TORRENCE BLAZING HIS TRAIL TO NHRA SUC­CESS

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Mike Cham­bers

MORRISON» Top fuel points leader Steve Torrence has a real job.

Torrence, who has won the last two events head­ing into this week­end’s Mopar Mile-High Na­tion­als at Bandimere Speed­way and was No. 1 on Fri­day in the first qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion, is among eight in-of­fice em­ploy­ees for Capco Con­trac­tors Inc., a mod­est pipe­line com­pany in Hen­der­son, Texas. His fa­ther, Billy Torrence, founded Capco in 1995, when Steve was 12.

The fam­ily busi­ness and rac­ing de­fines Steve Torrence, who has won five-of-13 races and is 33-8 on Sun­days in his break­out year. Torrence made a 3.707-sec­ond pass at a top speed of 322.04 mph to col­lect top fuel’s pro­vi­sional pole early in Colorado’s 38th an­nual NHRA event. He later went 3.775 (323.97 mph) in the last pass of the night, and stands sec­ond to Doug Kalitta (3.767, 323.97).

“To be able to come out and do this as a fam­ily run op­er­a­tion, self-funded, and have the suc­cess we’re hav­ing, it makes you proud of what you are and where you come from,” Torrence said dur­ing a rain de­lay in Fri­day’s first qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion. “I worked this morn­ing at Capco and then flew here at lunch. I fly to the races on Fri­day and fly home on Sun­day nights. I’m at work on Mon­day.”

Torrence, 34, owns his sin­gle-car team, which is spon­sored by Capco. But Torrence ad­mits there is lit­tle ad­ver­tis­ing or mar­ket­ing ben­e­fits for Capco to be the lead spon­sor.

“We don’t need to ad­ver­tise here to get busi­ness,” he said. “We use it as an en­ter­tain­ment tool. We take some of the peo­ple that we work with and bring them out to the races. It’s hos­pi­tal­ity and ap­pre­ci­a­tion. I’ve taken peo­ple hunt­ing. I’ve taken peo­ple to the races. My dad calls me the ‘Am­bas­sador of En­ter­tain­ment.’ ”

He added: “There’s a few com­pa­nies that are in­volved with us that we are re­ally proud to rep­re­sent. But we’re a fam­ily race team. Ev­ery­thing we do is fam­ily ori­ented.

We race with our heart on our sleeve, and we’re a sin­gle-car team in a mul­ticar team sport. We’re hav­ing a lot of suc­cess and that’s more grat­i­fy­ing to me — own­ing the team, be­ing part of the day-in, day-out op­er­a­tions and be­ing on that is­land by your­self. It’s very grat­i­fy­ing.”

Torrence, who fin­ished a ca­reer-best third last sea­son, has ad­vanced to sevenof-13 fi­nal rounds this year, go­ing 5-2. He is on an eigh­trace win­ning streak, hav­ing swept the pre­vi­ous two events in Nor­walk, Ohio, and Chicago. Torrence has yet to lose in the first round, but lost three quar­ter­fi­nal races in the first four events of the year.

Torrence en­tered this sea­son with a 154-154 ca­reer elim­i­na­tion-round record, and he was av­er­age early this sea­son un­til win­ning the fifth race in front of fam­ily and friends April 23 in Hous­ton.

“First few races we strug­gled. And then we de­vel­oped our clutch pack­age and ev­ery­thing in the bell hous­ing,” he said. “We’ve been able to work on that tuneup, re­fine that tuneup. And I’m driv­ing more con­fi­dent than I ever have just be­cause of the race car and the way it’s per­form­ing.”

Foot­notes. John Force Rac­ing came out strong in its three-car funny car pro­gram, run­ning 1-2-3 in the de­layed first qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion and that stood through the sec­ond ses­sion. John Force broke the funny car track record elapsed time with a 3.899-sec­ond run be­fore daugh­ter Court­ney Force broke that with a 3.889 pass. Court­ney also rewrote the track speed record, go­ing 328.30 mph. JFR’s Robert Hight had the third-fastest time of the first ses­sion . ... The first qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion, sched­uled to be­gin at 5 p.m., fea­tured sev­eral rain de­lays and lasted past 8:45 p.m., af­ter pro stock and pro stock mo­tor­cy­cle. Those di­vi­sions were lim­ited to one ses­sion Fri­day and Drew Skill­man (pro stock, 6.925, 197.94 mph) and Ed­die Kraw­iec (pro stock mo­tor­cy­cle, 7.178, 185.86 mph) own the pro­vi­sional pole po­si­tions . ... There are two sched­uled qual­i­fy­ing ses­sions Satur­day be­fore Sun­day’s 16-lad­der races in top fuel, funny car, pro stock and pro stock mo­tor­cy­cle.

Andy Cross, The Den­ver Post

Steve Torrence, rac­ing Fri­day at the 38th Mile-High Na­tion­als at Bandimere Speed­way, is an em­ployee of Capco Con­trac­tors Inc., a pipe­line com­pany in Texas. “I fly to the races on Fri­day and fly home on Sun­day nights,” he says.

Andy Cross, The Den­ver Post

NHRA star Steve Torrence waits pa­tiently in the cock­pit of his top fuel drag­ster dur­ing a rain de­lay in qual­i­fy­ing at Bandimere Speed­way in Morrison on Fri­day. He is on an eight-race win­ning streak.

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