STEVE TORRENCE READY FOR CHALLENGES AHEAD TO WIN HIS FIFTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Steve Torrence knows plenty about winning NHRA Top Fuel World Championships.
The Kilgore, Texas, driver won five world titles from 2018-2021 and is aiming to reclaim the throne in 2023.
Torrence will arrive at the Texas NHRA FallNationals in Dallas this weekend 51 points behind class leader Doug Kalitta.
Torrence won Top Fuel titles in Dallas in 2018 and 2020 in his Capco Dragster. His father, Billy, took home a Dallas FallNationals Top Fuel crown in 2019. Billy is making his season debut at the FallNationals. He last competed in September of 2022, losing to Steve in the first round in Charlotte, N.C.
Billy Torrence has eight NHRA Top Fuel national event wins, but Steve doesn’t want people to read too much into Billy’s appearance in Dallas, which is the fourth race in the six-race Countdown to the Championship.
“It's just facilitating bringing the second car out, personnel-wise to do it, really,” Steve said. “I don't think there's any strategy to it, other than just, it's Dallas, it's a home race, he's wanting to race, and that's it.”
Steve acknowledged having his dad as a teammate does benefit him – but it doesn’t guarantee him any results.
“I mean, it's helpful to have him there. You get a shot at going down through there with that car, and then seeing what it did, and using our car. But at the end of the day, I mean, we have to go out there and do what we do, and we will use it to benefit us the most we can, but we still have to do what we do.”
This season, Torrence has a 32-17 elimination-round record and is coming off a semifinal performance in St. Louis, where he lost to Leah Pruett.
“We're definitely in a much better position than we were last year,” said Steve, who finished sixth in the final 2022 points standings.
“Last year, we knew what we were doing, I mean it took us longer for it to happen, but we had started this season with the intentions of developing a new tune-up and new setup and everything, and I think that it's finally coming around to where it needs to be. It's the same thing, I believe that's going on with (crew chief) (David) Grubnic and Brittany (Force) right now, working on just kind of evolving the tune-up. So, we're much better off than we were last year, for certain.”
Competing at the Texas Motorplex, which is about two hours from Kilgore, is something Steve has been doing his entire racing career.
“I grew up racing there. I mean, that was one of the national events that we got to go to, that were close, when you race Super Comp,” Steve said. “So, I've raced a great deal at that racetrack, and had success. I won there in (Top) Alcohol in 2005, clinched the championship. Won there in Top Fuel a couple different times. So yeah, I'm very familiar with it.
“I do (enjoy racing at the track). We've had a lot of success on full concrete racetracks, and that's one of them. And I have a good bit of history with that racetrack. I went and did a bunch of stuff in Austin (Texas) at the Capitol for the funding that they got for the Stampede of Speed and bringing tourist people to the state of Texas. So yeah, that's been the last couple years I’ve been involved with that. So yeah, I really enjoy going to that racetrack.”
With just three races left in the Countdown – Dallas, Las Vegas (Oct. 26-29) and Pomona, Calif. (Nov. 9-12) – Steve welcomes the challenge of fighting to win another world championship.
“I mean, it's hard to be a battle-tested warrior when you have not been in the battle,” he said. “And, we've been there quite a few times, and we just take the opportunity to go out and do it. I mean, winning championships is about seizing opportunities, and that's where we're at.”