Mello Yello Champ Has Won Last Three Four-Wide Races

April 2, 2019 -- When they go four wide this week (April 5-7) at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, don’t bet against Steve Torrence. 

En route to claiming last year’s Mello Yello Top Fuel Championship, Torrence not only won nine traditional events, those in which drivers race as God intended, in pairs, tournament-style, until only one survivor remains, he also swept the two races contested in the four-wide format that has been championed by Speedway Motorsports president Bruton Smith.

In fact, when racing begins Friday in the 20th annual Denso Spark Plugs Nationals, Torrence will be seeking his fourth straight four-wide victory and his third straight trip to the LVMS winners’ circle at the wheel of a Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster in which he dominated the NHRA series the last two seasons.

The 36-year-old cancer survivor won his first four-wide trophy at Smith’s zMAX Dragway in Charlotte in 2017.  He followed that with a victory last year in the inaugural Denso four-wide before repeating in the Carolina original.

Ironically, the talented Texan isn’t really a big fan of four-wide racing because, in sport that pays dividends for consistency, he believes it takes him out of his comfort zone and fragments the laser focus that has made him and his “Capco Boys” the most feared group on the pro tour.

“This is a sport of routine and reaction,” said the 27-time NHRA tour winner, “but the four-wide takes you away from all that.  With the two extra lanes and the two additional opponents, you start over-thinking everything and you wind up making mental mistakes.  It’s a lot tougher than it looks from the grandstands, I promise you that.”

It would be difficult to sell that “loss of focus” scenario to rivals, though.

After compiling an admittedly mediocre 2-5 record in his first five four-wide starts, Torrence has gone to the finals in four of his last five tries while advancing in 11 of the 13 four-wide heats in which he has been a participant. 

As if that weren’t sufficiently intimidating, the man who swept all six races in last year’s Countdown to the Championship, is the LVMS track record holder for speed at 333.33 miles per hour and the event record holder for time at 3.720 seconds.


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