Despite Semifinal Loss, World Champ Cuts Into Force’s Points Lead

June 19, 2022 -- Steve Torrence and his Capco Contractors team continued to grapple with issues of consistency Sunday at Bristol Dragway and lost in the semifinal round of the 21st NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.

Although the loss to Justin Ashley wasn’t part of his Father’s Day game plan, Torrence still managed to gain a little ground on point leader Brittany Force, who exited one round earlier.

When qualifying begins Friday in the 15th Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio, a race he won the last two times it was contested (2019, 2021), Torrence will trail the leader by just 71 points.

 Ironically, while he cut the deficit between himself and Force in his bid to win an unprecedented fifth consecutive regular season championship on the NHRA Camping World tour, Torrence lost a position to Ashley, who became the third different Top Fuel driver to win multiple events this year.

“We’re still working on it,” Torrence said of the new set-up on his 11,000-horsepower race car applied this year by crew chiefs Richard Hogan and Bobby Lagana Jr.  “Lots of promise (in the new system) but it’s pretty frustrating not having the consistency that we’ve had the last couple years.

“These Capco Boys will get it figured out,” predicted the 39-year-old.  “No place I’d rather be than in this car with these guys.  Everybody ahead of us in points has won a couple times already this year so we’ll go back to work this week at Norwalk and see what we can do.”  

The No. 2 qualifier, Torrence took out journeyman Lex Joon in an uncomfortably close first round before stopping Leah Pruett in round two.  Against Ashley, though, his 3.879 was not quite good enough to cover a 3.816.

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