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S. Torrence in Narrow Loss at Bristol Dragway

Mark Rebilas photo

With the pending birth of his second child very much on his mind, four-time Top Fuel World Champion Steve Torrence couldn’t get his CAPCO Contractors Top Fuel Toyota past the MAC Tools Toyota of reigning series champion Doug Kalitta and bowed out in the second round of Sunday’s 23rd Super Grip Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

If there was any consolation in the fact that he remained winless at Bristol Dragway since 2013, it was that he and his dad, Billy, also a second-round victim, could leave early for Texas where Natalie Torrence is expected to give birth on Tuesday.

“Tough weekend,” Torrence said. “The track and that big bump, that’s a lot even for these CAPCO boys to deal with. But, yeah, I’m anxious to get back to Kilgore. Excited about a new addition to our family and thankful to all the well-wishers.”

 The No. 6 qualifier, Torrence easily handled rookie Cody Krohn with a solid 3.773 in round one but lost the choice of lanes to Kalitta, whose first round 3.723 stood as quick time on race day.

Against Kalitta, to whom he finished second in last year’s championship chase, the 54-time tour winner rang up a solid 3.775 only to have it trumped by the former’s 3.767, the quickest of round two.  

As for his dad, the founder and CEO of CAPCO, a Texas-based and family-owned oil and gas pipeline construction and maintenance business, he was victimized by the notorious “Bristol bump,” losing traction and slowing to 4.228 seconds at only 212 mph against former series champ Brittany Force.

When qualifying begins in two weeks for the 14th NHRA Virginia Nationals at Richmond, Va., Steve will trail Kalitta, the new Mission Foods point leader, by 109 points in fourth place.  His dad, racing the full series for the first time this year, is eighth, 188 off the lead.

This story was originally published on June 9, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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