It was never really a slump but after winning almost everything in sight, Steve Torrence came into the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals riding a two-race winless streak, and for the Capco Contractors team, that was not acceptable. With the Dodge//SRT U.S. Nationals and the Countdown to the Championship on the horizon, Torrence righted the ship by winning his seventh title of the season and the 47th of his professional career on Sunday in Brainerd. In the final round, Torrence was paired with Clay Millican and ran his record to a perfect 4-0 against the Parts Plus dragster with a narrow 3.712 to 3.729 victory in one of the best final rounds of the season.
“I did everything possible to screw this up until the final and I finally got my head out of my butt and drove my race car because that was a heck of a race against Clay and those guys, they’re coming on strong right now,” said Torrence. “I couldn’t be more proud of that team but these Capco boys, they continue to just save me when I need it. I help them when they need it and we’re at the front and we’re staying there.”
Torrence came into the Brainerd race with a massive lead in the Camping World Top Fuel standings and even though he’ll see most of that advantage disappear with the Countdown points re-set, he’s remains extremely confident in his ability to with the championship for the fourth-straight year. The importance of winning at every track also wasn’t lost on the Capco driver.
“It’s just a blessing to be here,” Torrence said. “To have this opportunity is truly special and to say that I’ve won every race on the circuit; I just remember dreaming of winning one race. To be here and have the accomplishments we have is nothing short of the glory of God.”
Torrence was the No. 2 qualifier behind Topeka winner Brittany Force, but in his mind, that was the best place to be since it offered the possibility of a semifinal bye run due to the short (11-car) field in Minnesota. Torrence needed to beat Terry Totten and 2020 Rookie of the Year Justin Ashley to punch his ticket to the final and he did that with relative ease. After a 3.697 in round one, Torrence used a 3.737 to take out Ashley, who left first but wasn’t able to maintain the lead. A single run in the semifinals was enough for Torrence to gain a spot in his 70th Top Fuel final.
Millican struggled at times earlier this season and had to miss the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk due to a medical issue but he’s been money ever since. After a runner-up finish last week in Topeka, Millican made it to his second-straight final with wins against Doug Kalitta, Mike Salinas, and Brittany Force.