Torrence claims first Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier of 2019

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher 

Capco Contractors/Torrence Racing’s Steve Torrence is the first No. 1 qualifier of the 2019 season. Torrence — who won the entire Countdown to the Championship races, including the Auto Club NHRA Finals last November — needed the final pass on Saturday to claim the top spot. 

The Kilgore, Texas native went 3.657 at 331.61 mph to get the No. 1 qualifier. This is his 20th No. 1 qualifier of his career.

Top Fuel pilot Steve Torrence racing on Saturday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals
Steve Torrence racing on Saturday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals (Photo by the NHRA)

“We came here, and the dragsters weren’t where we wanted them to be,” Torrence said. “We made some changes this morning, learned from them and it played well for us during Q4. It’s really humbling and unique to be a world champion in a class that is the pinnacle of the sport and to come out and compete is just a dream for me.” 

Torrence will face Steve Faria in the first-round of eliminations. Faria went 5.574 at 1198.60 mph. 

His father, Billy Torrence, is the No. 2 qualifier in the second Capco Contractors/Torrence Racing Top Fuel Dragster. The elder Torrence, who also is from Kilgore, Texas, went 3.662 at 326.79 mph. 

The older Torrence will face Cameron Ferré in the first-round of eliminations. Ferré went 4.247 at 196.85 mph. 

Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster pilot Antron Brown is the No. 3 qualifier. The Pittsboro, Indiana native went 3.696 at 333.08 mph. 

Brown will face his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Leah Pritchett in the first-round of eliminations. The Avon, Indiana native went went 3.963 at 214.59 mph. 

Advance Auto Parts Top Fuel Dragster pilot Brittany Force is the No. 4 qualifier in her first race with her new team. The Yorba Linda, California native went 3.696 at 325.37 mph. 

Force will race her John Force Racing teammate Austin Prock in the first-round of eliminations. Prock — who is making his first eliminations on Sunday at his first event — after going 3.767 at 324.75 mph. 

Scrappers Racing Top Fuel Dragster pilot Mike Salinas is the No. 5 qualifier. The San Jose, California native — how is operating this season with the old Brittany Force team and tuner Brian Husen — went 3.710 at 331.45 mph. 

Salinas will face Clay Millican — who also has a new team and tuner this season — in the first-round of eliminations. The Drummonds, Tennessee native went 3.759 at 320.43 mph. 

Other Top Fuel Matchups:

6. Richie Crampton, 3.712, 327.43 vs. 9. Terry McMillen, 3.748, 326.79

7. Doug Kalitta, 3.716, 326.87 vs.8. Scott Palmer, 3.720, 328.38. 

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