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Steve Torrence takes Top Fuel pole Friday at NHRA Arizona Nationals

Steve Torrence made his 2020 Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing Series debut in fine fashion, going to the top of the field at the NHRA Arizona Nationals.
21 Feb 2020
Jacob Sundstrom, NHRA National Dragster Associate Editor
Race coverage
Steve Torrence

Steve Torrence returned to the track without missing a beat. The back-to-back defending Top Fuel champion went straight to the top of the Top Fuel qualifying sheet after the first two of four qualifying passes with a 3.671-second pass at 326.48-mph.

Torrence made his 2020 Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing Series debut at the NHRA Arizona Nationals and claimed four bonus points on the first day of competition. He made the third-quickest run during the first run of qualifying and claimed the No. 1 spot in the second, outpacing 2017 Top Fuel world champion Brittany Force and Don Schumacher Racing driver Leah Pruett in the process. 

SEE THE FULL TOP FUEL QUALIFYING SHEET HERE

Force ran a 3.680 at 331.12, using the latter as a tiebreaker to outpace Pruett in her Flav-R-Pak Top Fuel dragster. The 2017 world champion debuted the new-look dragster at the NHRA Arizona Nationals after running her Monster Energy dragster at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals to start the season. 

Pruett lept up the leaderboard to the No. 3 spot in her Mopar Top Fuel dragster at a track she has experienced a plethora of success. She moved past Terry McMillen, one of four drivers to make a pass in the 3.60s during the two qualifying sessions Friday. 

Billy Torrence, Steve Torrence's father, ran a 3.724 in his Capco Contractors dragster, continuing his incredible streak of consistency despite running a part-time schedule. He out-qualified longtime competitor Doug Kalitta, who won the season-opener in Pomona. Kalitta enters the 2020 season as the runner up from the 2019 campaign. 

Doug Foley is returning to Top Fuel competition after a three-year absence and holds the bump spot of the 17-car field with a 4.154-second pass. He's .001-second behind Shawn Langdon, who moved back to Top Fuel racing after two years racing in Funny Car. Cameron Ferre is on the outside of the field after making one 14.887-second pass. 

The third qualifying session is scheduled for 1 p.m. Mountain Time Saturday. You can catch all the action on NHRA.tv.