For Immediate Release
Contact: Dave Densmore, denswood@aol.com / 214-244-0008, mobile



February 18, 2014 -- Re-energized by the return of crew chief Richard Hogan and the semifinal finish he engineered in the season-opening Winternationals, Steve Torrence figures to race prominently into the title mix this week when the NHRA Mello Yello tour moves to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park for the 30th running of the CARQUEST Arizona Nationals.
Despite another resurfacing of the of racetrack (the third since 2003),Torrence believes that Hogan’s years of experience should work to his benefit.

“We got Richard Hogan back as crew chief,” said the 30-year-old Texan, “(and) we’re putting the combination back to where we had it in 2012.  The car seems to be responding to that. Richard is a great equalizer.  He’s worked with the sport’s legends and he’s sent cars down more racetracks than anybody out there.  We’re excited about the season and racing for a Mello Yello championship.”

Torrence, who won a Top Alcohol Dragster title in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series (2005), has won four races since moving up in classification on a full-time basis in 2008. Nevertheless, the Kilgore resident acknowledged that his biggest win was overcoming Hodgkin’s lymphoma after being diagnosed with the disease in 2000.

Everything else, he admits, has been a bonus.

As strong as was his performance in the opener, Torrence knows it easily could have been much better.  The Texan lost his semifinal match to eventual winner Khalid alBalooshi by an almost indiscernible .001 of a second.  He also raced to a personal best speed by pushing the Capco Contractors dragster to 329.02 miles per hour.

All of that sends the four-time tour winner into Arizona with a considerable amount of momentum and confidence.

Hogan, who was crew chief in 2012 when Torrence put together his best pro season, brings a wealth of knowledge along with a familiarity with the overall operation.

The veteran grew up in St. Petersburg, Fla., and, not surprisingly, was greatly influenced by another Floridian, drag racing legend “Big Daddy” Don Garlits.

“I’ve known Don Garlits since I was a kid and I ended up going to work for him as a crew member in the 1980s,” Hogan recalled.   “We ran very well in those early years (and) I learned a lot from him.  I didn’t go to races all the time but I went to a big percentage of them.

“Over the years, I met a lot of real good drivers and tuners and I just picked up (the knowledge) as I went,” Hogan said.  “Those included Dale Armstrong, Alan Johnson, John Mitchell, Jim Brissett, Larry Frazier, Bob Noice, Terry Major, Wes Cerny and Walt Austin. 

“In the old days, we said, ‘well, we’ll just put some more nitro in it and make it run.’  Now, you really have to pay more attention to be competitive.”

Apparently, Torrence and Hogan both have been paying attention and now the have the attention of everyone else.

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