INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Billy Torrence beat son Steve in an all-Capco Contractors semifinal and then took out point leader Doug Kalitta in the money round Sunday to win the E3 Spark Plugs Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway, the first NHRA Mello Yello tour event in more than four months.
The win reversed the order of finish from last September’s NHRA U.S. Nationals contested on the same racetrack and propelled the elder Torrence into third place in the Top Fuel point standings. He now trails his son by nine points and Kalitta by 120.
For the younger Torrence, who is bidding for his third consecutive series title, the final round result eased some of the sting of the semifinal loss in which his Capco dragster, which had performed flawlessly through qualifying and the first two rounds, lost traction near mid-track. It was the two-time reigning champion’s third loss to his dad in their last four meetings, all of them in the semifinals or finals.
“I was really proud of him. He did a great job,” Torrence said of his dad, the founder and CEO of Capco Contractors, a Texas-based oil-and-gas pipeline construction and maintenance business that is active in drag racing sponsorship at the professional, sportsman and Jr. Dragster levels.
“Overall, it was a good day for the Capco Boys,” Torrence continued. “We moved up to second in points and my dad moved up to third, but I know when we get back to work tomorrow, I’m gonna get some grief. The guys (who work at Capco) just love it when he beats me.”
A 37-time tour winner who has hoisted the iconic Wally trophy in almost 40 per cent of his starts over the last three-plus years (30 of his last 76), Torrence qualified his No. 1 on Saturday and posted the quickest time in each of the first two rounds.
Between them, the two Capco drivers have won 35 of the 75 races contested since the start of the 2017 season.