Steve Torrence Makes Statement in Top Fuel

Jackson Wheeler
15 Min Read


Top Fuel’s Steve Torrence delivered the fifth-quickest run in NHRA history on Friday and the quickest run in four years, powering to the provisional No. 1 position at the 38th annual Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex.

Bob Tasca III (Funny Car), Deric Kramer (Pro Stock) and Gaige Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also the provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the 19th of 21 races during the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season, and the fourth of six races in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Torrence went 3.636-seconds at 336.62 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors/Toyota dragster at his home track, putting the Texan and four-time world champion in line for his third No. 1 qualifier of the season. It’s also a track E.T. record and career-best run for Torrence, who entered the weekend third in points. Setting the track record and making the best Top Fuel run since 2019 at a track where he grew up racing meant a great deal to Torrence, who hopes to turn his incredible start to the race – which includes the $15,000 “Friday Night Live” low qualifier bonus – into a great finish this weekend.

Points leader Doug Kalitta put up a 3.642 at 334.70 to sit in the second spot, while Torrence’s father, Billy, is third after going 3.660 at 334.57. Justin Ashley set the track speed record with a blast of 338.40, which is also the third-fastest run in Top Fuel history. In all, 11 cars went in the 3.60s during an epic nitro qualifying session.

“I have so much history here at this racetrack, I grew up racing here,” Torrence said. “There are a a lot of expectations when you come here. You want to go out and do well in front of the hometown fans. I take pride of being from Texas and these fans are unbelievable. Richard Hogan, Bobby Lagana, every one of those guys put so much blood, sweat and tears into what they’re doing. It makes you be proud of the team and what’s going on.

“The track is unbelievable here, the whole Meyer family and everyone behind the scenes has done a great job. This is an event, this is more than just a race, and I’m really proud of everything that’s gone on here. To go out, to go low E.T., to run a career-best speed and E.T., it’s special. We need to carry that momentum into raceday, we need to keep the car running well, but this is definitely a great place to start.”

bob tasca nhra

Funny Car points leader Bob Tasca III posted the fastest Funny Car run in five years to take the provisional top spot in Texas.

NHRA/National Dragster

Funny Car

In Funny Car, points leader Bob Tasca III blasted to the quickest run in five years in the category, delivering a magnificent pass of 3.822 at 335.55 in his 11,000-horsepower Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang, also breaking the track E.T. record. He made the quickest run in both qualifying sessions on Friday in Dallas to continue his Countdown to the Championship momentum, and inched closer to his seventh No. 1 qualifier of the season.

Tasca jumped into the points lead in the playoffs for the first time in his career at the most recent event in St. Louis and he kept up his torrid pace in Dallas, making the quickest run in the class since the opening race of the 2018 season, which also netted Tasca the $15,000 “Friday Night Live” low qualifier bonus.

“It was unbelievable. The car was dead smooth,” Tasca said. “When we got back to the pit I said, ‘Fellas, when you look at that run you’re going to say there’s more in it.’ The hardest part of that run was it hiked the front end up around 700 or 800 feet. It got a little bit to the inside and I had half a steering wheel turning it to the outside. It put the nose down and I was able to bring it back in. That was an exciting run.

“You’re playing hardball against the best of the best in the world with Robert, Hagan, Capps running .80s left and right. That’s what it’s going to take if you’re going to win a championship. You’re going to go toe-to-toe with them, not one or two races but every race in the Countdown. To this point, we’ve done that. But you’re going to have to run hard out here to win this race. We’ve just got a lot of momentum going into this weekend.”

nhra pro stock deric kramer

Deric Kramer’s run in Pro Stock was the quickest of the year in the class.

NHRA/Nartional Dragster

Pro Stock

Deric Kramer made the quickest run of the year in Pro Stock, delivering a stellar pass of 6.486 at 209.50 in his Get Biofuel Chevrolet Camaro. It puts the veteran on track for his first No. 1 spot of the season and the seventh in his career and handed Kramer the $7,500 “Friday Night Live” low qualifier bonus as well. Kramer enjoyed a strong run earlier this season, advancing to four straight final rounds and moving up to second in points. He’s dropped to seventh and hasn’t been to a final since May, but Kramer appears to be on track to turning that around after a strong run under the lights on Friday in Dallas.

“I just kept grabbing gears and it felt good the whole way,” Kramer said. “I knew we had more to pick up from our first run, and I thought other people would be able to pick up a little bit so I didn’t think it would hold, to be perfectly honest. But I’m super happy – everything turned out really well, and night runs are my favorite.

“If you’re not in the hunt this race, you don’t have a chance the rest of the year. This is to still stay in it, and I think we all knew that coming into this week. We knew we wanted to make some headway up this weekend. We want to try to finish the season strong and have a great year.”

