World Champion’s Four-Wide Victory Streak Ends at Three Straight

April 7, 2019 -- The streak ran out Sunday for world champion Steve Torrence whose domination of NHRA four-wide drag racing ended in the second round of the 20th annual Denso Spark Plug Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The 36-year-old Texan had driven his Capco Contractors dragster to three straight four-wide wins over the last two seasons but a brief loss of concentration in Sunday’s second round duel with Top Fuel rivals Brittany Force, Doug Kalitta and Richie Crampton cost him a shot at number four.

Force, the 2017 series champion, and Kalitta, the Mello Yello point leader, advanced to the final quad even though Kalitta’s track time of 3.790 was a tick slower than Torrence’s (3.783).  The difference came at the starting line where Kalitta forged an .021 of a second advantage in his reaction to the starting signal.

“Doug’s really good on the lights,” Torrence said, “and I was a little off my game.    I hate it for these Capco boys because they gave me a great car.  No excuses.  I just have to do better.

“The good thing is there’s not a lot of time to beat myself up about it,” he said.  “We start racing in Houston (in the 32nd annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals) on Friday.”

A 27-time tour winner, Torrence remains solidly in position to successfully defend his championship.  Despite Sunday’s disappointment, he’ll move on to Houston Raceway Park, one of the two Texas tracks he calls home, third in points behind Kalitta and Sunday race winner Mike Salinas.

Billy Torrence, the 60-year-old founder of Capco Contractors and an NHRA national event winner in both the professional and sportsman divisions, also failed to advance out of Sunday’s second round in the second Capco dragster, the 10,000 horsepower hybrid in which he won earlier this year at Phoenix, Ariz.

He, too, remains well positioned in driver points, tied for sixth with a chance to improve his standing before a partisan crowd in Houston.


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