MORRISON, Colo. – Already on an impressive stretch in his NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, Top Fuel points leader Steve Torrence believes he can continue that momentum at one of the most difficult tracks on the circuit to navigate in Bandimere Speedway.
It plays host to this weekend’s 38th annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals and racing at an altitude of more than 5,800 feet is never easy. But Torrence and his team have found something that works on the mountain in his 10,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster, qualifying No. 1 a year ago and winning the race in 2015.
With that success in mind and posting five wins in the last eight races, Torrence has no plans of slowing down to kick off the NHRA’s famed Western Swing.
“Three or four years ago, (co-crew chief) Richard Hogan really hit the nail on the head there and we’ve been able to do that consistently,” Torrence said. “It gives you a big boost of confidence and we know what it takes to do well there. We just have to go do it. The biggest thing is I hope we maintain the consistency we’ve have this year, and maintain going rounds and doing well. It’s been a lot of hard work, but the guys have kept their focus and kept on target. At this point momentum is on our side, and we go into Denver having done well and run well there.”
Torrence hopes Bandimere Speedway provides the backdrop for another great performance in what has been an incredible run as of late. In the past nine races, Torrence is 28-4 and has back-to-back wins in Norwalk and Chicago.
He has opened up a 100-plus points lead on Leah Pritchett, a three-time winner this year, and back-to-back world champ Antron Brown, but Torrence is locked in on not letting up. That means his sole focus is doing well in Denver.
“That’s the race you want to win and you can’t think about sweeping the swing if you don’t win in Denver,” said Torrence, who has 13 career wins. “These three-race swings, it’s mentally taxing. It’s relentless, but every one of my guys has stepped up and taken on any responsibility needed. Our mindset is not to be relaxed in any situation. It’s kind of like being in the ring boxing, keeping your head on a swivel. We’re on a mission and we’re not slacking up.”
The mission, of course, is Torrence’s first career Top Fuel world championship. The Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship is coming soon, but Torrence wants to continue to build on his success this year, knowing he will be challenged in a loaded Top Fuel field.
But he remains impressed with what his team, led by co-crew chiefs Hogan and Bobby Lagana, has done.
“One of the biggest differences this season as opposed to any season is Richard is confident in himself,” Torrence said. “He’s my guy and he makes all the calls, and everyone has been making all the right decisions. Richard and Bobby both have a really good tuneup for Denver.”