Recaptures Point Lead with 3.711 Second Performance in Capco Dragster

October 12, 2019 -- Steve Torrence drove his Capco Contractors dragster back into the Mello Yello point lead Saturday with a qualifying performance at the 12th annual NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway that once again underscored his status as the reigning Big Dog in Top Fuel drag racing.

The 36-year-old Texan put a first round defeat in the opening event in the playoffs even further behind him by earning a category best eight qualifying bonus points while claiming the 23rd No. 1 of his brief pro career, his fourth this season.

A Saturday time of 3.711 seconds at a finish line speed of 325.53 miles per hour sends him into Sunday eliminations against unheralded European Lex Joon with a 10-point edge over second place Doug Kalitta. 

Nevertheless, the reigning series champion refused to talk in any detail about a repeat championship.

“It is way too early to worry about points right now,” he said.  “If you even remotely start looking at them, you can allow it to get in your head and you don’t want that with four races still ahead.

“We do the best that we can to just concentrate on the task at hand.” he said.  “We needed to come out here and qualify well on Friday, and we did that.  Today we just worked on our Sunday setup.  Missed it on the first run but we were second quickest in that last session and second quickest of the day.

“Ultimately, you need to go out and try to win all the races and let the points take care of themselves,” he said, which is what his Capco team did a year ago.  “No matter how much you worry about it, it’s still gonna be whatever it’s gonna be.  We just need to maintain our consistency.”

Over the past four seasons, the 36-year-old Texan has earned a category best 451 qualifying bonus points, an average of 4.7 per race.  His 103 point total this season marks the third time in four years he’s gone over 100.

“We stumbled at Reading because we had a little bit of a lax attitude going in, I think,” Torrence said of his first round loss in the playoff opener at Reading, Pa., that dropped him from first to third place.

“We locked the regular season championship up pretty early,” Torrence said.  “We had been trying some things during the Western Swing and  even though we didn’t have the success that we expected at Indy (at the Labor Day U.S. Nationals), when we got to Reading, maybe we had relaxed a little bit too much.

 “We redirected our focus and got everybody back on the same page,” he admitted.  “We just have to stay focused on going rounds and getting every point possible. The rest will take care of itself.”

Meanwhile, Billy Torrence, bidding for his second consecutive playoff victory at the wheel of the second Capco dragster, will start from the No. 6 position after posting a 1,000 foot best of 3.755 and 325.77 mph.  He will square off with veteran Pat Dakin to start eliminations.


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