ATLANTA, Ga. – Trying to become the last Top Fuel winner at historic Atlanta Dragway, three-time reigning Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence came ever so close Sunday before dropping a narrow final round decision to close friend Antron Brown in the 38th Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals.
Despite the loss, Torrence, from Kilgore, will still be the points leader in the Top Fuel division when racing resumes two weeks hence (May 14-16) in the 11th NGK/NTK 4Wide Nationals at ZMax Dragway in Charlotte, N.C. Torrence has 289. Brown has 258. Shawn Langdon has 221, and Billy Torrence, Steve’s father, is in fourth right now with 179 points.
“I won my first professional race at Atlanta in 2012 and I really wanted to win the last one,” said the 38-year-old cancer survivor, “but we just didn’t get it done today.
“I don’t like to lose to anyone,” Torrence admitted, “but it doesn’t sting quite as bad when it’s my brother and when it’s a great race like that one. That team’s worked really hard and I’m sure this isn’t going to be the last time we line up beside them in a final round this year.”
The No. 2 qualifier behind dad and Capco Contractors teammate Billy Torrence, the man who has dominated the Top Fuel class the last five seasons seemed to have things well in hand after dispatching Justin Ashley in the quarterfinals, just one round after the 2020 NHRA Rookie of the Year had posted quick time of eliminations.
Things began to turn in the semifinals, however, when a loss of traction slowed the Capco dragster to from the 3.769 and 3.772 second pace at which it began eliminations to only 4.009 seconds in a victory over the DHL dragster of Shawn Langdon. Meanwhile, Brown was using a great 3.786 second run to slip past Brittany Force in the other semifinal.
Torrence will lead Brown by just 28 points when qualifying begins at Charlotte in a race the Capco driver won the last three times it was contested.