TORRENCE CLIMBS TO NO. 2 IN MELLO YELLO POINTS
Texan Now Chasing Schumacher for 2014 NHRA Top Fuel Championship
September 21, 2014 -- The workday may have been shorter than he would have liked, but Steve Torrence found it difficult to be too unhappy Sunday after bowing out of the 29th annual AAA Texas Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex.
Although he couldn’t get his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster out of the second round, the 31-year-old cancer survivor will move on to Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., for this week’s 17th annual AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals trailing only one driver in the battle for the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Championship.
“There’s still a lot of racing to do,” said the four-time tour winner, “but I like this view (from No. 2) a lot better than the one last year (from No. 10). Tony (seven-time World Champion Tony Schumacher) has a pretty good lead but there’s still time. Right now, it’s anybody’s championship to win.”
After beating Khalid alBalooshi in a critical first round race Sunday, Torrence fell to reigning World Champion Shawn Langdon in the quarterfinals. Nevertheless, that singular win enabled him to sneak past Doug Kalitta and into the No. 2 position in points for the first time in his pro career. All that remains is to make it to No. 1.
Already an NHRA World Champion in the Top Alcohol Dragster division (2005), Torrence will start this week 106 points behind Schumacher who, after winning Saturday night’s completion of the Pep Boys Carolina Nationals, doubled up on Sunday.
“Tony knows how to race the Countdown,” Torrence said. “That’s something we’re just learning how to do. Last year and the year before, when we got to the playoffs, we had pushed so hard we didn’t have anything left in the tank.
“Well, I think we’ve got something left in the tank this time and now we’re going back to the track where I got my Top Fuel license. That’d be a great place to win. Anyplace would be a great place to win.”
While the younger Torrence was moving prominently into position to contest the championship, his dad, Billy, also was moving up in points at the wheel of the second Capco Contractors Top Fuel entry.
The company founder and CEO won his first round of the year on Saturday, put together a pair of solid qualifying efforts (No. 4 at Charlotte and No. 7 at Dallas) and moved up to 19th among the 35 drivers who have been active this season.
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