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Steve Torrence Ousted in Round Two; Dad Billy in the Semis at Winternationals 

Mark Rebilas photos

Steve Torrence soundly defeated Motorsports legend Tony Stewart in the first round of Sunday’s 64th annual Lucas Oil Winternationals at In-N-Out Pomona Dragstrip but, after an opening round 3.690 at a finish line speed of 336.65 miles per hour, his CAPCO Contractors Top Fuel Toyota lost traction in round two, allowing Justin Ashley to advance.  

Ashley was to have raced Tony Schumacher in the Top Fuel final, but the return of rain that wiped out most of the Saturday qualifying program made that an impossibility.  

Ultimately, NHRA officials announced that the Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock finals would be run in two weeks in conjunction with the 39th annual Arizona Nationals at Phoenix.

“It was a tough weekend all around with the weather and the track conditions,” Torrence said. “Gotta thank all the fans for hanging in there with us. I hate that they’re not going to get to see the finals, though.”

Billy Torrence, who was runner-up in the season-opening Gatornationals at the wheel of the second CAPCO Toyota, lost to Schumacher in Sunday’s semifinals. 

“I thought we had it going (after the first-round win), but it was tricky out there. We probably pushed it a little too hard against Justin. We’ll just gas ‘em up and go try to do better in Phoenix.”

When racing begins at Firebird Motorsports Park, both CAPCO drivers will be well-positioned. After the Winternationals final is run, Billy Torrence will be either second or third; Steve will be either fourth or fifth.  

This story was originally published on March 25, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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