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S. Torrence Still Seeking First Final Round, First Win of 2024 Season

Mark Rebilas photo

The “I’m Stuck in the Semifinals” tour continued Sunday for four-time Top Fuel World Champ Steve Torrence who, despite raising the track speed record to 336.65 miles per hour during qualifying, fell to Antron Brown in the penultimate round of the 24th Gerber Collision and Glass Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

For the fourth time in six races on the 2024 Mission Foods pro tour, the 41-year-old Texan guided his CAPCO Contractors Top Fuel Toyota into the semifinals, this time beating his dad, Billy, in an all-CAPCO first round before dispatching No. 2 qualifier Clay Millican round two.

However, everything came undone in the semifinals where a loss of traction slowed him from 3.838 in the first round and 3.854 in the second to a losing 5.467 in his 64th career meeting with Brown, one of his closest friends on the circuit but also one of his fiercest rivals.

“The track was a real challenge,” Torrence said. “When you see cars like Brittany’s (two-time world champion Brittany Force) not even qualify, you know conditions are pretty extreme.

“These CAPCO boys, they battled, and I thought maybe we were getting a handle on everything until the semifinals. The good thing? We still get out of here in fourth place going to a track (New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.) where both of us (he and his dad) have had success. Hopefully, if we race each other again, it’ll be in the final instead of the first round.”

Torrence now owns the Route 66 Raceway records for both time and speed, having set the former (3.677 seconds) in 2018, the year in between his two victories.  

Billy Torrence, an eight-time NHRA Top Fuel winner in his own right, was just .004 of a second off his son’s best time during qualifying, but it put him 10th in the order, setting up that unwelcome first round renewal of the 330 mph family feud.

This story was originally published on May 20, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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