Bid for Fifth Straight Event Win Ends in First Round at zMAX Dragway

May 1, 2022 -- Steve Torrence couldn’t find his usual four-wide magic Sunday at zMAX Dragway and for the first time since 2014 failed to take his dominant Capco Contractors dragster beyond the first round in a four across drag race. 

Trying to win the Circle K 4Wide for an unprecedented fifth straight time, the 39-year-old Texan ran afoul of Clay Millican and Josh Hart in Sunday’s opening quad when his 11,000-horsepower hybrid had a mechanical failed and slowed from its 3.694 second qualifying pace to just 3.967 seconds at only 270.10 miles per hour. Millican won the foursome at 3.748 seconds. 

The early exit dropped the four-time reigning Camping World Top Fuel champion to fourth in points behind Brittany Force, Mike Salinas and Justin Ashley after the first six qualifying events for the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship.

His next opportunity to make up ground on the leaders will come in two weeks at the 14th NHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park, a race he won the last two times it was contested (2018 and 2019).

“No excuses.  It was a self-inflicted mistake,” Torrence said of the problem that took him out.  “We’re just working through some things.  Obviously, everything’s not quite right but don’t count out those bad-to-the-bone Capco Boys.  We’ll get it. 

“At least we’re going home with one win,” he joked, referring to daughter Haven Charli’s Saturday victory in part two of the inaugural Baby Walker Nationals, a footrace featuring the one-and-two-year-old sons and daughters of NHRA pro drivers.

  The loss was Torrence’s first in an opening round of any NHRA tour event since Aug. 1 last year when he was upended by close friend Antron Brown in the first round of the COVID-delayed summertime Winternationals at Pomona, Calif. 

Since the end of the 2016 season, the former Top Alcohol Dragster world champion (2005) has lost in the opening round just nine times in 108 starts.  Nevertheless, Sunday’s loss left him winless through the season’s first six races, equaling his longest such streak in the last six years (2018).

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