactly two weeks after beating Doug Kalitta in the final round of the Midwest Nationals and extending his point lead, a day after qualifying No. 1 for the AAA Texas Fall Nationals, he crashed his Capco Contractors dragster heavily into the concrete guardwall at the Texas Motorplex, totally destroying it. 

Forced into a back-up car to finish the season, he struggled through the final two events and lost the title to Brittany Force on the last day of the campaign.  It was a bitter pill for a man who is trying to become the first ever to win NHRA championships in both the Fuel and Alcohol divisions.

“When you get so close that you can taste it and it doesn’t happen,” he said, “it just makes you want it even more.  Yeah, it was a crusher, and, yeah, maybe my attitude wasn’t right then, but it is now.

“We’re here to win and that’s the only job we have,” he said.  “We all committed ourselves to get the job done this year.  This is our ‘Revenge Tour” and these Capco boys have really hunkered down and directed their focus even more than last year.   I wouldn’t be where I am without them.  I love ‘em all like brothers.

“Winning Reading was a great way to start (the Countdown),” he said, “but I’m ready to get on with it.  We’ve still got work to do.”

Although he hasn’t won as often this season as he did a year ago, the 2005 Top Alcohol Dragster Champion has been no less dominant.  In a category in which no one else has won more than twice, Torrence has won six times.

Overall, the team has seven wins thanks to dad Billy Torrence’s upset of Antron Brown in the final round of the Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd, Minn., in August.

After missing the first Countdown race due to responsibilities with the family-owned pipeline construction and maintenance business he operates in Henderson, Texas, the elder Torrence will be back in the second Capco dragster this weekend.


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