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Steve Torrence’s Bid To Win Last Race At Heartland Motorsports Park Falls Short

Reigning world champion Brittany Force spoiled Steve Torrence’s bid to win the last drag race at Heartland Motorsports Park Sunday, using a slight starting line advantage to slip past the four-time Top Fuel World Champion by an oh-so-narrow .009 of a second in the second round of the 34th Menard’s Nationals.

Winner of Saturday’s Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge and the No,. 1 qualifier for Sunday’s event in his resurgent CAPCO Contractors Top Fuel Toyota, Torrence refused to place any of the blame for his exit on heavy rain that postponed the start of the event for seven hours. 

“The CAPCO boys gave me a great car, and I didn’t do my job,” said an obviously disappointed 54-time tour winner. “Nothing else to say.  Just glad we have another race this week.”

When qualifying begins Friday in the 41st Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd, Minnesota, the 40-year-old Texan will trail Justin Ashley by 83 points with only two races remaining in the regular season.  

Despite the loss, which will deny him a chance to win the #2Fast2Tasty Challenge for a fourth straight time, Torrence likes his team’s chances in the Lucas Oil Nationals, an event in which his dad, Billy, earned his first Top Fuel victory in 2018 and in which he himself has hoisted the trophy each of the last two years. 

“We’re taking a great car to Brainerd,” said the only driver ever to have swept the races in the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship (2018). “If we can get the driver on the same page, we’re gonna be hard to beat. I’ve said all season long that this is going to go down to the wire.”

After earning his first No. 1 start of the season with a time of 3.764 seconds at 326.24 mph and after waiting, along with everyone else, for a break in the weather, Torrence got a free ride in a belated round one when Terry Totten couldn’t get his car into reverse following the burnout.  

Nevertheless, Torrence ran 3.786 at 328 miles an hour to earn lane choice over Force in the following round, an advantage on which he was unable to capitalize.  


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This story was originally published on August 14, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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