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S. Torrence Wins Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge at Epping

Will Lester photo

Steve Torrence drove his CAPCO Contractors Top Fuel Toyota past three-time series champion Antron Brown in the semifinals before beating Canadian Dan Mercier in the final round of the Mission Foods 2Fast/2Tasty Challenge Saturday at New England Dragway, validating his status as one of the favorites in Sunday’s 11th NHRA New England Nationals.

The 2Fast/2Tasty Challenge recreates the semifinal rounds from the previous event in the Mission Foods series with the winners then racing for cash and Countdown to the Championship points bonus.

It was the 41-year-old Texan’s first 2Fast/2Tasty win of the season but his fourth overall in the unique “race within a race” that made its tour debut a year ago. He won consecutive Challenges last year at Seattle, Wash., Sonoma, Calif., and Topeka, Kan., and was runner-up earlier this year at Phoenix, Ariz., and Charlotte, N.C.  

Against Mercier, who upset former world champion Shawn Langdon in his 2Fasat/2Tasty semifinal, Torrence grabbed a slight starting line advantage and held on for a narrow win on a hot racetrack. Torrence stopped the timers in 3.866 seconds at 327.43 mph, far off his second best New England Nationals qualifying number of 3.702 seconds.  Mercier trailed in 3.897 seconds, 298.27 mph.

Starting from No. 2 on Sunday, Torrence will face No. 15 qualifier Smax Smith, making his first tour appearance since 2019.   

The other half of Team Torrence, CAPCO founder and CEO Billy Torrence, will launch his bid from the No. 5 starting position against rookie Jasmine Salinas, seeking a bookend victory for the one he earned in his only previous New England start in 2021.

This story was originally published on June 2, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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