It didn’t take Steve Torrence long to make an impact at the Arizona Nationals Friday.
Torrence, the reigning two-time NHRA Mello Yello Series Top Fuel world champion, who sat out the season-opening Winternationals earlier this month, didn’t show any signs of rust as he piloted his family-owned CAPCO contractors dragster to a 3.671-second elapsed time at 326.48 mph at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix.
“I knew that with the given conditions and the prediction of a lot of rain (Saturday), we had a pretty good pass on Q1, and we went up there and we were really going for it. We had some good data from testing here earlier in the year, so we felt confident going in. I stepped on the gas and the car just left like a rocket. It went quick early and I knew it was running good, and it was one of those runs that you just hope it keeps going and doesn’t give up. I saw the 67 when I went by the scoreboard and honestly, I didn’t think it would hold up. I figured either my dad (Billy) or Brittany (Force) would go quicker than that, and probably Brittany because they are such a strong team, but it did (hold).”
Force was second on the ladder at 3.680 seconds at 331.12 mph, followed by Leah Pruett (3.680 seconds at 328.06 mph). Billy Torrence posted a run of 3.724 seconds.
“Going into (Saturday) as No. 1 adds confidence for us and we will see what the weather does, but it felt great,” Torrence said.
Steve won the Phoenix race in 2018 and his father was the 2019 champion, and Steve would like to see the title stay in the family in 2020.
“We would love to have that happen, either one of us,” Steve said. “I don’t know where we are on the ladder, I don’t know if we can meet up. We are going to do everything we can. We missed Pomona and we are back and just because we missed it, we didn’t forget what we are doing. We picked right up and are very proud to see what the guys did and both cars ran really well.”
Rain is in the forecast Saturday in Phoenix, but Torrence would rather make more laps than have qualifying washed out.
“We want to put on a great show for the fans and they don’t want to sit in the rain all day (Saturday) and we don’t want to come all the way to Phoenix and sit in the rain. We came here to race. We are going to pray that it doesn’t come in, but sometimes the weathermen are right and sometimes they are not. I think (Saturday) looks more like they are going to be right and we will just see what happens.”
Torrence said his team is still working on its cool weather tune-up.
“We can run good early, but it is running out the back door,” Torrence said. “I think that we need to get that closer to our wheelhouse. Our wheelhouse is really hot, greasy, difficult to navigate tracks. I think we are slowly evolving where we can do both, but it is just going to take a little bit more time.”