Mello Yello point leader Steve Torrence directed his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster to a pair of Route 66 Raceway performance records Friday night with a 3.677 second time that easily earned him the No. 1 qualifying position for Sunday’s 21st annual JEGS Route 66 Nationals.
He also had the quickest run on Saturday’s final qualifying day, a 3.746 that gave him his eighth, ninth and 10th qualifying bonus points of the event.
Torrence will start from the front of the field for the 17th time in his pro career Sunday and will oppose veteran Luigi Novelli in the opening round. Although he is the only Top Fuel driver with multiple victories this season (three in eight races), this will be his first No. 1 start since last October when he set the pace at the AAA Texas Fall Nationals at Dallas.
“I was really surprised (by the 3.677 run),” Torrence said of the sixth quickest run of his career. “Until last year’s win, I never had great success at Route 66 Raceway but now that we got the monkey off our backs we have a lot of confidence as a team that we can keep moving forward.”
With the 10 points he earned Friday and Saturday, the 35-year-old Texan now has earned at least one qualifying bonus point in 51 of the last 56 Mello Yello tour events. Over the last three years, he has earned a category-best 267 qualifying bonus points and has posted the quickest time in 42 of 220 overall qualifying sessions.
Torrence coupled his 3.677 with a track record finish line speed of 333.58 miles per hour, the second fastest he’s ever gone to 1,000 feet.
While the younger Torrence was dominating the qualifying phase, dad Billy was uncharacteristically struggling in the second Capco Contractors entry. Briefly in danger of being bumped out of the 16-car starting field, he wound up 14th in the order and will face eight-time series champ Tony Schumacher in Sunday’s opening round.
Torrence Racing PR/Photo Credit NHRA Meadia