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Two-time reigning NHRA champion Steve Torrence defeats father to win AAA Texas Top Fuel final at Texas Motorplex

by Mike Haag | Posted on Sunday, October 18th, 2020

ENNIS, Texas – Steve Torrence outraced his father, Billy, on Sunday at Texas Motorplex to win the 35th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals.

Steve Torrence powered past his father, Billy, on Sunday at Texas Motorplex to win the 35th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals. NHRA photo

For the second time in three years at the all-concrete dragstrip near Dallas, Steve drove his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster to a winning run clocked at 3.716 seconds at 328.78 mph in the finals to beat Billy’s 3.810 at 323.43 mph pass.

Steve, who has won back-to-back NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championships, scored his fourth victory this season and 40th of his racing career.

“Going into the final, you’re racing your dad and that car is bad to the bone,” Torrence said.  “He’s done a great job driving and I didn’t know what was going to happen up there. You’re just worried about getting there first and it was just an unbelievable weekend for the Capco team. To represent Capco, to represent Texas and put both cars in the final round, you can’t have a better weekend than that. The semifinal round had huge implications. We’re just battling it out toe-to-toe with Kalitta, and we’ve really kept our nose on the grindstone and we’ve tried to make every lap count.”

Steve expanded his points lead to 51 over Doug Kalitta, 148 over Leah Pruett and 166 over his father, Billy.  The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series continues Oct. 23-25 with the 33rd Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park.  The season finale is one week later at Las Vegas.

Steve Torrence celebrates after winning his 40th career victory on Sunday at the Texas Motorplex. NHRA photo

“I’ve said it multiple times – Doug Kalitta is probably the best driver who never won the championship,” Torrence said.  “I have a ton of respect for him and for that team and I think that’s why they bring out the best in us.”

Steve, who missed the season opener in Pomona, fell behind in the point standings to early leader Kalitta but has since caught and passed him after posting solid performances and reaching the finals five times in eight starts this season.  On Sunday Steve started from the No. 1 qualifying spot after qualifying with a 3.662 second pass at 327.51 mph on Saturday.

Steve marched his way to the finals by defeating Cameron Ferre in the opening round by posting a 3.704 and then ran a 3.726 when taking a second-round bye due to a 14-car starting field. In the semifinals he defeated Shawn Langdon in the DHL/Kalitta dragster with a 3.72 to 3.78 to reach the final round for the 60th time in his career.

Smoke billows from Steve Torrence’s Capco Contractors dragster after it won the Top Fuel champion in Sunday’s 35th annual AAA Texas Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex in Dallas. The NHRA Camping World tour moves this week to Houston for the 33rd Mopar Express Lane Spring Nationals postponed from last April by the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Mark Rebilas

Billy, the defending event winner, advanced to the finals for the third time this season by defeating Clay Millican in the opening round with a 3.71 run and then recorded a 3.74 pass by outrunning Tony Schumacher in the quarterfinals.  He set up the all-Capco Racing father-son dual for the finale by defeating second-place points sitter Doug Kalitta, who spun the tires at the 300-foot marker.  Billy crossed the line with a 3.745, 326.95 mph pass.

“That was huge,” admitted the younger Torrence, “My dad was a little late (reacting to the starting signal).  I was, too (against Shawn Langdon).  But those bad-to-the-bone Capco Boys pulled it out (with better performing race cars).  I’m just thankful to the good Lord that we’re out here and we can do this.  We’re having a blast.”

Steve now holds a 3-1 advantage in final round meetings.  Between Steve and Billy, they have won 40 of the last 80 NHRA events.

“That car is bad to the bone,” Torrence said of his dad’s Capco entry, a six-time winner over the last three seasons.  “He’s done a great job driving and I didn’t know what was going to happen up there (in the final). You’re just worried about getting there first and it was just an unbelievable weekend for the Capco team.  To represent Capco, to represent Texas and put both cars in the final round, you can’t have a better weekend than that.”

ENNIS, Texas — Final finish order (1-16) at the 35th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex. The race is the ninth of 11 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL:

  1. Steve Torrence; 2. Billy Torrence; 3. Shawn Langdon; 4. Doug Kalitta; 5. Justin Ashley; 6. Tony Schumacher; 7. Leah Pruett; 8. Antron Brown; 9. Scott Palmer; 10. Clay Millican; 11. Lee Callaway; 12. Joey Haas; 13. Kebin Kinsley; 14. Cameron Ferre.

FUNNY CAR:

  1. Jack Beckman; 2. Matt Hagan; 3. Bob Tasca III; 4. Ron Capps; 5. J.R. Todd; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 7. Tim Wilkerson; 8. Alexis DeJoria; 9. Paul Lee; 10. Cruz Pedregon; 11. Jim Campbell; 12. Terry Haddock; 13. Jack Wyatt; 14. Gary Densham; 15. Blake Alexander; 16. Todd Simpson.

