Steve Torrence has an opportunity to make NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series history at this weekend’s Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, but that’s nothing new for the Top Fuel standout who has won three straight world championships.
Torrence can become just the eighth driver in NHRA history to sweep the three-race Western Swing and first since 2009 if he can win this weekend in Pomona. He’s already picked up wins in Denver and Sonoma in back-to-back weekends to open the Western Swing in his 11,000-hp Capco Contractors dragster, and Torrence has a chance to break out the brooms at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. He’s had great memories at the track in recent years, including his first championship when he won at the track to finish off his historic sweep of the Countdown to the Championship, but Torrence is only focused on the immediate task at hand, and that’s making a good run on Friday to open qualifying.
WESTERN SWING SWEEPS
|1991||Joe Amato||Top Fuel|
|1994||John Force||Funny Car|
|1994||Dan Fletcher||Super Stock|
|1997||Cory McClenathan||Top Fuel|
|2003||Larry Dixon||Top Fuel|
|2004||Greg Anderson||Pro Stock|
|2008||Tony Schumacher||Top Fuel|
|2009||Antron Brown||Top Fuel|
|2013||Dan Fletcher||Super Stock/Stock|
|Story: A look back at past Western Swing sweeps|
“Sweeping the Swing would be a great accomplishment, but that is not what we are setting out to do,” Torrence said. “Come Friday night, our goal is to make a solid, clean, and fast run down the racetrack. It’s one run at a time for us. One run at a time equals one race at a time, and if it happens to be three races in a row that equates to sweeping the Swing then that’s what happens. Racing in Pomona during the middle of the summer is also a different ball game. We generally run in the cooler months there, so it should get interesting.”
Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), and Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of a race that will be televised on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and FOX, including finals coverage beginning at 4 p.m. ET on FOX on Sunday, Aug. 1. It marks the 10th race of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season and the final race of what has been a memorable Western Swing. The stop in Pomona will provide a thrilling capper, as fans will be treated to two unbelievable nights of 11,000-hp, 330-mph nitro racing under the lights, hot rod Cacklefests, and fireworks leading into Sunday’s eliminations. It’s also the first time the NHRA will race in Pomona in the summer, adding another special note for the weekend.
Torrence is in the midst of another special season, putting together some of his best work this season. He’s won six of the nine races thus far in 2021, including three in a row and four of the past five events. It’s a remarkable pace for the Texan, who has already clinched his berth in the Countdown to the Championship with a fourth straight world title very much in reach. He’ll face stiff challenges in Pomona from the likes of Antron Brown, Sonoma runner-up Leah Pruett, Justin Ashley, Kalitta, Clay Millican, Brittany Force, Shawn Langdon, and Mike Salinas, but Torrence continues to be impressed by his team.
“These Capco boys are unbelievable,” said Torrence, who has 46 career victories. “It’s hard to not be confident when you’ve got [crew chiefs] Richard Hogan, Bobby Lagana, and the rest of the Capco boys behind you. I’m just the fortunate guy who’s blessed to have the opportunity to drive, and I couldn’t be more excited. These guys, they work hard, and they love their job. You learn a little bit each day, and we have so much fun when we come to the track.”
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 7:15 p.m. PT on Friday, July 30, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, July 31 at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 10 a.m. PT on Sunday, Aug. 1. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday and 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, and then eliminations action at 4 p.m. on FOX on Sunday.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also are available online at www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general-admission areas with a paid adult.