Point Leader Drives Capco Contractors Dragster in Mopar SpringNationals

October 22, 2020 -- A week after totally dominating the AAA Texas Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex, Steve Torrence resumes his quest for a third straight Top Fuel World Championship on one of the two tracks on which he has yet to win a race in the NHRA Camping World series.

Competing for the second straight week in front of a partisan crowd, the 37-year-old Kilgore resident will try put more distance between himself and rival Doug Kalitta when he sends his Capco Contractors dragster after the Top Fuel title at the belated, 33rd annual Mopar Express Lane SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park.

Entering the next-to-last event in a season abbreviated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Torrence enjoys a narrow 51-point lead over Kalitta thanks to a wire-to-wire win last Sunday in Dallas. 

After Kalitta had trimmed his advantage to a scant two points with a victory at St. Louis, Torrence responded by recording just the second competitive sweep of his pro career – race winner, No. 1 qualifier, quickest time on race day, top speed of the meet. 

Although he’s won 40 races, 32 in the last four seasons, the tenacious Texan’s only previous sweep came last year at Denver, Colo.

“(Sweeping the performance categories is) not something we even think about,” Torrence said.  “Hoagie (crew chief Richard Hogan) and Bobby (Lagana Jr.) look at the track conditions, the weather conditions and they just try to set things up so we can make the best run possible.

“There’s no reward for going out there and rotating the earth,” explained the first time father-to-be.  “There’s really no extra benefit in being No. 1.  We’re just as comfortable when we’re No. 2, to be honest.  You still control your own destiny – and that’s really all we want.”

Indeed, while the former Top Alcohol Dragster world champion (2005) has won seven career Top Fuel titles from the No. 1 qualifying position, he’s won more, a total of 12, when he starts from No. 2 including two of four this season. 

Surprisingly, though, he’s won from neither of those starting spots at HRP where he had his best showing in 2016 when he qualified No. 1 and reached the final round before behind denied by, guess who?  Kalitta, the man he considers the best driver never to win the championship.

Torrence, who as a teenager overcame Hodgkins lymphoma, is hoping that the support this week of friends, family members, Capco employees and supporters of the Texas-based Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, the non-profit with which he has been affiliated since this race in 2015, will provide the emotional boost needed to get him into the winners’ circle. 

The only other tour event he has not yet won is the Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd, Minn.  Ironically, that is the event in which his dad, Billy, driver of the second Capco Contractors entry, earned a breakthrough Top Fuel title in 2018.

Nitro qualifying Saturday at 1:45 and 4:45 p.m., Central time, will set the fields for eliminations starting at 10 a.m., Central time, Sunday.

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