Four-Time Top Fuel World Champ Remains in Third Place in Points

March 13, 2022 -- Steve Torrence failed to get his Capco Contractors dragster into the winners’ circle for the third straight Camping World tour event, something he hasn’t experienced since 2019, but the 38-year-old remained solidly in position to win a fifth straight NHRA Top Fuel championship following Sunday’s weather-battered 53rd annual Amalie Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.

Despite a narrow second round loss to 2020 Rookie of the Year Justin Ashley (3.703 to 3.683), Torrence will move on to the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Apil 1-3) third in Camping World points.

He is the defending champion in that event and has won six of the last seven four-wide races contested at Las Vegas and Charlotte, N.C.  No other driver in any category has won more than twice in four-wide competition. 

It was a brutal weather weekend in Florida that washed out all but one pro qualifying session.  Then, cold temperatures at the outset of racing on Sunday made track conditions especially challenging, resulting in a plethora of upsets and a first-time tour winner in Top Fuel.

Although Torrence qualified No. 3 and was solid in a first-round conquest of old rival Tony Schumacher, he was a couple ticks off Ashley’s first round pace and was unable to make up the deficit in round two.

Meanwhile, Billy Torrence, making his first appearance of the new season in the second Capco Contractors entry, upset 2019 Rookie of the Year Austin Prock in a first round-battle between the No. 9 and No. 8 qualifiers, respectively, but lost in the second round to No. 1 qualifier and eventual race winner Tripp Tatum.

“We get everybody’s best shot,” Torrence said, “but we wouldn’t have it any other way.  We knew it was going to be tough this year with guys out there like Justin and Josh Hart and Austin and now Tripp Tatum. 

“What a great job by those guys.  Us?  We’re just working on some things to keep us in the hunt,” he said, “and everything’s not quite right yet.  But you know these Capco Boys, they’ll get it figured out and we’ll give it another shot in

Torrence, Force, Salinas and Ashley Will Race for $80,000 at Indianapolis  

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Steve Torrence took little time in calling out and then dispatching Leah Pruett in the opening round of the inaugural Pep Boys All-Star Call Out Saturday at Gainesville Raceway but it will be awhile before the Texan and his Capco Contractors teammates can take the next step toward securing the $80,000 earmarked for the winner.

Rain, wind and cold temperatures compelled NHRA officials to postpone the conclusion of the race until Labor Day weekend when the Camping World tour makes its annual stop at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park for the U.S. Nationals.

Torrence will oppose either Brittany Force, Mike Salinas or Justin Ashley in the semifinals.  Which one will be determined by Force who, after posting the quickest winning time in Saturday’s first round (3.684 seconds) will exercise the event’s unique “pick your opponent” option before the semifinal round.

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