Story By: NHRA – ENNIS, TX – Winning at his home track has always been special for Steve Torrence, who has picked up two victories at Texas Motorplex over the past three years.
But getting a second straight win at the Dallas-area track and third in four years would be extra meaningful for the defending three-time Top Fuel world champ.
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series star is a victory away from his 50th Top Fuel win and it’s a feat he could accomplish at this weekend’s Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex.
Doing it at his home track in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragsters and in front of his family and friends would add to the moment, and it would also put Torrence a step closer to his fourth straight world championship. He won his ninth race of the 2021 season at the most recent event in St. Louis, sending him back into the points lead with four races remaining in the Countdown to the Championship. That means a 50th Top Fuel win is on his mind, but Torrence also remains focused on the task at hand.
“We’re just trying to win the FallNationals,” Torrence said. “These Capco Boys are the best in the business and if I win one or 50 or 100 races, it’s not because of anything I’ve done. I just drive the best race car out there. That’s it. To me, 49 wins means that’s 49 times I didn’t screw up because a lot of times I do. We just have to go out and do what we’ve been doing. It’s worked pretty well so far.”
Torrence (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Matt Hartford (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were winners of the 2020 event. This year’s race will be televised on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), including final eliminations coverage starting at 4:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Oct. 10. It is the fourth of seven races in Funny Car and Top Fuel in the Countdown to the Championship and the Torrence family has dominated at the Motorplex in recent years.
Sandwiched between Torrence’s two wins is a victory by his father, Billy, at the track in 2019, making it a facility that has treated the family very well as of late. S. Torrence will look to continue that this weekend but will be tested by a host of standouts, including Brittany Force, who trails Torrence by 36 points and has been dominant in qualifying, Mike Salinas, Antron Brown, Justin Ashley and Leah Pruett. Torrence, though, will look to put on a show, starting with qualifying under the lights on Friday and continuing all weekend.
“We love being able to race in front of family and friends at the Motorplex,” Torrence said, “and we’ve been blessed to have had a lot of success. But this championship battle isn’t over. We’ve got the points lead, but there’s still a lot of racing to do. Our goal is to stay consistent and keep our focus and that’s always tougher when you’re racing at home. Everybody wants you to know they’re pulling for you. They all want to shake your hand and give you some words of encouragement. It’s a great problem to have, but it makes it harder to maintain focus.”
In Funny Car, J.R. Todd continues to have championship aspirations, but the former world champ knows he needs a big weekend to remain in contention. He’s currently fifth and 115 points behind Matt Hagan, who moved into the lead with his victory in St. Louis. It’s the eighth time in eight races the points lead has changed hands and while Todd likely wouldn’t jump into the lead with a big weekend, he can put himself in a great position in his 11,000-horsepower DHL Toyota Camry.
Todd started his 2021 campaign with a victory in Gainesville but hasn’t won since despite advancing to four final rounds this year. He’ll try to pick up the win this weekend in Dallas, but it won’t be easy taking on the likes of Hagan, 16-time world champion John Force, Ron Capps, who is 59 points back of Hagan, Cruz Pedregon and Bob Tasca III.
“The Funny Car class has been close all season,” Todd said. “A lot of guys have had the points lead this season and since the start of the Countdown, it seems like there is a new points leader after every race. If we can keep going rounds on Sunday and knock out some of these Countdown cars, we will be in a good position for the final races of the playoffs. We have four more races this season and I feel really good about how this DHL Toyota Camry can perform at each of those tracks. It all starts this weekend at the Texas Motorplex.”
Greg Anderson remains in the points lead as he seeks his fifth Pro Stock world title, but defending world champ Erica Enders closed in by winning in St. Louis. She is just 17 points back as she also seeks her fifth world title. Others to watch include Kyle Koretsky, standout rookie Dallas Glenn and Stanfield.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Angelle Sampey is the most recent event winner, getting within 17 points of Steve Johnson thanks to her victory in Charlotte. Both Johnson and Sampey will look to keep rolling in Dallas against the likes of defending world champ Matt Smith, Eddie Krawiec and Scotty Pollacheck.
The event also includes the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where the future stars of the sport earn their racing stripes, as well as the popular Top Fuel Harley category. The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service will also compete during the weekend. After nitro qualifying on Friday, fans can enjoy the entertaining “Walking Tall” P.T. Cruiser Wheelstander driven by “NitroMike” as well as the “Lone Star Lightning” and “Game X Change Jet Dragster” Jet Car Exhibition. Jet cars are thrust-driven vehicles propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
As always, fans are granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet at Texas Motorplex. This unique opportunity gives fans a chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds.
The special Stampede of Speed will also have thrilling events leading up to the weekend racing. On Thursday, the free fan fest will take place in downtown Waxahachie, full of autograph opportunities, interactive games, live music, family fun and a fireworks show.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. CT on Friday, Oct. 8 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 12:00 and 4:00 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11:00 a.m. CT on Sunday, Oct. 10.
Television coverage on Fox Sports 1 starts with qualifying action from 10:30-11:30 p.m. ET on Friday following MLB ALDS coverage, and 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Sunday, leading directly into eliminations action on FS1 from 4:30-7:30.