Due to the busy nature of his Texas-based construction company, Billy Torrence doesn’t compete in all of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events and for that, the rest of the Top Fuel field should be thankful. Torrence, the father of two-time world champ Steve, is now a six-time winner in NHRA’s premiere division following a narrow side-by-side win against Doug Kalitta in the final round of the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals in Indianapolis. Torrence gave up a lead to Kalitta’s Mac Tools dragster at the start but rallied to win with a 3.802 to Kalitta’s 3.852 effort.
“Well, how about those old Capco boys?” said Torrence, as he hoisted the Wally trophy. “We need to foremost thank the good Lord for being out here as a family and being able to enjoy the freedom to come out here and drag race and God Bless America. Thank you so much.”
Torrence, who was a semifinalist in his only other appearance of the season in Phoenix, guided his Capco dragster into the field in the No. 6 spot following a 3.859 run on Saturday afternoon. Sunday’s conditions were conducive to quicker elapsed times and the Capco team responded in kind. Steve Torrence led the way with a 3.758 in his round one win against Luigi Novelli and Billy was just a tick behind with a 3.768 in his win against Terry Totten. After Billy took care of business in the quarterfinals against T.J. Zizzo and Steve stopped Shawn Landon, it set up and inevitable father-son battle in the semifinals. The Capco cars have always raced straight-up and this time was no different. After an even start, Steve’s car smoked the tires, sending Billy to his eighth career final in just 50 stars as a professional.
Kalitta, the hottest NHRA pro in any class after starting the season with a win and a runner-up, went to the final for the third-straight race thanks to wins against Lex Joon, Leah Pritchett, and Antron Brown, a milestone victory that represented his 700th round win as a pro. Kalitta’s 3.803 to 3.813 win against Pritchett was also notable as one of the best races of the day with a margin of victory of just five-thousandths of a second at the finish line. Kalitta, who remains the points leader, is just the second Top Fuel driver to score 700 round wins, joining eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher.