NORWALK, Ohio – Steve Torrence’s Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster suffered a rare engine failure in the semifinals of the 12th annual Summit Racing Equipment Nationals Sunday and it denied the point leader a shot at his second straight victory at Summit Motorsports Park
Despite the loss, it basically was a “no harm, no foul” weekend for the 35-year-old Texan who came in leading the Mello Yello driver standings by 110 points and left Sunday evening having extended that advantage over second place Clay Millican to 117 at the mid-point of the season.
“It got pretty hot in there,” Torrence said after the engine let go three-quarters of the way down the course in his race with Terry McMillen.
“I didn’t wait till it got completely stopped to bail out,” he said. “I was getting out of there. That was a mess. This Capco crew is gonna have some work to do but thankfully we’ve got a week off before we go to Epping (N.H., for the sixth running of the New England Nationals).”
Torrence qualified third behind Clay Millican and Brittany Force but neither of those heavy-hitters survived beyond the second round in an event in which unheralded Blake Alexander, the No. 12 qualifier, won for the first time in his career.
Torrence, meanwhile, made it to another semifinal largely on his own driving ability after his usually dominant hybrid slowed to 4.027 seconds at only 269.89 miles per hour in a second round race with Mike Salinas. His .045 of a second reaction time, best of the day in Top Fuel, got him to the finish a narrow .007 of a second ahead of his opponent.
Unfortunately, after that, the 20-time NHRA tour winner had no magic remaining for the semifinal.
As mentioned Torrence still leads TF, with Millican in second place, followed by Tony Schumacher, Doug Kalitta, Leah Pritchett, and McMillen.