Leah Pruett ruined Steve Torrence’s near-perfect weekend Sunday, denying the four-time Top Fuel World Champion a final round victory in the 38th annual NHRA Texas Fall Nationals and, in the process, keeping him from regaining the point lead with only two races remaining in the Countdown to the Championship.
Despite the final round result, an agonizingly close .005 of a second decision that fell in Pruett’s favor, Torrence and his CAPCO Contractors team will move on to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals just 13 points out of the lead.
“Well, bottom line is we wound up on the wrong end of a really good drag race,” said the 54-time Camping World tour winner.
“That’s the bad news,” Torrence said. “The good news is that we’re taking a badass race car to Vegas and Pomona for these last two races. I think we’re peaking at the very best time to win a championship. We know the game. It’s all about the last six races. Now it’s about the last two.
“So, we’ll polish everything up and head out west. One round separates the three of us – me, Leah and Doug (Kalitta), so it all comes down to a two-race shootout and I wouldn’t want to go into it with anybody but these bad-to-the-bone CAPCO boys.”
The No. 1 qualifier at a track record 3.636 seconds, the quickest run of his career, Torrence took out fellow Texan Buddy Hull in round one and beat three-time former series champion Antron Brown in the second before lining up beside his dad, Billy, in all all-CAPCO semifinal from which he escaped with a .007 of a second victory.
“Great to have my dad back out here and, as usual, he did his best to whip my butt,” Torrence said. “Obviously, being away for a year didn’t effect him much.”