Torrence Hoping to Extend Final Round Streak in NHRA Midwest Nationals

September 28, 2022 -- After a pair of early losses to start the Countdown to the Championship, the success of Steve Torrence’s “drive for five” campaign likely will hinge upon the ability of his talented Capco Contractors team to find a winning “mix for six” at this week’s 26th NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Although he will start the third of six playoff races in fifth place, 105 points behind pacesetting Justin Ashley, the 39-year-old Torrence remains optimistic about his bid to become just the fourth driver in professional drag racing history to win as many as five straight NHRA series championships.

At the root of that optimism is his past performance and that of his Capco Top Fuel Toyota at WWTR, especially over the last five seasons.

During that span, the Texan went to five straight final rounds and posted an 18-2 round record, hoisting the Top Fuel trophy in 2017 and 2018 and again last season when he beat Mike Salinas in the final.

The other thing he has going for him is the mental toughness born of previous Countdown battles, specifically the last one he lost – in 2017.  After winning the regular season championship and leading the points throughout the playoffs, he was passed by Brittany Force on the last day of the season.  It was a turning point in his career.

“To have that kind of failure and then to accept the fact that it was just you not doing your job when you needed to that made the difference, that’s the only way you can move forward,” he said.

“I took that whole next year and redirected my focus, not on who I’m racing, not what they’re doing, not what their car did, but only on what my car’s doing, what my guys are doing, and what I’m doing when I’m in the car.  At the end of the day, that’s the only control I have,” explained the only driver to have won NHRA World Championships in both the Top Fuel and Top Alcohol divisions (he won the Top Alcohol title in 2005).

“The thing is, we’ve won 52 times (in Top Fuel), but all that means to me is that 52 times I didn’t screw it up,” Torrence said.  “I’m going to go out this weekend and try and make it 53 and we’ll go on from there.”

Qualifying for the Midwest Nationals begins with a single nitro session at 7 p.m., Texas time, Friday followed by sessions at 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday.  Sunday eliminations begin at 10:30, Texas time. 

All television coverage of the event will air on Sunday with qualifying highlights at 11:30 a.m., Texas time, and eliminations at 1 p.m., Texas time, on FS1.

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