CAPCO DRIVER LEADS TOP FUEL FIELD INTO ATLANTA
ATLANTA, Ga. –Life may be good for world drag racing champion Steve Torrence, but don’t expect smiles from the talented Texanwhen he rolls his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster to the starting linefor this week’s 39th annual Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.
It’s nothing personal. The most dominant driver over the past three seasons and the current Mello Yello point leader simply has come to the realization that he’s a better driver when he’s able to use “anger management,” as he didlast week in winning the NGK 4Wide Nationals at Charlotte, N.C.
“I don’t think I drive my best when I’m relaxed and comfortable,” said the cancer survivor and former Top Alcohol Dragster world champ (2005). “I have to race with a little chip on my shoulder and sometimes that’s misinterpreted. I’m really not mad at anyone, I’m just trying to get myself in race mode.
“I think maybe I was driving a little too defensively (while failing to win in the first five races of the current campaign,),” said the man who has won 20 of the last 49 NHRA tour events, “so I had to have a little talk with myself to get my mind right.”
The result was his third straight four-wide victory at Charlotte and his fourth overall. Now, he gets back to more traditional racing on a track on which he won just two years ago.
“It’s always great to come back to a place where you’ve won before,” said the man who last year swept the six races comprising the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship. “And Atlanta will always be extra special because it’s where I won my first race in Top Fuel (2012).”
Over the last three seasons, Torrence totally has changed the professional racing dynamic with the help of a team of self-proclaimed outlaws and misfits led by crew chiefs Richard Hogan and Bobby Lagana Jr.
In building his team, he completely ignored conventional wisdom which suggested that success was reserved for those who controlled the design and manufacture of every key component.Torrence doesn’t even own his own shop.
Instead, he leases space in Brownsburg, Ind., from John Force Racing, buys chassis built by Morgan Lucas Racing and has purchased engine and driveline components from both Don Schumacher Motorsports and Alan Johnson Enterprises. He’s won 28 races and a championship with nothing but “off the shelf” parts.
2019 NHRA MELLO YELLO POINTS
(After 6 of 18 races leading into the Countdown to the Mello Yello Championship)
- Steve Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contractors dragster 460
- Doug Kalitta, Saline, Mich., Mac Tools dragster 426
- Clay Millican, Drummonds, Tenn., Parts Plus dragster 394
- Mike Salinas, San Jose, Calif., Scrappers Racing dragster 384
- Brittany Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Advance Auto Parts dragster 382
- Leah Pritchett, Danville, Ind., Mopar Dodge dragster 378
- Antron Brown, Pittsboro, Ind., Matco Tools dragster 317
- Terry McMillen, Elkhart, Ind., Amalie Intimigator dragster 309
- Richie Crampton, Brownsburg, Ind., DHL/Kalitta Air dragster 296
- Billy Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contractors dragster 265
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May 19 12th NHRA Virginia Nationals Richmond, Va.
June 2 22nd NHRA Route 66 Nationals Chicago, Ill.
June 9 31st Menard’s NHRA Heartland Nationals Topeka, Kan.
June 16 19th NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Bristol, Tenn.
June 23 13th Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals Norwalk, Ohio
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The Champ at Atlanta Dragway
Last year at the Arby’s Southern Nationals: The No. 3 qualifier, Steve beat Terry Haddock and Doug Kalitta before losing to Blake Alexander in the semifinals.
Starts/Final Rounds/Wins/No. 1 Qualifier: 8/2/2/0
Steve’s quickest time at Atlanta Dragway:3.738 seconds, May 6, 2017
Steve’s fastest speed at Atlanta Dragway:327.74 mph, May 5, 2018
Steve’s won-lost record at Atlanta Dragway: 13-6
Steve’s best moment(s) at Atlanta Dragway: In 2012, after qualifying second, Steve beat J.R. Todd, Bob Vandergriff Jr., Brandon Bernstein and Tony Schumacher to earn his first victory as a Top Fuel professional; five years later, as the No. 2 qualifier, he topped Smax Smith, Shawn Langdon, Leah Pritchett and Schumacher to win again.
Track records: 3.699 seconds by Leah Pritchett, May 7, 2017; 331.12 mph by Clay Millican, May 4, 2018.
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So far, so good….(Steve’s 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