A semifinal loss to Leah Pruett Sunday ended at six Steve Torrence’s streak of consecutive final round appearances in the NHRA Midwest Nationals, turning what could have been a “get well weekend” into a “get a little better weekend” at World Wide Technology Raceway.
The talented Texan gained ground on point leader Doug Kalitta, cutting his deficit from 63 to 51 points, even though he lost a position in the standings to Pruett, whom he will trail by a scant four points when qualifying for the 38th annual Texas Fall Nationals begins Oct. 13 at the Texas Motorplex outside Dallas.
Until Sunday, Torrence had been either first or second in Camping World points after every event in the series, a remarkable achievement considering that he and his CAPCO Contractors crewmates have celebrated only one win thus far this year.
“Like I’ve said so many times, it’s gonna go right down to the wire,” Torrence said of the points race. “We’re halfway through (the playoffs) and there are five drivers who still have a legit shot. That said, I like where I’m sitting with these CAPCO boys behind me and the Countdown coming home to Texas!”
As was the case the previous week at Charlotte, Torrence and his team got behind the curve in the first qualifying session on Friday night and scrambled to catch up the rest of the weekend.
“(Friday) night was the hero session and I guess we forgot our cape,” Torrence said. “We were on a monster run until we overpowered the track and didn’t make it down (the track). My guys did a great job of getting us back in the hunt on race day. We got a huge win against Justin (regular season champion Justin Ashley) but we just didn’t have quite enough against Leah.”
Torrence has taken his Red Line Oil-protected Top Fuel Toyota to the final round five of the last eight years at the Motorplex with wins in 2018 and 2020.