Steve Torrence and his Capco Contractors Top Fuel team didn’t miss a beat after controversially sitting out the NHRA Winternationals at Pomona, powering to victory in convincing fashion in their season debut Sunday at the Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
Torrence, the reigning series champion, defeated Pomona winner and 2019 championship runner-up Doug Kalitta in the finale, earning his 37th career national event victory. For the sake of statistics, it was Torrence’s 29th win in his last 68 races, and the Capco team’s 34th win overall in the last 69 NHRA events.
“It felt good to be back in the car. Just because we missed (a race) doesn’t mean we forgot how to do it,” Torrence joked on Sunday evening. “It’s a long season and we know how the system works but our philosophy hasn’t changed. We still want to win every race. There’s always room for improvement. Torrence said. “There’s always more work to be done and more history to be made, but I am blessed with what we have been able to accomplish the past few seasons.
Torrence defeated his father, Billy, in the semifinals in a close drag race, 3.698 to a 3.699, before He ousted Jim Maroney and Shawn Langdon in the opening two rounds. In the final, Torrence and Kalitta recorded identical .066 reaction times, but Kalitta’s dragster hazed the tires and allowed Torrence to streak to victory in 3.679-seconds.
“First round I had a little bit of the jitters,” said Torrence. “We missed Pomona so you came here and this is the first round of the first race of the season for us and I was a little bit nervous to go up there. We’re just going to see how the races go and what the weather throws at us. I think that we’ve always had a good hot weather tune-up. We’re just going to try to develop cool track conditions. We’re easing up to it. We’ll just see how it goes and that’s something that we really need to try to put our thumb on.”
“Two championships would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of Richard Hogan, Bobby Lagana Jr., Gary Pritchett and all the rest of these bad-to-the-bone Capco Boys along with favorable blessings from the Lord.”