Steve Torrence bullish about his crew and his NHRA Top Fuel success

POMONA — One thing is certain about this weekend’s Auto Club Final: Steve Torrence will be smiling when he arrives in Pomona and when he leaves Sunday night. That’s the advantage of wrapping up the NHRA Top Fuel dragster championship before the season finale at Fairplex.

That’s the direct opposite of his 2017 visit. Torrence arrived at the famed strip leading the points, with his first title within his grasp. However, an unexpected second-round loss cleared the way for Brittany Force to win the title and the $250,000 bonus. Torrence let his emotions show after the show.

“This whole NHRA deal with the welfare points system is just a crock of crap,” he bluntly said. “You come out here and race for 24 races and you only get to count six. Brittany got hot in the last few races and did good, and you can’t take that away from them, but those guys wouldn’t even be in contention if it wasn’t for this bull—- points system they’ve got.

“It is what it is and we’ve got to play by their rule.”

And that’s exactly what Torrence has done this season. It fueled his drive for success. He’s on an impressive win streak going into the Pomona meet, having won the past five national events (20 straight rounds), all in the Countdown to the Championship. The 35-year-old from Kilgore, Texas, has a record 10 victories this year, giving him 18 the past two seasons.

“This is a lifelong goal right here,” said Torrence after his victory in Las Vegas. “All the glory goes to God, my mom and dad, because without them none of this would be even be possible. Every one of those Capco boys on that race team because they put their heart in it and it is hard to beat people with heart.

“This is unreal. To all those people who said we couldn’t do it, we are here.”

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Torrence has also been quick to laud his crew, headed by crew chief Richard Hogan and assistant Bobby Lagana Jr.

“These Capco guys, I can’t say enough about them. Every one of them, they’ve got my back,” he has said repeatedly during the season. “When you go up there knowing that you can slap the biggest guy in the bar and probably come out unscathed, it makes you feel good. Honestly, that’s the mindset I have.

“If I go up there and just do my job, I know I have a race car that can win every time.”

Thanks to his crew, Torrence is the only driver in NHRA’s storied history to win Top Fuel and alcohol dragster championships. He has a 149-49 round record in Top Fuel and has finished first in 21 of the 70 events over the past three years. He has a 54-13 round record this year and has equaled Larry Dixon’s win total of 2010

“With the car Richard and Bobby and the guys have given me, my confidence has gone through the roof,” he said. “Every time I roll up there, I know I have a car that can win, no matter the weather, no matter the track, no matter what’s going on.”

His dragster carries Capco Contractors signage, the family business

“We don’t need to advertise 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.’

“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 multi-car 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. At the end of the day, we’re just going to continue to try to do the best job that we can and let the good Lord handle the rest.”

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