Texan Wins Third Midwest Nationals Top Fuel Title in Fifth Straight Final Round

September 26, 2021 -- Trying to become just the seventh driver in pro drag racing history to win as many as four consecutive NHRA series championships, Steve Torrence drove his Capco Contractors dragster past No. 1 qualifier Mike Salinas in the final round of Sunday’s 24th NHRA Midwest Nationals to regain the Top Fuel point lead with four playoff races remaining.

Racing in his fifth straight final round at World Wide Technology Raceway, Torrence overcame a starting deficit to outpace Salinas, whose car lost traction halfway through the 1,000 foot sprint to the Top Fuel trophy. 

It was the 49th tour victory for the 38-year-old Texan and it enabled him to leapfrog Brittany Force, who was ousted in the second round.

When qualifying begins Oct. 8 in the 36th annual Texas Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex, Torrence will lead Force by 36 points.  He trailed the 2017 champion by 21 points entering the Midwest Nationals.

Nevertheless, Torrence said that while it was good to regain the lead, there is way too much racing ahead for anyone to assume anything.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned the last five seasons,” he said, “it’s that you can’t get caught up in the points conversation.  That’ll drive you a little crazy.  The only time the points really matter is at Pomona in November.  Right now, we just have to stay focused and do our jobs.  If we do that, the points will take care of themselves.

“It’s not just me and Brittany out there,” Torrence continued.  “You saw what Mike did this weekend.  They ran great and he drove great.  They’re going to have something to say about who wins before it’s all over.  Antron (Brown) has kicked my butt more often than I want to remember and all these kids, Josh Hart and Justin (Ashley), they’re trying to make a name for themselves, so they’re always dangerous.

“Thankfully, I’ve got the best team in the business,” he said.  “We’ve raced the Countdown together for a lot of years, so we know the drill.  The only thing I need to know is that no matter what everyone else is doing around us, these Capco boys always send me to the line with a car that can win.”

In winning a Countdown race for the 10th time, Torrence joined Brown and Tony Schumacher as the only Top Fuel drivers with double digit playoff victories.  His 10 Countdown race wins tie him for eighth overall with good friend and fellow Texan Erica Enders, with whom he shared Sunday’s winners’ circle.

Schumacher is among the drivers who has won four or more consecutive championships.  The others are Don “the Snake” Prudhomme, Kenny Bernstein, Bob Glidden, Lee Shepherd and John Force.

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