With his eye on a payday worthy of a four-time NHRA Top Fuel World Champion, Steve Torrence can’t wait to see how his “CAPCO Boys” measure up this week in the most- anticipated independently produced drag race since Don Garlits staged his historic PRO Championship at Tulsa, Okla., in 1972.
Saturday’s SCAG PRO Superstar Shootout at Bradenton Motorsports Park will send one Top Fuel team home with a $250,000 windfall with which to launch a bid for the upcoming 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Championship.
While he acknowledges that $250,000 is the biggest purse for which he ever has raced, the 40-year-old Torrence is also excited by the opportunity he has to add another signature victory to his resume.
The last winner of the TRAXXAS Nitro Shootout in 2017 and one of a handful of pro racers to have won a bonus race and NHRA national event on the same weekend (he also won the 2017 U.S. Nationals), Torrence was the first winner of the Pep Boys All Star Call Out in 2022.
“Everybody wants to win the first or the last because there’s only one chance to do that,” he said. “Those are history-making moments and these CAPCO boys live for that. To be able to leave with the pride of saying you won that, you did that, is exciting because you’ve just got one shot at being the first.
“As a driver, you’re going to have to be ready for whatever,” said the 54-time NHRA tour winner. “[Because a chip draw will determine opponents] you don’t get to look ahead and kind of plan your day out according to a ladder. It’s fly by the-seat-of-your-pants and [it’s] even more so for the crew chiefs. I’m pretty excited about it. I think it’ll bring some raw emotion with it. There’ll be some people that have a little anxiety.
“It’s going to be a show,” he continued. “It’s going to be a spectacle. I think the accessibility, the interactiveness, the entertainment value will be there in addition to the drag racing. When you can get the actual entertainers all together [a reference to himself and the other members of the Professional Racecar Owners association who collectively created the event] it is a huge step toward [building] a stronger, more solid future for drag racing.”
Of course, when all is said and done, it still comes down to the basics of the sport. It’s all about getting that last win light.