TORRENCE GETS SETTLED IN WITH NEW CAR
Steve Torrence is such a master at playing mind games with his competition, using his dragster to back up his words. Two weeks ago, in Dallas, his dragster turned on him. At least for a moment, in his mind.
Torrence had a comfort zone with the dragster which had propelled him into a point lead, and eight wins in eleven races, but this engineering marvel was reduced to a bundle of twisted tubing when a tire failed as he approached the finish line at the Texas Motorplex.
The cause of the crash is believed to be a tire failure. An unnamed source close to Goodyear's investigative process confirmed the tread of the tire was in good condition, but it appears something punctured the inner sidewall of the left rear tire.
Torrence and his CAPCO team thrashed to bring out their second car, an unproven back-up, but in losing the semi-final race, the car just didn't "feel right."
A couple of test runs on Monday didn't make him feel any more confident. The comfort zone he'd settled into, and made him a winner was missing.
"Initially, I was a little bit concerned about it," Torrence admitted. "When I got in the car in Dallas, it didn’t feel the same. It just, it wasn’t far off, but it was just a little bit different. And I had a different insert in the seat, and had a different steering wheel and different brake handle."
It was as if someone had moved Torrence's cheese; a play on the famous book by Spencer Johnson using a fable on how to cope positively with change.
"It’s kind of like when you get in your normal daily driver, and somebody’s been driving it, and they moved your seat," Torrence explained. "You know it’s your car and everything’s normal but it just doesn’t feel right, it was the same deal."
Torrence's crew immediately switched out the seat insert, putting back in his former one. They also replaced the steering wheel, brake lever and gas pedal on the new car, with those parts salvaged from the crashed car.
"I went up there last Friday, and if you hadn't told me it was a new car, I would not have been able to tell any difference," Torrence said. "Everything was exactly the same, and just spot on comfortable. So I made two laps and was as confident and as comfortable and just relaxed as if I was in the car that we wrecked in Dallas.
"That effectively took all doubt out of my mind as far as my being comfortable in the car and being able to drive as well. And then the other thing is, we were able to go out there and really throw down two solid laps straight out of the trailer on a good racetrack."
Torrence's decision about making an all-out effort to prepare the second car in the midst of eliminations in Dallas was as much about getting back on the horse as it was in fending off a surging Brittany Force, second place in the Top Fuel point standings.
"We’re drag racers, that’s what we do," Torrence said. "We get in these things; we know the risk with them. We’re not racing just for fun; we’re racing to win a championship and to help our cause. I had to get back in the race car, and those guys had to get us a race car out there to drive, and they did it, and I got in it, and I did the best I could.
"I think if we’d had another run, or we’d had our other car, we could have probably won that round and went to the final at least. I’m from the school of you get on the horse that bucked you and keep riding. You don’t think about it; you just do it. And so, that was just my instinct, that was what I was supposed to do.
"A lot of people have come up and said, ‘Man, I can’t believe you done that, and, ‘I don’t know about this."
"I’m not the only guy out here that would have done it; I’m just the guy that had the opportunity to do it. With that being said, I don’t really want a lot of attention for just climbing back in the thing, because there are some other drivers that would do the same thing and have. We’re in a race for a championship and Brittany is and was right there nipping on our tails, and we needed to go up there and try to beat her. That’s why we did what we did."
Friday at the NHRA Toyota Nationals Torrence drove his new ride to the second quickest lap with a 3.694, 330.15.