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TORRENCE WINS ANOTHER FOUR WIDE

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – On a day when Tony Schumacher, Antron Brown, Leah Pritchett and Brittany Force all were spectators after the first round, Texan Steve Torrence ignored the distractions, retained his focus and drove the Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster to an historic victory in the ninth annual NGK Spark Plugs 4Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.

It was the third consecutive four-wide victory for the 35-year-old cancer survivor, his second straight at zMAX and his second in three weeks. He won the inaugural Denso 4Wide at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on April 8. The Charlotte and Las Vegas tracks, both built by Bruton Smith’s Speedway Motorsports, Inc., are the only two that can accommodate four cars at a time.

After posting quick time of eliminations (3.709 seconds at 331.53 miles per hour) in easily winning his opening quad, Torrence got a scare in the second round when his 10,000 horsepower hybrid starting spinning the tires downtrack after opening up an early lead.

“I had to slap the throttle (to regain traction),” he admitted. “It was going and then it just started spinning.”

As a result, he limped across the finish line behind winner Terry McMillen in 3.873 seconds at only 286 mph (behind the winner’s 3.850 at 321.65 mph).

“That’s where you get a break in the four-wide,” Torrence said. “We’d have been toast if we were racing two-wide, but since two cars move on, we were lucky enough to get the second spot behind Terry.”

Having dodged that bullet, Torrence was back in form in the final, beating veteran Doug Kalitta to the finish in 3.813 seconds at 326 mph in a race that wasn’t even close. Kalitta trailed at 4.010 with McMillen third and Clay Millican fourth.

It was Torrence’s third win of the season and his 12th in the last 32 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Series. With 19 wins in a relatively brief pro career, the former Top Alcohol Dragster world champion (2005) moved into a tie for 10th place in all-time Top Fuel victories with Brandon Bernstein and two-time former World Champion Gary Beck.

Second and third in the championship standings the last two seasons, Torrence extended his current lead over Schumacher to 77 points. He has shared or led the points outright after 15 of the last 21 events.

The tour moves this week to Atlanta Dragway where Torrence is the defending champion in the NHRA Southern Nationals.

2018 NHRA MELLO YELLO TOP FUEL POINTS
(After 6 of 18 races leading into the Countdown to the Mello Yello Championship)

1. Steve Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contractors dragster503
2. Tony Schumacher, Lakeway, Texas, U.S. Army dragster426
3. Doug Kalitta, Saline, Mich., Mac Tools dragster401
4. Clay Millican, Drummonds, Tenn., Parts Plus dragster384
5. Antron Brown, Pittsboro, Ind., Matco Tools dragster362
6T. Leah Pritchett, Danville, Ind., Mopar Dodge dragster315
6T. Terry McMillen, Elkhart, Ind., Amalie Oil dragster315
8. Brittany Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Monster Energy dragster311
9. Richie Crampton, Brownsburg, Ind., DHL/Kalitta Air dragster278
10. Scott Palmer, Cassville, Mo., CatSpot Litter dragster249
 

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