Top Fuel star Steve Torrence’s domination in the NHRA’s Mello Series continued Sunday at the New England Nationals.
The reigning world champion appeared in his eighth final round in a row and won for the seventh time.
Torrence clocked a 3.861-second elapsed time at 321.58 mph to edge Scott Palmer’s 4.014-second lap at 251.25 mph.
Torrence’s eight consecutive final-round appearances was second most in NHRA history behind eight-time Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher, who made it to 11 final rounds in a row in 2008.
This was Torrence’s 34th career Top Fuel win and seventh this season. He now has 26 victories in a three-year span, tying the record with Tony Schumacher.
“All the glory goes to God because as a driver you just get in these things and I have a really good team behind me,” Torrence said. “These are Top Fuel cars and they can humble you quicker than anything in the world. We struggled a little bit through qualifying and Hoagie (Richard Hogan, Torrence’s crew chief) goes on a whim, low ET (3.756) and top speed of the weekend (328.62 mph) (in first round). It’s truly just a testament to the work ethic that this Torrence racing team has and all the boys at Capco to keep us out here doing this. To get to race Scott Palmer in the final again, that guy has been my hero. He raced alcohol Funny Cars and kind of got me interested in it with my parents. It’s truly unreal and this has been an unbelievable season.”
Unlike most of Torrence’s wins this season, he was far from stellar in qualifying, coming in at No. 9 on the ladder with a best-effort of 4.170 seconds.
“We had a couple of self-inflicted issues on Friday and (Richard) Hoagie (Hogan, Torrence’s other co-crew chief) stuck with us and worked through it,” said co-crew chief Bobby Lagana Jr. “We were rooting for Scott to win because he’s family. Billy (Torrence, Steve’s father), I’m sorry to say that I love you to like a dad. All the boys at Capco, Steve is spectacular and the crew guys on this team, especially Hoagie, God Bless America.”
Torrence’s victory parade consisted of wins over Prock, Terry McMillen, Richie Crampton and Palmer, who was aiming to win his first career Wally in his career final-round appearance.
Torrence stretched his lead in the points standings to 479 points over second-place Doug Kalitta. Torrence’s elimination round record this season is 37-6.
“I really, really want Scott Palmer to win a race, but we want to win them all, too,” said Torrence. “That was a great final round. That’s a really good group of guys and to see the progress we’ve both made, it’s pretty neat and really special for us.
“Without being cocky and just being confident, you carry the mindset of you want to go everywhere and win. With doing that, you don’t treat anywhere any differently. This is a fun place to come to and it’s a pretty neat part of the country.”
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019