In need of a bounce-back performance following last week’s first round loss in the Betway Carolina Nationals, Steve Torrence and his CAPCO Contractors teammates couldn’t find themselves on a track on which they are more likely to achieve such a result than the one on which they begin qualifying Friday for the 27th NHRA Midwest Nationals.
World Wide Technology Raceway not only is the track on which the 40-year-old Torrence earned his competitive Top Fuel license in 2006, it is one on which he has raced in six straight final rounds and on which he has celebrated in the winners’ circle the last two years.
“We came up .001 of a second on the wrong side of the win light at Charlotte (against point leader Doug Kalitta),” lamented the four-time former Top Fuel World Champion, “but we’ve got a chance to get right back on the horse this week and get some redemption.
“Hoagie (crew chief Richard Hogan) and Bobby (Lagana Jr.) and the rest of these CAPCO boys have a good read on St. Louis,” said the 54-time Camping World tour winner, “but with the way Doug is running, A.B. (Antron Brown), Mike (Salinas), Justin (Ashley) and all the rest, it’s gonna be a dogfight.”
Although he has won only once in 17 races this season (the Flav-R-Pack Northwest Nationals at Seattle, Wash.), Torrence never has started an event worse than No. 2 in points, which is where he begins this week, down 63 markers to Kalitta.
“It’s definitely crunch time,” said the former Top Alcohol Dragster World Champion (2005) and the only driver to have won titles in both divisions. “This race gets us to the middle of this Countdown. You gotta be close (to the point lead) at the end of the day (Sunday) and then it all comes down to who executes the best at Dallas, Vegas and Pomona (races in which Torrence has six wins in his last 15 starts).”
Qualifying for the Midwest Nationals begins with one Friday night nitro session at 6 p.m., Texas time. The set-up phase continues Saturday with Texas time sessions at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. leading into single elimination finals on Sunday beginning at 10 a.m., Texas time.