Schumacher gets by the Capco Contractors driver for second straight week
Personally, Steve Torrence has nothing against seven-time World Champion Tony Schumacher. Professionally, though, he’d prefer that they quit meeting like they have the last two weekends.
Trying to sew up a third straight start in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship, Torrence lost to Schumacher in the second round of Sunday’s 27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways.
This time, though, the outcome wasn’t decided by a loss of traction as it was last week at Sonoma, Calif. In fact, the result on Sunday was in doubt right up until the moment Schumacher stopped the timers in 3.840 seconds at 313.88 miles per hour.
Torrence, who helped his playoff cause in round one by turning back J.R. Todd, was a blink back in the Capco Contractors dragster at 3.909, 310.91 mph.
Despite the loss, the 31-year-old Texan moved a step closer to a starting spot in the Countdown, putting a little distance between himself and sixth place Spencer Massey with just two races remaining before the field is confirmed and points are adjusted for the playoffs.
"We haven’t gotten down the track the last two weeks in the bad ass Friday night session,” Torrence said. “That’s when you can make those ‘hero runs’ because you’ve got the best conditions. Because of that, though, we’ve wound up in the bottom half of the field without lane choice for the first round.
“The good thing is my guys have given me a car that can win in either lane,” said the four-time Mello Yello tour winner. “The discouraging thing is that when you qualify outside the quick eight, you wind up with a guy like Tony (the No. 1 qualifier) in the second round.
“We’ve got a little momentum coming out of the Western Swing, though, so we’re gonna try to ride that right into the Countdown,” said the 2005 NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster World Champion. “We still have bad fast hot rod and we stayed fifth (in the driver standings), which was our goal coming in.”
After seven races in eight weeks, Torrence and his rivals get a rare weekend off before the tour moves to Brainerd, Minn., August 15-17, for the 33rd annual Lucas Oil Nationals.