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Point Leader Aims for Fifth Season Victory in Capco Contractors Dragster

NORWALK, Ohio – Over the last 31 races, Steve Torrence has dominated Top Fuel racing in the NHRA’s high profile Mello Yello Series, guiding his Capco Contractors dragster to 12 victories and a glittering 75-19 record in head-to-head competition.

As a result, only once in the last 25 races has the Texas terror NOT been No. 1 or No. 2 in the driver standings.

Nevertheless, entering this week’s 12th annual Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park, an event in which he is the defending champion, Torrence is more impressed with his team’s resilience than with its amazing consistency.

“When we’ve stumbled, we’ve recovered well and I’m really proud of that,” Torrence said. “After our only first round losses this year (Gainesville, Fla., and Chicago), we came back at the next race and won.

“This is the same team we had all last year and the year before that,” Torrence said. “(Crew chief) Richard Hogan, Bobby (Lagana Jr.), Gary Pritchett, all these guys are battle-tested and, as the driver, that gives me a lot of confidence going up there regardless of the conditions or who’s in the other lane.

“We’ve won four races (this year) and that’s put us in a good spot,” said the 35-year-old cancer survivor, “but you can always do more. We hold the bar pretty high for ourselves.”

Third and second in points the last two seasons, Torrence is determined to close the deal this year and become the first driver ever to win NHRA championships in both the Fuel and Alcohol divisions. He was the Top Alcohol Dragster champ in 2005.

This week’s race is the last in a four-in-a-row stretch and as much as Torrence would love to apply an exclamation point, he’s taking nothing for granted.

“It’s too easy to go from hero to zero out here,” he said. “Drag racing is a ‘what have you done for me lately’ kind of sport so while it’s pretty neat to go somewhere as the defending champion, it’s not something you can dwell on. Starting Friday, what happened last year is just ancient history.”

Although he’s won the Summit Nationals just once, Torrence hasn’t lost a round at Norwalk since 2015. That anomaly is the result of his withdrawal from the 2016 event after suffering a mild heart attack during a particularly strenuous physical workout just days before the start of qualifying.

“It apparently was a residual effect of the radiation (treatments he underwent in his fifth with Hodgkins lymphoma),” Torrence said. “Just one of those things. I was back in the car for the next race.”

(After 11 of 18 races leading into the Countdown to the Mello Yello Championship)

1. Steve Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contractors dragster 896
2. Clay Millican, Drummonds, Tenn., Parts Plus dragster 786
3. Tony Schumacher, Lakeway, Texas, U.S. Army dragster 760
4. Doug Kalitta, Saline, Mich., Mac Tools dragster 717
5. Leah Pritchett, Danville, Ind., Mopar Dodge dragster 663
6. Antron Brown, Pittsboro, Ind., Matco Tools dragster 588
7. Brittany Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Monster Energy dragster 552
Terry McMillen, Elkhart, Ind., Amalie Oil dragster 552
9. Scott Palmer, Cassville, Mo., Cat Spot dragster 461
10. Mike Salinas, San Jose, Calif., Scrappers dragster 421

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STEVE at Summit Motorsport Park

Last year: A year after missing the race because of a minor heart attack, Steve qualified third before beating Troy Coughlin, Clay Millican, Brittany Force and Doug Kalitta for the win.
Starts/Final Rounds/Wins/No. 1 Qualifier: 7/2/1/0
Steve’s quickest time at Summit Motorsports Park: 3.715, June 23, 2017
Steve’s fastest speed at Summit Motorsports Park: 331.45 mph, June 25, 2017
Steve’s won-lost record at Summit Motorsports Park: 10-6
Steve’s best moment(s) at Summit Motorsports Park: See “Last year” above
Track records: 3.709 seconds by Doug Kalitta, June 23, 2017; 332.51 mph by Larry Dixon, July 5, 2015.


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