Torrence Charges To First U.S. Nationals Victory

RaceChaser Staff Featured, NHRA 0 Comments

Steve Torrence (near lane) knocked off Kebin Kinsley in Monday’s final for his first U.S. Nationals win at Lucas Oil Raceway. (NHRA photo)

BROWNSBURG, Ind. – Steve Torrence piloted his Capco Contractors dragster to the Top Fuel victory Monday during the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

J.R. Todd (Funny Car), Drew Skillman (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also victorious at the 18th event of 24 on the NHRA Mello Yello Series Drag Racing Series schedule.

Torrence raced to a 3.757-second pass at 322.96 mph to defeat Kebin Kinsley, who lost traction in his Road Rage Fuel Booster dragster at the start of the final.

Monday marked Torrence’s first win at the Chevy Performance U.S. Nationals, seventh of the season and 15th of his career.

“This is surreal,” Torrence said. “I don’t even know if I’m realizing what’s going on right now. You come to Indy and you race for a week. This is our biggest race. This is what we race our careers for, is to try and win Indy and it’s a marathon. I’m wore out. Unless you’re a racer and in this situation, I don’t think I can explain the feelings that you get.”

“This is us winning the biggest race of our sport. I said this the other day, you can win a bunch of championships but if you don’t win Indy, then you haven’t really done much. We’ve won Indy … I guess that means we’ve done something now.”

Torrence doubled up by winning Saturday’s Top Fuel Traxxas Nitro Shootout, the lucrative race-within-a-race that carried a $100,000 cash prize. He defeated rookie Ashley Sanford, reigning and three-time world champion Antron Brown and Leah Pritchett en route to the finals.

With his semifinal win over Pritchett, Torrence clinched the No. 1 seed heading into the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six race playoff.

Kinsley’s final round appearance was the first of his career. He defeated No. 1 qualifier Clay Millican, Shawn Langdon and Tony Schumacher before falling to Torrence.

Todd, an Indianapolis native, powered past Funny Car reigning world champion Ron Capps with a 3.949 pass at 325.53 in his DHL Toyota Camry to better Capps’ 3.923 at 325.61 in his NAPA Dodge Charger.

It was Todd’s first U.S. Nationals win, his second of the season and second of his Funny Car career.

“This was where it all started for me in Jr. Dragsters,” Todd said. “I remember watching Capps as a kid and now I raced him in the final round of Indy. It’s too surreal. Like Torrence said, you win Indy and you know you’ve beaten the best in the sport. Ron Capps and those guys out there are the best in the sport.”

Todd picked up wins against Brian Stewart, veteran Cruz Pedregon and, Tim Wilkerson — who crossed the center line in the semifinals — before taking home the Wally. He’s secured the No. 9 spot heading into the Countdown to the Championship.

Capps took out 2015 Indy winner Alexis DeJoria, Jim Campbell and teammate Jack Beckman before losing to Todd.

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