TORRENCE RE-DOUBLES HIS EFFORT AT SONOMA NATIONALS
Texan Aims to Build on Record-Breaking Performance at Denver
July 24, 2014 -- With his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster back performing like it did when it reached the semifinals six times in the season’s first seven races, Steve Torrence rolls into wine country this week with renewed confidence and some welcome back-up.
When qualifying begins Friday in the 27th annual Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway, it’ll be Torrence times two with Billy Torrence back behind the wheel of a second Capco dragster in support of his son.
That means twice the data for the crew chief consortium of Richard Hogan, Bobby Lagana and Don Bender. For the Torrences, though, it means much more.
“It’s a special relationship we have and we just enjoy racing together,” Billy Torrence said. “I always love to go and race with Steve, but mainly I hope I can get out there this week and do some good for the team.”
Putting two cars back on the track comes at a key juncture for the younger Torrence, who currently is fifth in Mello Yello points and is hoping to take a starting berth away from one of the multi-car teams – just as he has the last two years.
It doesn’t hurt that his dragster is one of the quickest, fastest and most consistent on the planet. Despite a second round loss last week (by a mere .008 of a second), Torrence got the red-and-white hybrid down the racetrack under full power on all six runs at Bandimere Speedway (Denver) with an average time (3.877 seconds) that was quicker than the old track record.
He also set a speed record at the 5,800 foot track when he accelerated to 322.96 miles per hour during qualifying, thereby becoming the first – and only – driver to break the 320 mile per hour barrier on the track racers call “the mountain.”
Even though the conditions will be dramatically different this week at sea level Sonoma, the 31-year-old Texan does not expect a lapse in performance from a race car that has done everything this year except win a race.
Billy Torrence, meanwhile, is looking forward to racing against drivers who are competing with his son for position in the Countdown field.
“I’m just an old drag racer,” said the founder and CEO of Capco Contractors. “We had three dragstrips within 45 minutes of the house (in Longview, Texas). We had ol’ street cars. We’d work on ‘em all week and tear ‘em up again on Saturday night.”
The elder Torrence, 56, actually has been racing for more than 20 years, most of the time in Super Comp, the entry level category in which his son got his start before moving up to Top Alcohol Dragsters and winning a world championship (2005).
In fact, Billy Torrence was a finalist in the NHRA Mid-South Nationals at Memphis, Tenn., in 2009, losing the title to current Super Comp World Champion Luke Bogacki on a .001 four start.
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