TORRENCE WINS TOP FUEL IN SONOMA, BUT THIS TIME IT'S BILLY
Another week – another win for the Torrence family in Top Fuel.
In an NHRA Mello Yello Series dominated by Top Fuel driver Steve Torrence, who has eight wins, his father Billy has also added two wins of his own in the Capco family-owned dragster.
The elder Torrence’s most recent win came Sunday when he was crowned the champion at the Sonoma (Calif.) Nationals.
Billy clocked a 3.804-second elapsed time at 320.20 mph to defeat Clay Millican’s 3.842-second lap at 321.65 mph.
“We had a good car going into race day,” Billy said. “We raced what the race track would give us. We made the right calls and we had a really tough race against Steve. I think they had a little difficulty going down and we were fortunate to be ahead when the win light came on. We do race heads up. How are you going to brag if you didn’t race heads up? There will be a little bragging going on (Monday), very little. We will have our ritual (Monday) going to eat Mexican food and I think Steve will pay. Then, we will be at work.”
Billy knocked off Steve Faria, Austi Prock, his son, Steve and then Millican Sunday. This was Billy’s third career Top Fuel Wally. He won in Phoenix earlier this season.
Steve, who had been to nine consecutive finals rounds before Sunday, and Billy have combined to win 10 of the 15 NHRA national events this season.
“We knew Clay had a good car, and I needed to go up there and be on time,” Billy said. “I was a little later than I wanted to be, and I thought we had a good even car to run what we ran, and it took it all.”
Billy, although he has only been running a limited schedule, has a great opportunity to finish in the Top 10 in the season points and qualify for the six-race Countdown to the Championship.
However, making the Countdown isn’t high on Billy’s list.
“We didn’t come into this year to really go to the Top 10, we just came out to have fun,” Billy said. “We are a test team for the ‘A’ car (Steve’s). We are not going to the next race (in Seattle, Aug. 2-4), but we will be in Brainerd, Minn., (Aug. 16-18) and Indy and we will just see how the cards fall there. We have a good car and we are capable of winning anywhere we go.”
Getting to race against his son, Steve, the reigning Top Fuel world champion, is something Billy doesn’t take for granted.
“We are very blessed to get to race against each other, that’s special, but when we do get out there, it doesn’t really matter who is over there (in the other lane),” Billy said. “Everything I know, Steve taught me to do this. He’s going to take my head off and vice versa. When you have a kid, who has won 35 (Top Fuel) races, the bragging rights are trimmed down substantially. I may needle him a little bit, but I can’t say too much. The bottom line is I couldn’t do this without Steve’s team, Richard Hogan, Bobby and Dom Lagana, Walt and Jake and the guys who work on my car. It takes all those guys and they make certain that I have a very well-prepared car every time I show up. They make me look good, so I’m not going to toot the horn too much.
We are the type of people who really don’t plan, we just do. We pop up and look around from time to time and we have to pinch ourselves and we are humbled by the success we have had. We have been very blessed. It’s really something to have the success we’ve had and be the only family race team on the property at that level.”