NHRA’s Most Memorable Moments of 2017 – Torrence’s Devastating Crash at Dallas
Late in the 2017 season, Texas native Steve Torrence was in the thick of the ...
Late in the 2017 season, Texas native Steve Torrence was in the thick of the championship points chase when the tour rolled into Texas Motorplex for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals. Competing in his home state, Torrence was looking to add to his thin points lead going into the final 2 races of the season with a strong showing, but things would no go as planned for the CAPCO Contracting team.
In the semifinals of eliminations, Steve strapped a hole shot win on Richie Crampton, but would have a tire blow as he streaked through the finish line. The sudden collapse of the left side slick sent the car hard into the wall. The front end collapsed as the dragster skidded out of control, an intended design feature that allows the tubing in front of the driver’s capsule to absorb energy and help slow the car without exposing the driver to extreme g-forces. Pay close attention to the slow motion replay, as it captured the crash’s intensity in great detail. As the car skids to a halt, Steve wastes no time in climbing from the wreckage. In true championship form, Torrence asked immediately if he’d won the round, which he had. While Steve completed a quick check in the ambulance and interviews with the television crews, his team was back in the pit preparing their brand new backup chassis, which until the crash was just that: a rolling chassis. In the span of 38 minutes, the CAPCO crew, along with assistance from members of other teams and on-site vendors, built the car from a rolling chassis to a race-ready rocket ship in time for the finals, where he would face off with his closest competitor in the points race, Brittany Force.
Most teams would see their completion thrashing to basically build a car from the ground up and expect to be able to take the win with an easy A-to-B pass, but Force’s camp knew Torrence would come to the line with their car tuned up and ready for a race. Force would lay down one of the quickest passes of the weekend in the finals, and she needed every bit of it to outrun Torrence, who was easily within striking distance despite exploding his engine in spectacular fashion at the finish line.
Force would go on to just edge out Torrence for the championship, but it was not for lack of effort on the part of Steve and his badass team, who threw everything they had at the title, coming up just short of their goal.