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Father-Son Billy & Steve Torrence, Battle for Point Lead

His dad won round one in the resumption of the world’s fastest family feud, but four-time series champion Steve Torrence can even the score this week when he sends his CAPCO Contractors Top Fuel Toyota to the line in the 64th annual Lucas Oil Winternationals at In-N-Out Pomona Dragstrip.

The younger Torrence, over the last seven years the most dominant driver on the world’s premier drag racing tour, will start the second race in the newly branded Mission Foods Series in second place, 39 points behind Shawn Langdon; five points ahead of dad Billy, to whom he lost a semifinal showdown two weeks ago in the season-opening Amalie NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville, Fla. 

He’ll have a quick chance to earn at least a measure of payback in the long-standing family rivalry when he sends his 11,000 horsepower dragster to work in Saturday’s first Mission-sponsored #2Fast2Tasty Challenge, which reprises the semifinal races from the most recent event in the series. 

That means that he and his dad will line up against one another in one race while Gatornationals winner Langdon will oppose Antron Brown in the other. The winners then battle for Mission Foods cash as the last two down the track in the final qualifying session. 

While it will be the first 2Fast/2Tasty appearance for Billy and his veteran crew chiefs, Joe Barlam and Jason McCulloch, the younger Torrence was a three-time winner of the bonus race last year.

“We put that team together over the winter,” Steve said of his dad’s operation, “and it takes time to get everyone on the same page and everything working like it should. But those guys were in the final round in their first race. That’s pretty badass. And they beat us, so we owe ‘em one.”

One of 16 pro drivers to have won as many as 50 times on the pro tour (his next win will be No. 55), Steve is trying to extend to 10 the number of consecutive seasons in which he has won at least one event.

That streak began in 2015 and included a Winternationals victory one year later, his only such success in what once was the NHRA’s traditional season-opener.  In his only previous appearance in the Winternationals (in 2019), Billy qualified second but lost to reigning series champion Doug Kalitta in round two.  

Qualifying for the Winternationals will begin with a single session at 7 p.m., Texas time, Friday.  Saturday’s qualifying will include the first edition of the 2024 Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge featuring an all-CAPCO rematch of the Gatornationals semifinals at 2:20 p.m., Texas time. Saturday’s second nitro qualifying round is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m., Texas time, with one of the two CAPCO entries racing for the 2Fast/2Tasty winner’s purse at 4:55 p.m. Sunday eliminations in the Lucas Winternationals begin at 1 p.m., Texas time.   

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This story was originally published on March 21, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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