ENNIS, TX – October 6, 2016 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – It is easy for Steve Torrence to reminisce when he is in the staging lanes at the Texas Motorplex, the site of the 31st annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, Oct. 13-16. The Top Fuel standout and Kilgore, Texas native grew up racing at the track just two hours from his house and every time he returns it is an opportunity to look back on his rise through the drag racing ranks at the famed facility.
After advancing to the final round at the race last year, Torrence’s next step is his first Top Fuel win at the track, something that would add another memorable accomplishment to his impressive 2016 season.
“It was just a few years ago you’re pulling into the water box in your Super Comp car, just aspiring to be in this position,” said Torrence, who is currently sixth in Top Fuel points and has two wins in 2016. “It’s just an unbelievable feeling to accomplish those goals and be at the pinnacle of the sport you love. It holds all the more meaning to say I grew up here and every aspect of my racing career took place here. It’s always been a special place to me and where I grew up racing.”
Richie Crampton (Top Fuel), Del Worsham (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were winners of last year’s event that will air on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) for the first time. On Oct. 16th, FS1 will televise three hours of live finals coverage starting at 2 p.m. (ET).
The race marks the fourth of six events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship playoffs. The first half of the playoffs haven’t gone quite as planned for Torrence and his team. He started in third but had a first-round loss sandwiched around two quarterfinal appearances.
Torrence has dropped to sixth while points leader and defending world champion Antron Brown has posted Countdown victories in Charlotte and at Maple Grove in Reading, Penn. Torrence had a strong run of 3.691 in a first-round win against eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher at Maple Grove, but consistency has been an issue in the playoffs. Despite that, a strong finish remains at the forefront of Torrence’s priorities.
“Unfortunately the Countdown has not been favorable for us this year,” said Torrence, who has seven career wins. “We’ve just had small mistakes that have really cost us a lot and it’s compounded. But we’re still marching forward and we’re going to do the best we can to finish strong in what has been our best season as a team and my best season as a driver. We’re trying to finish out this season as strong as possible. We are out here to win and there’s three races left to try to do that.”
The last stretch of 2016 starts in Dallas and nothing would erase the Countdown slump more than a victory at the Texas Motorplex. Torrence’s last win at the facility came in 2005 in a Top Alcohol Dragster, it was a victory that clinched him a championship. Trailing Brown by 163 points, a world title may not happen this year but a Dallas winner’s circle celebration after his Top Fuel victory would be a strong consolation for Torrence.
“Other than winning Indy, winning your home races are probably the highest on anybody’s list, so it would be really special,” Torrence said. “You get to see a lot of friends and family at this race and it would be incredible to win in front of them. I dang sure want to win and get one of those cowboy hats.”
In Funny Car, Worsham’s win a year ago helped propel him to his first Funny Car world title. This year, Worsham currently sits in fifth with Capps in the points lead and Tommy Johnson Jr. just 24 points back in second after his victory at Maple Grove Raceway.
Dominating the new era of Pro Stock are points leader Jason Line and his teammate Greg Anderson. Line has eight wins, including the Countdown opener, and Anderson has seven victories.
Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader Andrew Hines is after his third straight world title and has five wins in 2016, but teammate Eddie Krawiec has closed the gap to 38 points.
The AAA Texas NHRA Nationals will also feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 4:15 and 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 12:45 and 3:45 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 16.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-668-6775. Tickets also are available online at www.texasmotorplex.com. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. For more info, visit www.NHRA.com.
AAA TEXAS NHRA FALLNATIONALS
WHAT: 31st annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, the 22nd of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the fourth of six races in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Drivers in four categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – earn points leading to 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships.
WHERE: Texas Motorplex, Ennis, Texas. The track is located at 7500 W. Highway 287.
COURSE: Championship drag strip; Track elevation is 500 feet above sea level; Track direction is southwest to northeast.
WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 13-16
THURSDAY, Oct. 13 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying
FRIDAY, Oct. 14 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 4:15 and 7:15 p.m.
SATURDAY, Oct. 15 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 12:45 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.
SUNDAY, Oct. 16 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
Friday Oct. 14, FS1 will televise one hour of live qualifying coverage at 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Saturday Oct. 15, FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at 8 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, Oct. 16, FS1 will televise three hours of live finals coverage starting at 2 p.m. (ET).
2015 EVENT WINNERS:
Richie Crampton, Top Fuel; Del Worsham, Funny Car; Erica Enders, Pro Stock; Jerry Savoie, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
John Force, FC, 7; Tony Schumacher, TF, 6; Warren Johnson, PS, 5; Cruz Pedregon, FC, 4; Greg Anderson, PS, 4.
Top Fuel – 3.705 sec. by Richie Crampton, Oct. ’15; 329.18 mph by Dave Connolly, Oct. ’15
Funny Car – 3.909 sec. and 326.32 mph by Jack Beckman, Oct. ’15
Pro Stock – 6.457 sec. and 214.59 mph by Greg Anderson, Oct. ’15
Pro Stock Motorcycle – 6.744 sec. and 198.99 mph by Jerry Savoie, Oct. ’15
Top Fuel – 3.671 sec. by Steve Torrence, July ’16, Sonoma, Calif.; 332.75 mph by Spencer Massey, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.
Funny Car – 3.822 by Matt Hagan, Aug. ’16, Brainerd, Minn.; 335.57 mph by Hagan, May ’16, Topeka, Kan.
Pro Stock – 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.; 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ‘14, Englishtown N.J.
PS Motorcycle – 6.728 sec. by Andrew Hines, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 199.88 mph by Hector Arana Jr., March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.
TICKETS: For tickets call (800) 668-6775. Tickets are also available at www.texasmotorplex.com.
GLENDORA, CA — Points standings (top 10) following the 32nd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, the 21st of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series –
1. Antron Brown, 2,377; 2. Doug Kalitta, 2,300; 3. Brittany Force, 2,259; 4. Shawn Langdon, 2,258; 5. Tony Schumacher, 2,236; 6. Steve Torrence, 2,214; 7. Leah Pritchett, 2,188; 8. J.R. Todd, 2,183; 9. Richie Crampton, 2,159; 10. Clay Millican, 2,136.
1. Ron Capps, 2,368; 2. Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,344; 3. Jack Beckman, 2,275; 4. Matt Hagan, 2,258; 5. Del Worsham, 2,246; 6. John Force, 2,230; 7. Tim Wilkerson, 2,196; 8. Robert Hight, 2,193; 9. Courtney Force, 2,182; 10. Alexis DeJoria, 2,099.
1. Jason Line, 2,389; 2. Greg Anderson, 2,344; 3. Vincent Nobile, 2,306; 4. Bo Butner, 2,256; 5. Shane Gray, 2,242; 6. Chris McGaha, 2,189; 7. Allen Johnson, 2,160; 8. Drew Skillman, 2,157; 9. Jeg Coughlin, 2,115; 10. Erica Enders, 2,104.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
1. Andrew Hines, 2,341; 2. Eddie Krawiec, 2,303; 3. Angelle Sampey, 2,289; 4. Chip Ellis, 2,274; 5. Jerry Savoie, 2,271; 6. LE Tonglet, 2,215; 7. Cory Reed, 2,196; 8. Hector Arana, 2,159; 9. Matt Smith, 2,150; 10. Hector Arana Jr, 2,149.
About National Hot Rod Association
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 23 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Source: National Hot Rod Association