Victory in Dodge Nationals Brings Fourth Straight Title Closer Than Ever

October 31, 2021 -- Steve Torrence won for the 50th time in his professional career Sunday, sending his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster past the similar machine of Mike Salinas and straight into the record books in the final round of the 21st annual Dodge SRT Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

In winning the 1,000th national championship event in NHRA drag racing history, Torrence moved one giant step closer to his fourth consecutive Camping World Top Fuel title. 

When qualifying for the season-ending 56th Auto Club Finals begins Nov. 12th at Pomona, Calif., he will lead second place Brittany Force by 105 points and Salinas by 172.  That’s a formidable lead even going into a race that awards half again as many points as any other in the playoffs.

“We’re not gonna do anything different,” he said of his approach.  “We’re just gonna go out there and try to win the race. 

“This is just awesome,” he said of Sunday’s success, which earned him a unique version of the NHRA Wally trophy celebrating the organization’s 1,000th race.  “All the glory goes to God and to my momma (Capco Racing boss ‘Momma Kay’ Torrence).  To win the 1,000th NHRA race with these Capco boys is just unbelievable for a kid that had a dream to drive a Top Fuel car just one time.”

Sunday’s win was the 10th win in 19 races this season for the 38-year-old Texan, assuring that he will be the first pro driver to win at least half the races contested in a season for the first time since 2008 when Tony Schumacher won 15 of 24.

With Sunday’s triumph, his fourth in his last seven Vegas starts and his second in the current Countdown, Torrence becomes just the 14th pro driver to win 50 times on the NHRA’s Camping World tour, joining such straight-line luminaries as John Force, Kenny Bernstein, Schumacher, Antron Brown and Greg Anderson.

The win was his 42nd in the last five seasons.  That’s 24 more than any other pro driver over that span.  Funny Car standouts Ron Capps, Matt Hagan and Robert Hight are the next closest in numbers with 18, 17 and 16 wins, respectively. 

Dad and Capco teammate Billy Torrence, who went out in the second round Sunday, is one of three Top Fuel drivers tied for the second most wins in the category since the start of the 2017 season with eight.  The others are Force and Leah Pruett.

The win avenged a final round loss to Salinas just two weeks ago at Bristol, Tenn., and it made Torrence the first Top Fuel driver to win more than once in this Countdown.  He won previously at St. Louis.  This was the fifth consecutive final round appearance for Torrence and his Capco crewmates after exiting in the semifinals at the first two Countdown races and briefly surrendering the lead to Force.

Torrence won Sunday from his favorite qualifying position: No. 2, from which he has won 19 of his 50 career titles, twice as many as from any other starting spot.

The only pro drivers to have won four or more successive titles are Don Prudhomme, Kenny Bernstein, Lee Shepherd, Bob Glidden, Tony Schumacher and John Force.  Schumacher, currently the only Top Fuel driver in the group, was the last to achieve the standard when he won six straight titles from 2004 through 2009.

That last driver other than Torrence to win the championship was Force, who snatched the title from his grasp on the final day of the 2017 season.  Motivated by that result, he has been virtually unbeatable ever since.


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