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Torrence Nears Another Record

EPPING, N.H. – Having forged a record 404-point lead over nearest rival Doug Kalitta, one might be inclined to think that Steve Torrence will lack motivation this week when he sends his Capco Contractors dragster after the Top Fuel championship in the seventh annual NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway.

After all, there’s no particular benefit to further increasing a lead that will be reduced to just 20 points when the NHRA makes its pre-Countdown adjustment following the Labor Day Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, Ind.

Nevertheless, it is unlikely that the reigning Mello Yello Champion and most recent New England Nationals winner will put his team in “test mode” for the final six races of the regular season. That simply is not his style.

“I know what some people are saying,” acknowledged the 33-time tour winner, “but the truth is, we go out there to win every race. We’ve won six times this year, we’ve got six more races before they adjust the points and we want to win all six.

“We’re just a family-owned race team out here to have fun and for all of us, Richard (crew chief Richard Hogan), Bobby (car chief Bobby Lagana Jr.) and all the rest of these Capco boys, there’s nothing more fun than winning.”

In fact, Torrence has won 12 of the last 18 tour events, six of the last seven, a performance that has propelled him to within one victory of tying Cory McClenathan for No. 8 on the all-time NHRA Top Fuel winners’ list.

The 36-year-old cancer survivor also is on the verge of becoming the first driver in the Countdown Era, regardless of category, to win the regular season championship three consecutive years.

“That would be awesome,” he said. “It would be just one more thing this group has been able to accomplish. It’s a heckuva legacy and I’m just very blessed and proud to be part of it.”

But for a parts failure last month at Bristol, Tenn., Torrence likely would be racing this week for his eighth straight tour victory instead of racing “just” to reach the final round for a personal record eighth consecutive time.

“That’s racing,” Torrence said of the broken crankshaft that allowed Mike Salinas to slip by him for the win. “You can’t take anything for granted.”


(After 12 of 18 races leading into the Countdown to the Mello Yello Championship)

1. Steve Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contractors dragster 1164
2. Doug Kalitta, Saline, Mich., Mac Tools dragster 760
3. Brittany Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Advance Auto Parts dragster 744
4. Mike Salinas, San Jose, Calif., Scrappers Racing dragster 732
5. Antron Brown, Pittsboro, Ind., Matco Tools dragster 723
6. Leah Pritchett, Danville, Ind., Mopar Dodge dragster 651
7. Clay Millican, Drummonds, Tenn., Parts Plus dragster 649
8. Richie Crampton, Brownsburg, Ind., DHL/Kalitta Air dragster 532
9. Terry McMillen, Elkhart, Ind., Amalie Intimigator dragster 524
10. Austin Prock, Indianapolis, Ind., Rocky Mountain Twist dragster 518

11. Billy Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contractors dragster 493

The Champ at New England Dragway:

Last year at the NHRA New England Nationals: As the No. 3 qualifier, Steve beat Dan Mercier, Shawn Reed, Tony Schumacher and Antron Brown for his fifth and final win of the regular season.
Starts/Final Rounds/Wins/No. 1 Qualifier: 6/2/1/0
Steve’s quickest time at New England Dragway: 3.710 seconds, June 3, 2016
Steve’s fastest speed at New England Dragway: 331.20 mph, June 4, 2017
Steve’s won-lost record at New England Dragway: 8-5
Steve’s best moment(s) at New England Dragway: See “Last year” above.
Track records: 3.673 seconds by Leah Pritchett, June 3, 2017; 331.69 mph by Doug Kalitta, June 4, 2017.

So far, so good…. (A season summary)

Date Site Qualifying position and race detail Points

Feb. 10 Pomona, CA 1. Beat Steve Faria, bye, Mike Salinas; lost to Doug Kalitta. 2nd
Feb. 24 Phoenix, AZ 14. Lost to Antron Brown 4th
March 10 Gainesville, FL 3. Beat Dom Lagana; lost to Doug Kalitta 3rd
April 7 Las Vegas, NV 2. Lost in 2nd Quad 3rd
April 14 Houston, TX 2. Beat Kebin Kinsley, Austin Prock; lost to Antron Brown 3rd
April 28 Charlotte, NC 6. WINNER over Clay Millican (Terry McMillen, Leah Pritchett) 1st
May 5 Atlanta, GA 2. Beat Luigi Novelli, Scott Palmer, Shawn Reed 1st
and Brittany Force
May 19 Richmond, VA 4. Beat Todd Paton, Scott Palmer, Billy Torrence 1st
and Antron Brown
June 2 Chicago, IL 3. Beat Terry McMillen, Richie Crampton, Antron Brown 1st
and Mike Salinas
June 9 Topeka, KS 1. Beat Terry Totten, bye, Antron Brown and Billy Torrence 1st
June 16 Bristol, TN 3. Beat Pat Dakin, Clay Millican, Don Lagana; lost to Mike Salinas 1st
June 23 Norwalk, OH 5. Beat Jordan Vandergriff, Doug Kalitta, Brittany Force
and Pat Dakin 1st

Looking Ahead

July 21 40th Dodge Mile-High Nationals Denver, Colo.
July 28 31st NHRA Sonoma Nationals Sonoma, Calif.
August 4 31st Cat Spot NHRA Northwest Nationals Seattle, Wash.
August 18 38th Lucas Oil Nationals Brainerd, Minn.
Sept. 2 65th Chevrolet Performance NHRA U.S. Nationals Indianapolis, Ind.

Countdown to the Championship
Sept. 15 +25th Mopar Express Lane Nationals Reading, Pa.

+Indicates events won by Steve Torrence in 2018


Nitro Member
Can you imagine Steves reaction if they reset the points and he loses the championship this year.

That will be a good interview.
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