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Point Leader Goes to ‘School’ in Advance of the Countdown

SEATTLE, Wash. – It’s a down-and-dirty weekend for Mello Yello point leader Steve Torrence who after a misstep last week at Sonoma, Calif., tuned up for this week’s 31st annual Cat Spot Northwest Nationals, last of the three races comprising the NHRA’s arduous Western Swing, with a trek off the concrete-and-asphalt and into the gravel-and-mud with close friend Antron Brown.

The principals in Chocolate-and-Crème Racing took advantage of their proximity to DirtFish Rally School to polish their car control skills at the wheel of a couple of turbocharged 4-cylinder Subaru Impreza STIs that represent a night-and-day difference from the 10,000 horsepower dragsters in which they will compete this weekend.

Nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in scenic Snoqualmie, DirtFish is considered North America’s premier rally school, the perfect place for Torrence and Brown to refresh the skills they developed last March when they raced a Polaris RZR in the Mint 400 off-road classic in the Nevada desert.

“It’s fun,” acknowledged the 31-year-old Torrence,, “and a good change of pace from the grind of the Western Swing. We really had fun at the Mint 400 and (off road racing) is something we both promised to do again. This was just a chance to keep ourselves sharp.”

The experience now behind them, though, Torrence and Brown return to reality Friday with the start of qualifying in an event both have won previously.

“Running well (at Seattle) is a big deal because we need to start setting up for the Countdown,” Torrence said. “We need to keep the pressure on. The NHRA is gonna adjust the points after Indy and that’s gonna wipe out any big lead we might have or anyone else might have, but you still need to go into the Countdown with momentum.”

Winner of 21 tour events at the wheel of a series of Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragsters, Torrence is trying to become the first driver in NHRA history to win series championships in both the Alcohol and Fuel categories.

“I’m just glad we’re back racing this week,” Torrence said. “I’m anxious to get back in the car and put us back in the winners’ circle.”


Date Site Qualifying position and race detail Points

Feb. 11 Pomona, CA 2. Beat Steve Faria; lost to Antron Brown 5th

Feb. 25 Phoenix, AZ 2. Beat Steve Chrisman, Blake Alexander,

Billy Torrence and Scott Palmer 1st

March 19 Gainesville, FL 2. Lost to Mike Salinas 1st

April 9 Las Vegas, NV 5. 4Wide WINNER over Tony Schumacher,

Doug Kalitta and Antron Brown 1st

April 22 Houston, TX 9. Beat Scott Palmer; lost to Leah Pritchett 1st

April 29 Charlotte, NC 4. 4Wide WINNER over Doug Kalitta, Terry

McMillen and Clay Millican. 1st

May 6 Atlanta, GA 3. Beat Terry Haddock, Doug Kalitta; lost to

Blake Alexander 1st

May 20/21 Topeka, KS 2. Beat Terry Haddock, Brittany Force; lost to

Terry McMillen 1st

June 3 Chicago, IL 1. Lost to Luigi Novelli 1st

June 10 Richmond, VA 6. Beat Scott Palmer, Terry McMillen, Antron

Brown and Doug Kalitta 1st

June 17 Bristol, TN 6. Beat Shawn Reed, Antron Brown; lost to

Tony Schumacher 1st

June 24 Norwalk, OH 3. Beat Chris Karamesines, Mike Salinas; lost

To Terry McMillen 1st

July 8 Epping, NH 3. Beat Dan Mercier, Shawn Reed, Tony

Schumacher and Antron Brown 1st

July 22 Denver 3. Beat Bill Litton; lost to Blake Alexander 1st

July 29 Sonoma 8. Lost to Doug Kalitta. 1st

* * * *


August 19, 2018 37th Lucas Oil Nationals Brainerd, Minn.

Sept. 3, 2018 64th Chevrolet U.S. Nationals Indianapolis, Ind.

Countdown to the Championship

Sept. 16, 2018 34th Dodge Nationals Reading, Pa.

Sept. 23, 2018 21st AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals St. Louis, Mo.

Oct. 7, 2018 33rd AAA Texas Fall Nationals Dallas, Texas

Oct. 21, 2018 11th NHRA Carolina Nationals Charlotte, N.C.

Oct. 28, 2018 18th Toyota Nationals Las Vegas, Nev.

Nov. 11, 2018 54th Auto Club Finals Pomona, Calif.

STEVE at Pacific Raceways

Last year: After qualifying No. 7, Steve suffered the lone first round defeat of his season when he was upset by Terry McMillen.

Starts/Final Rounds/Wins/No. 1 Qualifier: 8/2/1/0

Steve’s quickest time at Pacific Raceways: 3.695 seconds, Aug. 7, 2016

Steve’s fastest speed at Pacific Raceways: 330.47 mph, Aug. 7, 2016

Steve’s won-lost record at Pacific Raceways: 10-7

Steve’s best moment(s) at Pacific Raceways: In 2012, as the No. 3 qualifier, Steve beat Steve Chrisman, Khalid alBalooshi, Doug Kalitta and Shawn Langdon.

Track records: 3.685 seconds by Antron Brown, Aug. 7, 2016; 330.47 mph by Steve Torrence, Aug. 7, 2016.



(NHRA Mello Yello points after 15 of 18 events leading up to the Countdown to the Mello Yello Championship)

1. Steve Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contractors dragster 1168

2. Tony Schumacher, Lakeway, Texas, U.S. Army dragster 1031

3. Clay Millican, Drummonds, Tenn., Parts Plus dragster 1025

4. Leah Pritchett, Danville, Ind., Mopar Dodge dragster 989

5. Doug Kalitta, Saline, Mich., Mac Tools dragster 951

6. Antron Brown, Pittsboro, Ind., Matco Tools dragster 809

7. Terry McMillen, Elkhart, Ind., Amalie Oil dragster 728

8. Brittany Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Monster Energy dragster 697

9. Scott Palmer, Cassville, Mo., Cat Spot dragster 617

10. Richie Crampton, Avon, Ind., DHL/Kalitta Air dragster 608
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