TORRENCE TRIES TO REVERSE TOPEKA TREND
CAPCO Driver Looking to Recapture 2005 Magic
May 18, 2016 -- Steve Torrence once owned Heartland Park-Topeka, at least in the figurative sense. Lately, though, the driver of 330 mile-an-hour Capco Contractors/Rio Ammunition Top Fuel dragster hasn’t been able to buy so much as a round win at the track that this week plays host to the 28th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals.
Although he won twice at the Kansas track en route to the 2005 NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster world championship, Torrence has won just two rounds in five appearances as a pro. If he is to realize his goal of becoming the first driver to win NHRA titles in both Top Alcohol and Top Fuel, he knows he’ll have to reverse that trend.
Fortunately, the 33-year-old Texan believes he has the ammunition to effect just such a turnaround. Since veteran Alan Johnson came on board late last year as tuning consultant to crew chief and close friend Richard Hogan, Torrence has emerged as one of the breakout stars in drag racing’s ultimate category.
Coming off a narrow second round loss to reigning world champion Anton Brown last week at Atlanta, Torrence enters this week’s race in fourth place in Mello Yello points, the highest he has ranked at this point in the season since moving up to Top Fuel in 2009.
He owes his early season success to a crew and a race car that have performed almost flawlessly. Of the 41 times his car has left the starting, it has gone to the finish under power on all but three and has averaged an incredible 3.778 seconds per 1,000 foot sprint. On 16 occasions, his time has been the quickest of the session or the quickest of the round.
No wonder, then, that the cancer survivor and former black belt (in taekwondo) feels more confident about contesting the $500,000 Mello Yello championship than he has since he founded Torrence Racing in 2012.
“We’ve lost some close races this year, but we’ve won some, too,” said the graduate of Kilgore College. “It’s a dogfight. There are so many good cars and drivers. You’ve got to keep everything in perspective and remember that it’s a long season. You’ve just got to stay in the hunt and keep firing.”
“We’ve got a group that works well together,” said the six-time Top Fuel winner. “Good chemistry. You can’t buy that. These guys put a great car under me every round and this new Morgan Lucas Racing chassis has been just awesome.
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