The decision to contend for a berth in NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship is taking Steve Torrence to some new race sites, including Bristol Dragway, home to the Thunder Valley Nationals, Friday through Sunday.
While it is Torrence’s initial Top Fuel appearance, those making the tuning decisions have a vast performance notebook for the track Bruton Smith carved out of the East Tennessee mountains.
“I’m looking forward to racing there,” said Torrence, driver of the Torrence Racing/Tuttle Motorsports dragster. “We do have a good race car now. Dexter (Tuttle, team owner and tuner) and co-crew chiefs Richard Hogan and Kevin Poynter are working well together. The car has been running consistently and it is going to get better. We just need to win more rounds.”
Next: Points rankings …
The mission this weekend is no different from the previous one: keep piling up points. Right now, Torrence sits in the middle of five drivers who are currently contending for Countdown positions seven through 10. He is ninth with 444 points. Terry McMillen is next (410), followed by David Grubnic (402). Just ahead of Torrence are Shawn Langdon (8th, 616) and Morgan Lucas (7th, 524).
“We want to climb as high as we can before going into the Countdown to 1,” said Torrence. “Anything can happen after that.”
Funny Car driver Robert Hight proved that a year ago when he made the six-race finale at the last regular-season event and charged forward to win the championship.
This is the third of four consecutive races in June for Torrence and the team, and one of an unprecedented seven in eight weeks. They move to Norwalk, Ohio, for the June 25-27 Summit Racing Equipment Nationals before getting the July 4th weekend to regroup. The traditional Western Swing will take them to Seattle (July 9-11), Sonoma, Calif. (July 16-18) and Denver (July 23-25).
Pro qualifying, 5 and 7:30 p.m. Eliminations: Sunday, noon.
ESPN2, ESPN2HD: Saturday: Two hours of qualifying highlights, 7 p.m.; Sunday, June 20: NHRA Race Day, 30-minute race preview show, 3:30 p.m.; Three hours of eliminations, 4 p.m.