Four-Time Reigning Top Fuel Champ Fifth in Points Entering Season Finale

October 30, 2022 -- Following a difficult second round loss to Austin Prock in Sunday’s 22nd NHRA Nevada Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a disappointed Steve Torrence acknowledged that his dream of an historic fifth straight Top Fuel World Championship likely will not be realized.

“The door was open,” Torrence said, referring to point leader Justin Ashley’s first round loss to Clay Millican, “but we just couldn’t get through it.”

Although not mathematically eliminated from the title chase due to the NHRA’s points-and-a-half payout at the season-ending Auto Club Finals, Torrence understands the reality of the situation.

“If we just had to catch Brittany (Force) or Justin, that would be one thing,” he said, “but there are two other drivers ahead of us now.  We’ll just go to Pomona and try to end it strong and build some momentum.  I’m really proud of these Capco Boys.  We had some issues this year, but we kept our heads up and we’re ending the season with a strong car.”

When qualifying begins Nov. 11 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Calif., the 39-year-old Texan will trail Force by 87 points and Ashley by 80 with Mike Salinas and Antron Brown also blocking his path to the top. 

“It’s definitely not how we drew it up,” Torrence said of a 2022 season in which he and crew chiefs Richard Hogan and Bobby Lagana Jr. decided to make a change to the engine/clutch set-up that had propelled their Capco Contractors dragster to victory 43 times from 2017 through 2021.

Unfortunately, during the transition, the car lacked the consistency to which Torrence had become accustomed.  As a result, he has won “only” three times this season, his least productive campaign since 2016.

“This can be a very humbling sport,” Torrence said.  “We struggled early but credit Justin and Brittany and AB and Mike, in fact, credit everybody in Top Fuel.  There are no more easy outs in this class and when you’re the champ, you get everybody’s best.  That’s the way it is; that’s the way it should be.”

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