Steve Torrence and Spencer Massey decided to make a little friendly wager before their second round qualifying pass in NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel on Friday under the lights at Summit Motorsports Park.
After Torrence followed with the most impressive run of the day, Massey now has to pay up.
Torrence went a strong 3.829 at 319.98 mph, putting him as the provisional No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.
He also got momentarily bragging rights after Massey smoked the tires immediately in their matchup.
“Spencer and I had two bets – who would have the better reaction time and who would get to the end first. One was a little more on us and one was a little more on the crew chiefs, but I got back to the trailer and I think I won both sides of the bet,” said Torrence, who had a winning reaction time of .049.
“We’ve got to talk a little trash to him now.”
Torrence is riding high and seems headed to his second No. 1 qualifier of the 2012 season.
Conditions changed dramatically in the two-plus hours after Top Fuel ran for the first time.
But as Torrence put it, running well in the heat of the day was the first step to his outstanding second run. Torrence went 3.952 in the first session, allowing him to run just before 10 p.m. in Norwalk.
“It was really crucial today to make a good lap on that first run and get to run in the back of the pack because we knew it would really cool off,” Torrence said. “It was so extremely hot and it was 140 degrees on the track when we ran (the first time), so it was pivotal to be in the back of the pack.
“It was night and day (during the second pass). You’re a tenth quicker and you’re going from 303 (mph) to 319 tonight. It was a drastic difference,” Torrence said. “A tenth of a second is huge out here, but we won’t see this conditions the rest of the weekend more than likely.”
That’s another reason why Torrence was so pleased with the evening run, which was just good enough to top the 3.832 at 321.27 mph that Antron Brown ripped off to conclude the Top Fuel session.
It leaves Torrence in prime position for Saturday when his primary job will be prepping for eliminations.
“Qualifying is key. It’s good to qualify in the top and it plays into your hand to do well. It gives you a little bit of lee-way on Saturday and an opportunity to work on things that will be beneficial on Sunday,” said Torrence, who is fourth in Top Fuel points and has two wins in 2012.
“With the heat and the track temperatures being as extremely hot as they are, we need every chance we can get to gather data for Sunday.”
Keith Murt was the first to reach the 3.90s in the second qualifying session, running a 3.939. Moments later, Khalid Al-Balooshi put together a fine pass, going 3.836 at 316 mph that currently has him third.
Tony Schumacher’s 3.841 is fourth, while Clay Millican’s 3.868 rounds out the top five.
But nobody could top Torrence on Friday and he hopes it stays that way the rest of the weekend.
“I’m a little surprised we stayed at No. 1,” Torrence said. “There were two really good cars behind us (Brown and Shawn Langdon) and to be here, it just showed that (crew chief) Richard Hogan and my team have really stepped up. We’re here to play ball.”
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