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Point Leader Seeks Second Career Win at Sonoma; Sixth Win of Season
SONOMA, Calif. – One down; two to go. Steve Torrence’s bid to sweep the three races in the NHRA’s arduous Western Swing continues this week with a wine country backdrop as the three-time reigning World Champion and current runaway point leader tries to put his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster in the winners’ circle at the 33rd NHRA Sonoma Nationals.
Like last week’s Dodge Mile-High Nationals at Denver, the Sonoma Nationals was not contested last year amidst the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, Sonoma Raceway is a venue at which Torrence feels both comfortable and confident even though he’s won just once in 10 previous appearances.
“It’s hard not to be confident when you’ve got Richard Hogan, Bobby Lagana (Jr.), Gary Pritchett and the rest of the Capco Boys behind you,” Torrence said, alluding to the mechanical talent that has made his red-and-black dragster the undeniable T-Rex of the Camping World tour.
“I’m just a guy trying not to screw it up,” said the 45-time tour winner who has won the last two tour stops and five of eight races this season. “I just feel very blessed to be able to do something I really love at the highest possible level and do it with a bunch of guys who share my passion for the sport.”
Considering everything he’s accomplished since he founded Torrence Racing in 2012, it’s hard for many to believe that Torrence has not yet swept the Western Swing, especially since Top Fuel drivers have done so with far greater frequency than their Funny Car and Pro Stock counterparts.
Not that the 38-year-old really needs such a sweep to validate what already is as Hall of Fame career. After all, while five Top Fuel drivers have made a clean sweep of “the Swing,” Torrence is the only driver to complete the ultimate sweep, winning all six races in the Countdown to the Championship in 2018.
He also is the only drag racer to have won NHRA series titles in both the Top Alcohol (2005) and Top Fuel divisions. Still, he admits that joining the company of “clean sweepers” Joe Amato, Antron Brown, Larry Dixon, Cory McClenathan and Tony Schumacher is something he would love to add to his resume.
“I like challenges,” he said, “and the Western Swing is definitely challenging when you go from more than a mile high at Denver down to sea level at Sonoma and, this year, you throw in L.A. summer heat with the race at Pomona (the postponed Lucas Oil Winternationals which has been rechristened the Lucas ‘Summernationals’).”

Looking Back:
Steve Torrence at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals

Year Qualifying Position/Racing Result
2008 Sonoma 11. Beat Troy Buff, Brandon Bernstein; lost to Tony Schumacher
2010 Sonoma 8. Beat David Grubnic; lost to Larry Dixon
2012 Sonoma 11. Lost to Antron Brown (foul)
2013 Sonoma 2. Lost to Tommy Johnson Jr.
2014 Sonoma 11. Beat Bob Vandergriff Jr.; lost to Tony Schumacher
2015 Sonoma 4. Beat Troy Buff; lost to Tony Schumacher
2016 Sonoma 1. Beat Terry Haddock, Tony Schumacher; lost to Richie Crampton
2017 Sonoma 6. Beat Troy Coughlin Jr., Doug Kalitta, Brittany Force and Antron Brown
2018 Sonoma 8. Lost to Doug Kalitta
2019 Sonoma 2. Beat Steve Chrisman, Richie Crampton; lost to Billy Torrence
2020 Sonoma Event Not Contested
Steve’s quickest time: 3.671 seconds, July 29, 2016
Steve’s fastest speed: 331.04 mph, July 30, 2016
Track records – 3.669 seconds by Leah Pruett, July 28, 2017; 335.15 mph by Brittany Force, July 28, 2019.

Steve Torrence this season

March 14 at Gainesville, FL 1. Beat Joe Morrison; lost to Josh Hart.
April 18 at Las Vegas, NV 2. WINNER over Doug Kalitta (Clay Millican and Antron Brown)
May 2 at Atlanta, GA 2. Beat Buddy Hull, Justin Ashley, Shawn Langdon; lost to Antron Brown
May 16 at Charlotte, NC 2. WINNER over Brittany Force (Antron Brown and Josh Hart)
May 23 at Houston, TX 1. Beat Mitch King, advanced on earned bye run, beat Clay Millican and Doug Kalitta.
June 13 at Epping, N.H. 4. Beat Clay Millican, Leah Pruett; lost to Mike Salinas
June 27 at Norwalk, OH 1. Beat Shawn Langdon, Leah Pruett, Austin Prock and Brittany Force
July 18 at Denver, CO 2. Beat Rob Passey, bye, Mike Salinas and Joey Haas.


(After 8 of 20 scheduled events)

1. Steve Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contractors dragster 858
2. Antron Brown, Pittsboro, Ind., Matco Tools dragster 551
3. Brittany Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Monster Energy/FLAV-R-PAC dragster 505
4. Billy Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contractors dragster 448
5. Shawn Langdon, Indianapolis, Ind., DHL/Kalitta Air dragster 418
6. Mike Salinas, San Jose, Calif., Scrappers Racing dragster 395
7. Doug Kalitta, Ann Arbor, Mich., Mac Tools/Mobil 1 dragster 367
8. Leah Pruett, Avon, Ind., MOPAR/Pennzoil/Okuma dragster 362
9. Justin Ashley, Plainview, N.Y., Strutmasters/GuardLab dragster 337
10. Clay Millican, Drummonds, Tenn., Parts Plus dragster 328

Looking Ahead
2021 NHRA Camping World Tour

8-01 Lucas Oil Winternationals (in summer) Pomona, CA
8-15 Menard’s Nationals Topeka, KS
8-22 Lucas Oil Nationals Brainerd, MN
9-05 Dodge SRT U.S. Nationals Indianapolis, IN

Torrence Racing CPO’s (Chief Performance Officers) Bobby Lagana Jr., left, and Richard Hogan, helped Steve Torrence to an opening victory last week at Denver, Colo., to start the NHRA Western Swing which continues this weekend at Sonoma, Calif.

Steve Torrence celebrates his fifth win of the season last week at Denver with wife Natalie and daughter Charli. Torrence resumes his bid to sweep the three races in NHRA’s Western Swing when he drives the Capco Contractors dragster this week at Sonoma, Calif.

T-Rex of the Camping World tour. Three-time reigning World Champion Steve Torrence sends the Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster after its sixth win of the season in this week’s Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma, Calif.

Photos by Mark Rebilas
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