Steve Torrence has won just about everything there is to win over the last year so it was not the least bit surprising to see the Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster take the top spot in qualifying during the opening day of the Dodge Mile-Hight Nationals in Denver. Torrence wheeled his Richard Hogan-tuned dragster to a 3.787 at a track record of 330.31 mph under the lights. It was the first 330-mph run in the history of Bandimere Speedway.
In addition to his seven wins in 14 events, Torrence has been a beast in qualifying this year with two No. 1 spots, in Pomona and Topeka. He’s also been in the top half of the field in 12 events but is coming off one of his worst qualifying performances of the season in Epping, where he started from the No. 9 spot. That wasn’t enough to prevent him from taking the win on Sunday.
“I did not expect it to run that well,” said Torrence. “I knew our tune-up was pretty aggressive and saw a lot of cars ahead of us not make it down the track. I saw Richard [Hogan] come back and get into the box and we went out and made a great run. To run 330-mph on this mountain is very impressive and it shows what kind of handle we have on our tune-up.”
Torrence swept all six races in the Countdown last season, and he reeled off an equally impressive five-race win streak earlier this season so it was not unexpected that he be asked about his prospects of sweeping the Western Swing, one of the few achievements that still eludes the popular Texan.
“I want to stay humble and say that we still have a lot way to go,” Torrence said. “Everyone’s goal is to sweep the swing, but you always want to do what no one else has done. We’ve been able to accomplish a lot in short period of time. It would be great to sweep the swing but in order to do that you have to win all three races and we’re just getting started. Winning is what motivates me. At this point Tony [Schumacher] has some records and I’d like to see if we can beat some of them but we do this to win races. We want to keep stacking up Wallys.”
Defending event winner Leah Pritchett continued her strong performances in Denver. Wearing the special edition Dodge 1320 paint scheme on her dragster, Pritchett ran a 3.839 while teammate Antron Brown also found the 3.8s with a 3.863 in his Matco Tools dragster. Rookie Jordan Vandergriff (3.864), Scott Palmer (3.867), and Richie Crampton (3.871) also turned in solid performances.