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Steve Torrence races dad Billy in the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals Finals and improves position for the Top Fuel title




ENNIS With just 200 mph help from his father, native Texan Steve Torrence has improved his bid for a third consecutive NHRA Top Fuel World Championship.

His win against father / teammate Billy Torrence in the finals of Sunday’s 35th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex allowed Steve to extend his lead over title rival Doug Kalitta from two points at the start of the weekend to 51 with two more remaining events. the 2020 Camping World NHRA Drag Racing Series schedule.

It’s an incredible weekend for the Capco team, to be able to get out and represent Capco well, represent Texas well and put both cars on the final lap, Torrence said after the race in his dump truck. I mean, you can’t have a better weekend than that.

But were no closer now [to a third title] than we were at the start of the season, except we had two more races to go. You look at the glory and the victory at the end of the day, you don’t look at it until you get there. So just keep working hard.

Still, Steve’s fourth win of 2020, 40th overall and second at the Motorplex in three years was a party at the Torrence pit compound where the rock music was loud, the booze poured into Styrofoam cups and no one was in a rush to get back to Kilgore.

Also, Fast Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Matt Hartford (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also took professional class victories in the ninth of 11 events on a schedule revised by COVID-19.

Steve Torrence, the # 1 qualifier in his Capco Contractors dragster, dragged his dad with a 300-foot stride in 3.716 seconds at 328.78 mph across the all-concrete surface. Billy Torrence ran 3,810 at 323.43.

Winner of this event last October, when Steve was defeated in Round 1, the elder Torrence advanced to the final against his son by upsetting Kalitta in the semi-final. Billy Torrence completed a pass in 3.746 seconds at 326.95 mph, while the Kalittas Mac Tools Toyota dragster’s rear tires lost grip mid-run. Kalitta slowed to 4,182 at 261.27.

Steve cited his semi-final win over Shawn Langdon and his 62-year-old father’s win over Kalitta as crucial, as Kalitta and Langdon are teammates at Kalitta Motorsports. The semi-final had huge consequences, Steve said. “If we lost to Shawn and Bill lost to Doug, it was actually teammates against teammates. A huge race for both of us, and a really tough race.

Then you enter the final with your father. I mean, that sucker is bad to the bone. It’s like taking on a bear. That car over there is a direct clone of ours, so we basically outfitted someone with ammo to get us. He did a great job driving so I wasn’t sure what was going to happen when we got there. But the last lap, no one worried about lane choice. Was worried about getting there first. That is exactly what you do.

Together, the Torrences have now won 40 of the last 80 NHRA events.

Steve Torrence, 37 and a cancer patient, said his pole-winning pass of 3,662 seconds on Saturday was another significant moment. With only 14 Top Fuelers entered, Steve earned a second round bye after knocking out Cameron Ferre in Round 1.

The tour resumes next weekend with the MOPAR ExpressLane NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown. The season finale is scheduled for October 30-November. 1 on The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where one and a half points are offered for each lap.

We lost some ground today, but we still have two races to go to catch up, said Kalitta, 56, who is on the hunt for his first Top Fuel title. The last race will be 30 points per lap. Well, get into Houston next weekend and I’m not sure how similar the conditions will be. This team was strong this weekend. We had some great runs today and we got aggressive in the semifinals. Put this race behind us and get ready for Houston.

Three-time reigning World Champion and Houston-born Erica Enders (Pro Stock), Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) left the Motorplex leading their respective professional classes.

A driver warms the tires of his car before the start of his race while pit race team members watch.  The last day of the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals was held at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis on October 18, 2020.  (Steve Hamm / Special contributor)

John Sturbin is a senior writer at, based in Fort Worth. He can be reached via [email protected]

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