Kilgore's Torrence looking for win at Summit Racing Equipment Nationals
By Special to the News-Journal
July 3, 2014 at 11 p.m.
NORWALK, Ohio – Although his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster hasn't exactly overwhelmed the competition in its last three appearances on the Mello Yello Tour, Kilgore native Steve Torrence knows that a strong effort in this week's eighth annual Summit Racing Equipment Nationals will put his team back on track for a stretch run to the playoffs.
"If we can finish this four-in-a-row on a high note, it'll give us a good foundation for the Western Swing (three races in three weeks starting July 18-20 in Denver, Colorado)," said the former NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster Champion (2005).
"We've just been in one of those deals where things just aren't quite in sync," the four-time Mello Yello Tour winner said. "But that stuff usually evens out over the season and I can promise you that we're all ready for that to happen."
Despite five straight first-round losses, Torrence remains one of those most often mentioned in the Mello Yello championship conversation.
"We're the same team that went to the semifinals six times (in the first seven races this year)," he said. "We still have a fast race car. We just need to generate a little momentum to carry us through the west coast events. We're still in a good spot (in the point standings), but we need to get back to where we were."
Torrence had one of the two quickest cars on race day during last week's Route 66 Nationals at Chicago. Unfortunately, he lost to the other one (driven by reigning world champion Shawn Langdon) and, because of some bizarre twists during the qualifying phase, it happened in the very first round.
"It hasn't been just one issue, just things that happen during a season," Torrence said. "For us, though, it seems like they've happened all at once. We've still run good, but we just don't have that much to show for it."
Despite the fact that he is winless on the year, the 31-year-old is sixth in Mello Yello points, the only driver in the top 8 who has not yet won this year, an oversight he hopes to address this week at Summit Motorsports Park.
After five consecutive first-round exits, Torrence will roll his 10,000 horsepower hybrid to the starting line this week on a track on which he was runner-up two years ago after qualifying No. 1.