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Torrence Family Operation Beating The Big Boys Of Top Fuel

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, October 14 2017

Steve Torrence and his one-car operation is scaring the bejeezus out of the better-funded NHRA teams these days. (File photo courtesy of the NHRA)

Midway through the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship, Steve Torrence possesses a 42-point lead in Top Fuel, but the Texas native believes it’s the length of time his team has worked together that eventually will make the difference in the title battle.

“Some of those guys have been with me six years,” the 34-year-old Torrence said. “The cohesiveness that they have is unparalleled and that’s what it takes to win championships.”

Torrence’s team is located in Brownsburg, Ind., where about 90 percent of the Top Fuel teams are based. However, it hasn’t experienced the crew hopping that often occurs when several race teams are located in the same area.

“We’re a very small, single car, family-owned race team and every one of those guys on that team is like a brother to me,” said Torrence, a Kilgore, Texas, resident. “I know their kids, I know their wives, and I’m Uncle Steve. My clutch guy is Gary Pritchett, who’s married to (Top Fuel competitor) Leah, has been with me since … I started the team in 2011. We have a really tight-knit group. We’re very loyal to each other. I take care of those guys and they take care of me.”      

It’s that relationship that Torrence cites as instrumental in the team’s consistency this season.

“Everything is based on confidence and each individual member boasts the confidence in my crew chief,” Torrence said. “(Crew chief) Richard Hogan has done unbelievable this year and come out of his comfort zone as far as coming out here and not being complacent … trying to go low E.T. every time. He races really smart. That confidence has infiltrated everybody in the team as far as the way I drive the car, what they do, what adjustments they make and the decisions the crew chief changes. You take a risk and you’re confident in it.”  

Torrence finished third in last year’s standings and he believes his best-ever performance in the Top Fuel points played a key role in his 2017 success. In 21 races he has won eight events, been the runner-up three times and reached the semifinals on three occasions.  

“We were working on some things in the clutch and the bell housing with the car, figured it out, and then changed a couple of things up during the off-season so it took us a few races to kinda get back up and going,” Torrence said. “But the car really turned around at the Houston race (April 21-23) this year. It does exactly what we want it to time after time. That’s what has parlayed into the success that we’ve had.”

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, October 14 2017
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