PRO STOCK:

  1. Matt Hartford; 2. Greg Anderson; 3. Erica Enders; 4. Jeg Coughlin; 5. Deric Kramer; 6. Alex Laughlin; 7. Jason Line; 8. Bo Butner; 9. Kyle Koretsky; 10. Aaron Stanfield; 11. Kenny Delco; 12. Chris McGaha; 13. Cristian Cuadra; 14. Alan Prusiensky; 15. Val Smeland; 16. Troy Coughlin Jr..

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

  1. Jerry Savoie; 2. Joey Gladstone; 3. Angelle Sampey; 4. Eddie Krawiec; 5. Angie Smith; 6. Andrew Hines; 7. Cory Reed; 8. Michael Phillips; 9. Hector Arana Jr; 10. Steve Johnson; 11. John Hall; 12. Ryan Oehler; 13. Kelly Clontz; 14. Marc Ingwersen; 15. Scotty Pollacheck; 16. Matt Smith.

ENNIS, Texas — Sunday’s final results from the 35th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex. The race is the ninth of 11 in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel — Steve Torrence, 3.716 seconds, 328.78 mph def. Billy Torrence, 3.810 seconds, 323.43 mph.

Funny Car — Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.908, 328.46 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.943, 324.20.

Pro Stock — Matt Hartford, Chevy Camaro, 6.625, 206.39 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.588, 207.94.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.910, 191.16 def. Joey Gladstone, EBR, 7.005, 192.69.

Top Fuel Harley — Randal Andras, Harley, 6.437, 227.88 def. Jay Turner, Harley, 6.606, 220.87.

Factory Stock Showdown — Aaron Stanfield, Chevy Camaro, 8.143, 142.49 def. David Kramer, Camaro, 8.197, 168.43.

Top Alcohol Dragster — Megan Meyer, 5.126, 279.09 def. Aaron Cooper, 5.647, 209.17.

Top Alcohol Funny Car — Doug Gordon, Chevy Camaro, 5.483, 267.96 def. Sean Bellemeur, Camaro, 5.511, 265.85.

Competition Eliminator — Brad Plourd, Ford, 6.271, 216.55 def. Don Thomas, Dragster, 6.807, 194.52.

Super Stock — Hayden Trumble, Chevy Camaro, 10.153, 128.73 def. Anthony Bertozzi, Pontiac Grand Am, 9.161, 141.00.

Stock Eliminator — Lowell Gerber, Chevy Chevelle, 10.523, 118.11 def. Dale Hulquist, Chevy Camaro, 11.133, 115.95.

Super Comp — Christopher Dodd, Dragster, 8.928, 170.86 def. Jason Kenny, Dragster, 8.922, 156.50.

Super Gas — Evan Kowalski, Chevy Corvette, 9.903, 151.89 def. Clark Mundt, Corvette, 9.915, 163.47.

Super Street — John Leibham, Chevy Camaro, 10.934, 150.92 def. Chris Haralson, Camaro, 10.880, 130.34.

Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers — Scott Barker, Dragster, 6.410, 203.89 def. Danny Nelson, Dragster, 6.151, 236.55.

ENNIS, Texas — Final round-by-round results from the 35th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex, the ninth of 11 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE — Doug Kalitta, 3.713, 328.38 def. Antron Brown, 3.762, 324.51; Billy Torrence, 3.711, 324.59 def. Clay Millican, 3.797, 310.63; Justin Ashley, 3.801, 292.14 def. Lee Callaway, 3.904, 297.02; Leah Pruett, 3.780, 317.27 def. Scott Palmer, 3.778, 317.57; Tony Schumacher, 3.733, 321.73 def. Joey Haas, 3.938, 301.87; Steve Torrence, 3.704, 328.30 def. Cameron Ferre, 11.292, 52.74; Shawn Langdon, 3.742, 307.44 def. Kebin Kinsley, 4.217, 231.40;

QUARTERFINALS — Langdon, 3.825, 311.77 def. Pruett, 3.863, 293.86; Kalitta, 3.723, 328.46 def. Ashley, 3.764, 312.78; B. Torrence, 3.741, 326.00 def. Schumacher, 3.789, 310.84; S. Torrence, 3.726, 327.51 was unopposed;

SEMIFINALS — S. Torrence, 3.720, 326.79 def. Langdon, 3.780, 318.62; B. Torrence, 3.746, 326.95 def. Kalitta, 4.182, 261.27;

FINAL — S. Torrence, 3.716, 328.78 def. B. Torrence, 3.810, 323.43.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE — Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.939, 324.05 def. Jack Wyatt, Dodge Charger, 4.275, 229.31; Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 4.089, 273.22 def. Gary Densham, Mustang, 4.699, 186.61; Ron Capps, Charger, 3.907, 327.98 def. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.188, 293.92; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.948, 321.88 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.134, 312.21; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.885, 330.63 def. Todd Simpson, Chevy Camaro, 6.845, 100.28; Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.933, 326.16 def. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.981, 324.98; Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.949, 324.83 def. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 5.911, 119.18; J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.881, 331.36 def. Paul Lee, Charger, 3.932, 330.39;

