Four-Time Reigning Top Fuel Champ Falls in Second Round at Seattle

July 31, 2022 -- Steve Torrence did all he could Sunday to defend his championship in the 33rd Flav-R-Pac Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways but, ultimately, his retooled Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster remained incapable of delivering the kind of consistency that for five years made it almost unbeatable on the NHRA Camping World drag racing tour.
Torrence used a .037 reaction time to grab a .025 of a second lead over Justin Ashley in a second round match between drivers who currently occupy the No. 4 and No. 3 positions in Top Fuel points.

Unfortunately, his car wasn’t up to the challenge, slowing to 6.333 seconds at only 95 miles per hour after qualifying second at 3.819 with a finish line speed of 321.50 mph.

Two weeks ago, the car performed well enough, but it was the 39-year-old Torrence who suffered an uncharacteristic mental lapse that cost him a round win at the Mile-High Nationals at Denver, Colo.  Sunday it was role reversal.

“We can’t seem to get on the same page,” lamented a disappointed Torrence, “but I’m still optimistic.  I know what Hoagie and Bobby (crew chiefs Richard Hogan and Bobby Lagana Jr.) are trying to do.  I know what we’ve done, the changes we’ve made and what the car’s doing.

"I think we're getting there but it’s just a slow process and it’s a difficult pill to swallow when you remember how consistent and dominant we were the last five years,” said the four-time reigning Top Fuel World Champion.

“I have all the faith in the world that these Capco boys will get it figured out,” he continued.  “The good thing is we’ve still got a few more races before we have to really kick it into gear for the Countdown.” 

Despite the team’s struggles to adapt to the new set-up, Torrence has every reason to look ahead to the post season with confidence.  After all, he is the only driver ever to have swept the Countdown (winning all six races in 2018) and his playoff record the last four seasons (there was no Countdown in 2020) is a remarkable 70-14.

When qualifying begins Aug. 12 for the 33rd Menard’s Nationals at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kan., Torrence will trail only Brittany Force, Mike Salinas and Ashley in points despite the fact that he has yet to win a race in the 2022 season.

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