The days are getting hotter as June approaches, and so is the performance of Steve Torrence and his Torrence Racing/Capco Contractors Inc. Top Fuel dragster team.
The first-year team enjoyed his finest NHRA Full Throttle Series race two weeks ago when he dominated on a hot Atlanta Raceway track and came away with his first professional victory. So the forecast for 85-degree temperatures for the Dollar General NHRA Summernationals at Topeka, Kansas, Friday through Sunday, aren’t that troubling.
“The car performed well in the heat. It was absolutely flying,” said Torrence, “and it will hot in Topeka, so that definitely bolsters our confidence. We know Richard Hogan, our crew chief, has a good handle on the tune-up in hot weather conditions and on hot tracks.
“It really takes a good crew chief to be able to finesse the race car and get it to go down the track . . . and still run quick. That was huge for us.”
As he looked forward to this race at Heartland Park Topeka, Torrence recalled the memories of his first Top Alcohol Dragster victory there in 2005. He went on to win nine times in 11 final rounds in 13 races and clinched the Lucas Oil championship.
“Now, I’d like to win my second race there in the fuel car, he said.”
Hogan’s tune-ups allowed Torrence to make eight strong runs at Atlanta – four in qualifying and four in eliminations, especially the final showdown with Tony Schumacher, the seven-time world champion and Top Fuel driver with the most wins.
As Torrence cruised down the track to victory, Schumacher’s car lost traction and fell back.
“Any time you can win a Top Fuel race – or any race – that definitely boosts your confidence,” continued Torrence. “That is just the motivation to try harder at your next race.”
Torrence didn’t have any trepidation when it came time to get his new team up and running last year. His intentions were simple: build a strong one-car team to compete against the domination of multi-car teams.
The results speak for themselves: Ten races later he was victorious. He earned his first top qualifier position at Charlotte last month and followed with second-place starts at Houston and Atlanta. He reached the semifinals at Las Vegas and Houston as well.
“We were very pleased to get that win for Capco and Torrence Racing,” he commented. “But we are not satisfied with that. We want to keep going. If anything, it has made us hungry for another one.”