Steve Torrence captured his first Top Fuel title by defeating Richie Crampton in the semifinals at the NHRA Toyota Nationals on Sunday. Tony Schumacher, the only racer with an opportunity to catch Torrence, fell to teammate Leah Pritchett in the same round and gave Torrence an opportunity to seal the deal.
The Kilgore, Texas, native did not miss. He ran a 3.724 to get past Crampton and reach his 10th final of the season and remain perfect in the Countdown to the Championship. Torrence finished second in Top Fuel in 2017 and entered 2018 as a favorite in the nitro category.
"Honestly, I don't have words to describe this," said Torrence. "All the glory goes to God. I'm thankful for all the support from my mom and my dad and all these Capco boys. The whole team that has been behind me all season long. I guess to anyone who said we couldn't do this... here we are."
He did not disappoint. Torrence entered the Fall Las Vegas event with nine wins in nine final-round appearances, including his first win in his home state of Texas. The Capco Contractors racer drives one of the most consistent Top Fuel dragsters on the planet and raised his game to another level when the postseason began following the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.
Torrence won the first four Countdown to the Championship races, beginning in Reading to kick off the postseason. He followed that up with wins in St. Louis, Dallas, and Charlotte to extend his enormous lead in the Top Fuel category. Great performances in the Countdown by Clay Millican and Schumacher were not enough to keep pace with Torrence, who becomes the 30th champion in Top Fuel history which is now in its 55th season.
The Texan got his NHRA start racing Top Alcohol Dragster alongside his father, Billy Torrence, who competed at the NHRA Toyota Nationals this weekend. Steve defeated his father in the second round of racing. Among the duo’s accomplishments are Top Alcohol Dragster victories and Top Fuel victory for Billy, which he achieved in Brainerd earlier this season.
The 2018 season will conclude at the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona beginning Nov. 8 and ending on the 11th. All of the other three Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing Series categories will be decided at the final event of the season. Tickets can be purchased here. Catch the action on FS1 at 7 p.m. Eastern.