Steve Torrence became just the third driver in NHRA Top Fuel history to win three straight world championships as the two-time and defending champ locked up the 2020 Camping World Drag Racing Series title during final eliminations at the Dodge NHRA Finals presented by Pennzoil at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Torrence clinched the title when Doug Kalitta, the only driver with a chance still to unseat him, was defeated in the first round by Justin Ashley. Torrence went on to beat Kebin Kinsley a few pairs later, a victory that would have clinched the championship even if Kalitta had advanced.
“I’m proud of my team -– Richard Hogan, Bobby Lagana, all of those guys who give heart and blood to be out here and do this -– it’s unbelievable," said Torrence. "Three championships in three years. The success that we had … we’re just a bunch of hillbilly pipeliners from east Texas and do be out here and do this is unreal.
“I thank my mom and dad who support me, my wife who supports me –- man, I don’t get emotional much, but this is different. Thanks to everybody for everything. It’s unreal.
"Doug Kalitta is the fiercest competitor out here and they have fought hard for so many years, I want to kick myself in the butt for robbing that guy, but it’s truly a blessing to be here. I’ve had a lot of highlights in my career and this is going to be right up there at the top.”
After dominating the class the last two seasons, Torrence and his teammate father, Billy, were both no-shows at the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, which was won by Kalitta
The red and black Capco Contractors team wasted no time making up for lost ground as Torrence won the NHRA Arizona Nationals in his season debut. Other than a stumble at the second of four events in Indianapolis, where his father beat him in the first round, Steve went to at least the semifinals of eight of the nine races he entered.
In addition to his win in Phoenix, Torrence also won the third Indy event and beat father Billy in the final to win both the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals and the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals. Torrence reached six final rounds and also logged two runner-up finishes, in St. Louis and Houston, to go with his four wins.
Torrence compiled a 26-5 win-loss record and also compiled three No. 1 qualifying efforts through the first 10 races of the season.