QUARTERFINALS — Beckman, 3.908, 327.35 def. Wilkerson, 4.796, 164.43; Capps, 3.903, 327.35 def. DeJoria, 11.211, 76.74; Hagan, 3.928, 326.63 def. Todd, 3.987, 326.00; Tasca III, 3.972, 324.83 def. Johnson Jr., 4.348, 218.09;

SEMIFINALS — Beckman, 3.903, 329.34 def. Tasca III, 3.934, 328.22; Hagan, 3.907, 326.08 def. Capps, 3.958, 318.84;

FINAL — Beckman, 3.908, 328.46 def. Hagan, 3.943, 324.20.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE — Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.593, 208.52 def. Troy Coughlin Jr., Ford Mustang, Foul – Red Light; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.566, 207.85 def. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.590, 208.33; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.600, 206.32 def. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.607, 207.43; Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.609, 208.46 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.629, 207.02; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.581, 207.72 def. Cristian Cuadra, Mustang, 6.639, 206.89; Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.584, 208.78 def. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.690, 206.45; Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.596, 206.73 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.652, 205.85; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.617, 207.37 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.624, 206.73;

QUARTERFINALS — Hartford, 6.629, 206.04 def. Butner, 6.645, 206.83; Enders, 6.608, 208.42 def. Kramer, 6.610, 208.07; Coughlin, 6.629, 206.48 def. Line, 6.631, 200.80; Anderson, 6.590, 207.88 def. Laughlin, 6.629, 206.23;

SEMIFINALS — Hartford, 6.641, 206.76 def. Enders, 6.625, 207.43; Anderson, 6.612, 207.40 def. Coughlin, 6.627, 206.07;

FINAL — Hartford, 6.625, 206.39 def. Anderson, 6.588, 207.94.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

ROUND ONE — Joey Gladstone, 6.987, 190.03 def. Hector Arana Jr, Foul – Red Light; Cory Reed, 6.965, 193.90 def. Scotty Pollacheck, 7.002, 197.88; Angie Smith, 6.868, 199.35 def. John Hall, Suzuki, 6.924, 193.40; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.844, 198.17 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.921, 192.77; Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.917, 191.40 def. Marc Ingwersen, 6.999, 192.38; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.834, 197.94 def. Ryan Oehler, 6.980, 195.90; Angelle Sampey, Harley-Davidson, 6.841, 197.57 def. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.980, 191.76; Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 8.911, 99.67 def. Matt Smith, Broke;

QUARTERFINALS — Gladstone, 6.975, 191.46 def. Phillips, 9.774, 87.21; Savoie, 6.973, 189.50 def. Reed, 6.965, 193.99; Krawiec, 6.868, 197.33 def. A. Smith, 6.932, 193.82; Sampey, 6.840, 195.76 def. Hines, 6.938, 195.45;

SEMIFINALS — Savoie, 6.929, 190.08 def. Krawiec, 6.941, 188.31; Gladstone, 6.957, 191.62 def. Sampey, Foul – Red Light;

FINAL — Savoie, 6.910, 191.16 def. Gladstone, 7.005, 192.69.

ENNIS, Texas — Point standings (top 10) following the 35th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex, the ninth of 11 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series –

Top Fuel

  1. Steve Torrence, 764; 2. Doug Kalitta, 713; 3. Leah Pruett, 616; 4. Billy Torrence, 598; 5. Shawn Langdon, 491; 6. Antron Brown, 458; 7. Justin Ashley, 453; 8. Terry McMillen, 436; 9. Clay Millican, 381; 10. Tony Schumacher, 294.

Funny Car

  1. Matt Hagan, 762; 2. Jack Beckman, 758; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., 685; 4. Ron Capps, 588; 5. (tie) Bob Tasca III, 538; Tim Wilkerson, 538; 7. J.R. Todd, 526; 8. Alexis DeJoria, 414; 9. Paul Lee, 351; 10. Cruz Pedregon, 335.

Pro Stock

  1. Erica Enders, 696; 2. Jason Line, 665; 3. Jeg Coughlin, 603; 4. Matt Hartford, 515; 5. Greg Anderson, 488; 6. Alex Laughlin, 468; 7. Chris McGaha, 382; 8. Deric Kramer, 371; 9. Aaron Stanfield, 368; 10. Bo Butner, 365.

Pro Stock Motorcycle

  1. Matt Smith, 503; 2. Scotty Pollacheck, 453; 3. Andrew Hines, 442; 4. Angelle Sampey, 411; 5. Eddie Krawiec, 387; 6. Angie Smith, 307; 7. Ryan Oehler, 301; 8. Steve Johnson, 271; 9. Jerry Savoie, 267; 10. Hector Arana Jr, 252.
About the Author

Mike Haag has covered motorsports in San Antonio and South Texas for more than 33 years. In addition to covering motorsports for the San Antonio Express-News for nearly 28 years, Mike also has co-hosted TrackSmack with Dawn Murphy for 16 race seasons. In addition to being a writer, Mike taught high school English and Journalism for 30 years before retiring in May, 2020.