TORRENCE SETS TRACK SPEED RECORD AT VEGAS
Texan Extends Streak of Semifinal Appearances
March 30, 2014 -- Steve Torrence set a track speed record and extended his streak of consecutive semifinal appearances in an impressive performance in the 15th annual SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Unfortunately, the 30-year-old Texan was not in a celebratory mood after again falling just short of getting his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster into the final round.
Getting so close for the fourth straight race was the more frustrating for the former Top Alcohol World Champion because he again was ousted by points leader Doug Kalitta of Ypsilanti, Mich.
The upshot is that Kalitta will move on to zMAX Dragway at Charlotte, N.C., for the fifth annual NHRA 4Wide Nationals, April 11-13, with a lead of almost 100 points.
Nevertheless, Torrence again demonstrated that he is a long term player in the race for the $500,000 Mello Yello championship. He was quickest in two of the four qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturdy and, in Sunday’s first round, bumped the track speed record to 326.63 miles per hour in a victory over Terry McMillen of Elkhart, Ind.
At the end of that record run, though, he found himself showing off his road racing skills, keeping his dragster under control after exceedingly strong cross winds pushed it toward the guardwall.
“That wind out there, that’s crazy,” Torrence said. “Richard (crew chief Richard Hogan) told me there was a big cross wind but it still surprised me. I had my hands full, especially at that speed.”
Torrence used his considerable starting line skills to get past J.R. Todd in a round two match that proved to be one of the closest of the day. Torrence used a .027 of a second starting line advantage to make his 3.804 a winner against Todd’s slightly quicker 3.800.
Against Kalitta, though, the Capco hybrid simply overpowered a tricky race track, lost traction and slowed to 4.941 seconds, much as it did in the same round two weeks ago at Gainesville, Fla.
Hogan, Torrence and crew will address that problem during Monday testing at LVMS in advance of the 4Wide Nationals.
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