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Torrence challenges Top Fuel big boys

Less than a year ago, Steve Torrence had a vision for his own family-owned team. He had a name for it: the Torrence Racing/Capco Contractors Top Fuel Dragster team. But he and crew chief Richard Hogan didn't have any mechanics for the crew and not so much as a socket wrench or wastebasket for the shop.

But he proved Friday at zMAX Drahway he has all the personnel, all the tools, and all the talent to scramble the National Hot Rod Association's headliner class and challenge the dominant Don Schumacher Racing trio.

Torrence used a 3.799-second, 322.34-mph pass on the 1,000-foot course at Concord, N.C., to earn the Top Fuel class' provisional No. 1 qualifying position for the Four-Wide Nationals.

"That's a big achievement," Torrence said, considering that the front running DSR teams and the Al-Anabi crew chiefs and drivers, and Morgan Lucas, he said, "have lots of data, lots of runs, and lots of experience." He said, "To come out, run a few races last year, and show up at the first of the season and consider yourself to be a competitive team, that's a big thing. Hat's off to everybody that's been a part of it."

The Kilgore, Texas, native said, "I had a lot of confidence in my guys, but we were seeing problems out there in the third lane. It looked like glass out there. But I just drove it back in the groove and made a good run. The car is really hauling."

If he is at the head of the 16-car line-up after Saturday's two sessions, Torrence will have his career first Top Fuel No. 1 spot.

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