Torrence wins in Texas

 In an all-Torrence Top Fuel final round at their home track, Steve Torrence powered past his father, Billy, on Sunday at Texas Motorplex to win the 35th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals.
Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Matt Hartford (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won in their respective categories at the ninth of 11 races during the 2020 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
Points leader Steve Torrence won for the second time in three years at Dallas in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster, going 3.716 seconds at 328.78 mph in the finals to beat Billy’s 3.810 at 323.43. It gave Torrence, who has won back-to-back world titles, his fourth victory in 2020 and 40th overall, as well as another strong showing in front of family and friends. The Torrence family won for the third straight year at the race, as Steve advanced to the final round with wins against Cameron Ferre and Shawn Langdon. 
His father beat Clay Millican, Tony Schumacher and then Doug Kalitta in a pivotal semifinal matchup. By ousting Kalitta, it set up the fourth Torrence father-son final round matchup and also helped extend Steve Torrence’s points lead. Following the win, he now leads Kalitta by 51 points with two races remaining.
“Going into the final, you’re racing your dad and that car is bad to the bone,” said Steve Torrence, who was also the No. 1 qualifier. “He’s done a great job driving and I didn’t know what was going to happen up there. You’re just worried about getting there first and it was just an unbelievable weekend for the Capco team. To represent Capco, to represent Texas and put both cars in the final round, you can’t have a better weekend than that. The semifinal round had huge implications. We’re just battling it out toe-to-toe with Kalitta, and we’ve really kept our nose on the grindstone and we’ve tried to make every lap count.”
Jack Beckman inched closer to the points lead in Funny Car, racing past teammate Matt Hagan in a thrilling final round with a run of 3.908 at 328.46 in his 11,000-horsepower Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. The win, which is Beckman’s third this year and 33rd in his career, also extended Don Schumacher Racing’s incredible streak of consecutive Funny Car wins to 12, and pulled Beckman to within four points of Hagan, who went 3.943 at 324.20 in the championship round. Beckman reached the finals by defeating Cruz Pedregon, Tim Wilkerson and Bob Tasca III, making four consistent passes in the low-3.90s to win Dallas for the first time in his standout Funny Car career.
“We have a phenomenal car,” Beckman said. “I had a good feeling all day today and I think our car is as good as any car out there every time we go out there. I’ve won Indy, I’ve won Pomona and a lot of the major races, but Dallas, since I came here in 1986 to spectate at the very first national event here, was one I would have loved to win. I had 14 shots at it before I finally closed the deal. To have your name listed as the first (to win a Camping World Wally), that can never be taken away from you and it’s just awesome.”
Hagan, who qualified No. 1, remained in the points lead thanks to victories against Todd Simpson, J.R. Todd and teammate Ron Capps. It gave Hagan back-to-back final-round appearances and his 64th overall final.
Matt Hartford was remarkable on the starting line when it mattered in Pro Stock, earning back-to-back holeshot wins, including in the finals to beat Greg Anderson. Hartford went 6.625 at 206.39 in the championship round in his Total Seal/CIP1/Nitro Fish, beating Anderson’s 6.588 at 207.94 thanks to a stellar .018 reaction time. It gave Hartford his first win in 2020 and third overall. Hartford beat Chris McGaha, Bo Butner and defending world champ Erica Enders to reach the finals, slipping past Enders on a holeshot before doing the same to Anderson a round later.
“The final was big because I’m now at three wins, but really the semifinal run was what set it apart for us,” Hartford said. “Erica is just so dominant on the tree and I just decided I was going to take my time, take a couple deep breaths and not be in a hurry. There was a lot on the line and to come back in the final round and win, it’s incredible to have another Wally. To hold the first ever Camping World Wally in Pro Stock, that never gets forgotten. For me, it’s just incredible. It wasn’t an easy road today, but we’ve had a good car all year long. To have the fans out here supporting us, it was great.”
Anderson beat Kyle Koretsky, Alex Laughlin and longtime rival Jeg Coughlin Jr. to reach his first final round this year and 158th in his career. Enders remained atop the points standings after advancing to the semifinals, with Jason Line dropping 31 points back.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Texas Motorplex continued to be very good to Jerry Savoie, as he picked up his second straight win at the track by going 6.910 at 191.16 in the final round on his White Alligator Racing Suzuki. It was Savoie’s sixth straight final round at the facility, and he picked up his third career win in Dallas by racing past Joey Gladstone in the championship round. Savoie, who won for the first time since Dallas last year and 13th time overall, beat Marc Ingwersen, Cory Reed and Eddie Krawiec to reach the final round.
“There’s just something about Texas,” Savoie said. “To come here and be in the finals six times and win three, it’s just awesome and a great deal. We’ve really been struggling and (crew chief) Tim (Kulungian) has been working really hard at the shop. We didn’t have the fastest bike today, but luck was on our side and we just out-raced them.”
Gladstone advanced to his first career final round in the class with victories against Hector Arana Jr., Michael Phillips and Angelle Sampey. No. 1 qualifier Matt Smith maintained his points lead despite losing in the first round when his bike would not start, and Scotty Pollacheck stayed in second, 50 behind his teammate.
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series continues Oct. 23-25 with the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park.
(Courtesy of NHRA Communications)
Adam Sinclair