Points leader, defending world champion and defending event winner Erica Enders went to second with a 6.498 at 211.79. She’s after her fourth straight No. 1 spot in the playoffs. Aaron Stanfield is currently third after going 6.498 at 210.62.

gaige herrera nhra

Gaige Herrera continued his dominant season with a record-setting run in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

NHRA/National Dragster

Pro Stock Motorcycle

Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader Gaige Herrera closed in on another historic mark in his spectacular 2023 season, setting the track E.T. record at Texas Motorplex with a standout run of 6.689 at 203.41 on his Mission Foods/Vance & Hines Suzuki. It gave him the $5,000 “Friday Night Live” low qualifier bonus and puts him on track for his 12th No. 1 qualifier in 13 races. Should that hold up on Saturday, Herrera would set the single-season record for No. 1 qualifiers in the category, breaking his current tie with Matt Hines. The points leader made the quickest runs in both sessions on Friday as he also looks for his third straight victory in the Countdown to the Championship.

“Overall, the day went really good for us,” Herrera said. “To be up there on the saddle, have a little fun, and get a little extra cash, it’s very cool to get those bragging rights. We’ve kind of been getting bragging rights all season, but to get the cash on top of that is good for the whole team.

“It would mean a lot to pass up Matt Hines who had that record before. If I’m able to do that, it’s going to mean a lot to me and to everyone at the shop. We’re happy to keep it under the same roof. That alone is very cool, but I have to give up all the credit to Andrew (Hines, crew chief) and all the guys at the shop at Vance & Hines. They work their butt off day and night, and it shows on the racetrack.”

Herrera’s teammate, Eddie Krawiec, took the second spot with a 6.727 at 202.35 as he looks for his 50th career win this weekend. Hector Arana Jr. is third thanks to a 6.756 at 201.20.

Texas NHRA FallNationals

Friday Qualifying

Friday’s results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 38th annual Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex, 19th of 21 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.

Top Fuel — 1. Steve Torrence, 3.636 seconds, 336.62 mph; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.642, 334.70; 3. Billy Torrence, 3.660, 334.57; 4. Justin Ashley, 3.670, 338.40; 5. Brittany Force, 3.675, 333.85; 6. Mike Salinas, 3.675, 328.30; 7. Antron Brown, 3.679, 335.62; 8. Shawn Langdon, 3.684, 332.57; 9. Clay Millican, 3.687, 334.52; 10. Tony Schumacher, 3.690, 333.46; 11. Leah Pruett, 3.694, 331.66; 12. Spencer Massey, 3.723, 327.49; 13. Austin Prock, 3.738, 327.11; 14. Josh Hart, 3.746, 326.44; 15. Buddy Hull, 3.780, 321.11; 16. Jacob McNeal, 3.848, 273.16.

Not Qualified: 17. Doug Foley, 3.874, 251.57; 18. Krista Baldwin, 4.130, 209.88; 19. Mitch King, 4.170, 228.75.

Funny Car — 1. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.822, 335.55; 2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.848, 319.24; 3. Ron Capps, Toyota GR Supra, 3.851, 333.95; 4. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.871, 325.71; 5. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.879, 328.37; 6. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.881, 327.61; 7. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.884, 317.80; 8. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.912, 321.13; 9. Alexis DeJoria, GR Supra, 3.920, 314.51; 10. Chad Green, Mustang, 3.928, 328.80; 11. J.R. Todd, GR Supra, 3.930, 295.10; 12. Paul Lee, Charger, 3.986, 266.00; 13. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.012, 311.66; 14. Alex Laughlin,Charger, 4.039, 304.88; 15. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Camry, 4.171, 248.22; 16. Jack Wyatt, Charger, 4.345, 219.60.

    Not Qualified: 17. Dave Richards, 4.442, 207.58; 18. Dale Creasy Jr., broke.

    Pro Stock — 1. Deric Kramer, Chevy Camaro, 6.486, 209.50; 2. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.498, 211.79; 3. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.498, 210.62; 4. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.500, 211.00; 5. Cristian Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 6.500, 210.20; 6. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.503, 210.59; 7. Jerry Tucker, Camaro, 6.505, 211.26; 8. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.507, 210.88; 9. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.507, 210.84; 10. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.515, 210.10; 11. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Mustang, 6.519, 210.11; 12. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.520, 210.35; 13. Camrie Caruso, Camaro, 6.520, 210.27; 14. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.537, 211.19; 15. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.549, 210.68; 16. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.568, 210.61.

    Not Qualified: 17. Eric Latino, 6.584, 210.02; 18. Fernando Cuadra, 6.593, 209.79; 19. Steve Graham, 6.622, 208.71; 20. Joey Grose, 6.687, 205.80; 21. Alan Prusiensky, 6.719, 206.10; 22. Kenny Delco, 7.401, 161.99.

    Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.689, 203.41; 2. Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.727, 202.35; 3. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.756, 201.20; 4. John Hall, EBR, 6.788, 198.80; 5. Chris Bostick, EBR, 6.818, 194.86; 6. Jianna Evaristo, Suzuki, 6.857, 196.82; 7. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.870, 192.34; 8. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.872, 197.27; 9. Chase Van Sant, Suzuki, 6.912, 195.08; 10. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.914, 195.33; 11. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 6.938, 195.47; 12. Cory Reed, Suzuki, 6.962, 193.75; 13. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.963, 192.50; 14. Joey Gladstone, Buell, 7.143, 149.34; 15. Malcolm Phillips Jr., Suzuki, 7.179, 190.94; 16. Blaine Hale, Suzuki, 7.196, 171.80.

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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