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TORRENCE OUT EARLY AT CHICAGO

TORRENCE UPSET AT CHICAGO
Texan Out in First Round of Route 66 Nationals; Retains Point Lead

CHICAGO, Ill. – Changing track conditions rendered inconsequential Steve Torrence’s record-breaking qualifying performance and ended the Texan’s bid to repeat as Top Fuel champion Sunday in the 21st annual JEGS Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

After obliterating the track record during qualifying with a time of 3.677 seconds and a finish line speed of 333.58 miles per hour, Torrence appeared to be in command in a first round match with journeyman Luigi Novelli until his Capco Contractors dragster began to lose traction near half track.

Unable to get the 10,000 horsepower hybrid back under control, the 19-time tour winner slowed to 4.237 seconds at just 221 mph. It was a disappointing result for the 35-year-old cancer survivor who was bidding for his fourth win of the current campaign and his 12th over the last two seasons.

“I felt it start to spin the tire,” Torrence said, “and it was one of those ‘oh, no’ moments when you’re out front just waiting for the other guy to drive around you – and and he did. It’s frustrating ‘cause these Capco guys gave me a great car. Not the way we expected it to go, I can tell you that.”

Despite the loss, the former Top Alcohol Dragster world champion (2005) retained his lead in the Top Fuel driver standings. When the NHRA’s Mello Yello tour moves this week to Virginia Motorsports Park for the Virginia Nationals, he’ll lead Clay Millican by 25 points.

It was only the third first round loss in the last 37 races for Torrence who finished second in points a year ago, losing the title on the final day of the season.

Meanwhile, Billy Torrence scored a major upset with the second Capco Contractors entry when he dispatched eight-time series champion Tony Schumacher in the first round. Unfortunately, his day ended a round later when he was bested by Blake Alexander.


2018 NHRA MELLO YELLO POINTS

TOP FUEL
(After 9 of 18 races leading into the Countdown to the Mello Yello Championship)

1. Steve Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contractors dragster 712
2. Clay Millican, Drummonds, Tenn., Parts Plus dragster 687
3. Leah Pritchett, Danville, Ind., Mopar Dodge dragster 592
4. Tony Schumacher, Lakeway, Texas, U.S. Army dragster 578
5. Doug Kalitta, Saline, Mich., Mac Tools dragster 570
6. Brittany Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Monster Energy dragster 471
7. Terry McMillen, Elkhart, Ind., Amalie Oil dragster 464
8. Antron Brown, Pittsboro, Ind., Matco Tools dragster 456
9. Scott Palmer, Cassville, Mo., Cat Spot dragster 350
10. Richie Crampton, Brownsburg, Ind., DHL/Kalitta Air dragster 329

12. Billy Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contractors dragster 257

CAPCO CONTRACTORS race summary:

21st annual JEGS Route 66 Nationals:

Qualify – Steve Torrence, No. 1 at 3.677 seconds, 333.58 miles per hour
Round 1 – S. Torrence, 4.237 seconds, 221.34 mph, lost to Luigi Novelli, 4.003, 90.51 mph.
FINAL – Clay Millican, 3.894 seconds, 289.32 mph, def. Leah Pritchett, 4.501 seconds, 192.08 mph.

Qualify – Billy Torrence, No. 14 at 3.900 seconds, 301.87 mph.
Round 1 – B. Torrence, 3.784 seconds, 330.15 mph, def. Tony Schumacher, 4.718 seconds, 162.43 mph.
Round 2 – B. Torrence, 4.528 seconds, 192.28 mph, lost to Blake Alexander, 4.245 seconds, 240.94 mph.
 

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