Texan Completes Incredible Sweep with Victory at Auto Club Finals at Pomona

World ChampionNovember 11, 2018 -- Perfection!  A sizzling Steve Torrence, who two weeks ago celebrated a Mello Yello Top Fuel championship, completed an unlikely sweep of the NHRA playoffs Sunday by beating Tony Schumacher in the final round of the 54th annual Auto Club Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

It was the sixth consecutive victory for the talented Texan who will return here for next February’s season-opener having won 24 consecutive rounds of racing.

“I don’t know how we did it,” marveled the 35-year-old cancer survivor after his .029 reaction time paved the way to a narrow victory over Schumacher, the eight-time world champion who on Veterans Day was making his final appearance in a car sponsored by the U.S. Army.

Richard Hogan“But I have to credit the Good Lord, (crew chief) Richard Hogan and (assistant crew chief) Bobby Lagana Jr. and the best crew on the planet.  Richard Hogan, he’s a bad, bad man.  That guy probably wasn’t the most confident, but he’s very, very talented and I’ve believed him from the time we first hired him in 2011.

“We’ve had a very unique friendship and working relationship and this is what happens when you hire a man to do his job and stick with him and support him.  It’s been a recipe for success.  The confidence that I have seen build in Richard this year.  Every round of every race.  It’s been neat to watch.”

The win was Torrence’s 11th this season and his 19th over the last two years and it included a second round victory over his dad, Billy.

Father and Son“I’m very competitive; I’m very driven,” said the Kilgore College graduate, “and I get that from my dad, so when we race, we race.  It’s for bragging rights.  I live across the street and work with that guy every day and the guys at Capco, where we both work, they’re not going to cut me any slack if I get beat by a 60 year old man.”

Torrence admitted that he dodged a bullet in the first round Sunday against rookie Cameron Ferre in a scenario reminiscent of the first round at the Carolina Nationals at Charlotte midway through the Countdown.

“We’ve won some rounds we probably shouldn’t have won,” he said, “but we’ve been in the right place at the right time.  It goes back to Charlotte (and) the first round against The Greek (Chris Karamesines).  Our car goes out and rattles the tires and I pedal it and we get the win and then today, it’s the exact same scenario.  After we got that round win, it was a quick, fast way to get the jitters out and just go back to racing.  We’re truly blessed.

“That’s why we came here,” Torrence said of the win, “but it’s a little disturbing to look over and see the winningest driver in Top Fuel history in the other lane.  But to be the best, you have to beat the best.  It’s truly been unbelievable. 

To do what we’ve done, we’re the first ones to ever do it,” he said.  “We’re going to be in the history books.  We wanted to come here and do this, we wanted to set that precedent and we have.  It’s all because of the hard work those guys have put in.  Nobody can beat us, they can only tie us now.  That’s a pretty cool stat to put behind your name.”


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