Steve Torrence bests Antron Brown to win NHRA Summernationals
Superman has his kryptonite; Steve Torrence has his.
On Sunday, during final eliminations for the NHRA Summernationals in Englishtown, New Jersey, Torrence found a way to beat his.
Other professional champions during the 10th stop on the 24-race tour included Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
Torrence, a decorated Top Fuel veteran, had only beaten the defending champion Antron Brown once in his career, and up until the final round, they had raced 22 times.
“He’s just as happy for me as I am for him," Torrence said, after capturing his 11th career Top Fuel victory at Brown's expense. "That’s the guy I least want to race, knowing my success ratio against him. That’s a super-super-lopsided victory record he has against me, but it’s not in my head anymore. I’ve got the car that can win. He’s got the car that can win. Now it’s just up to us to do our jobs and go.
"He’s one of my best friends I have. We’re racing Top Fuel. I’m living my dream. I’m racing one my best friends in the world. You’re not going to have a bad day."
Torrence's road to the winner's circle included wins over Smax Smith, Clay Millican and Doug Kalitta. The win was his third of the season.
Beckman scored his first victory since September 2016 when he drove his Infinite Hero-themed Dodge Charger past teammate and defending series champion Ron Capps in the final round.
“There have been quite a few variables for our team already this season, and we needed to get this win today so we knew that we could do this more often,” Beckman said. “Not only is this our team’s first win together, but a win at the Summernationals in Funny Car is about as cool as it gets.”
The victory marked the 25th for Beckman, while Capps continued his banner season with his sixth final-round appearance.
Anderson experienced quite the weekend, first in qualifying on Friday, then flying back to Mooresville, North Carolina, to witness son Cody's graduation on Saturday, and then racing final eliminations on Sunday.
Anderson showed no jet lag, as he scored his eighth Englishtown title, and third in a row, beating local favorite Vincent Nobile in the final round.
“It certainly was a tough weekend, but everything worked out for us, but this Wally is going to my son for getting through high school,” Anderson said. “This track has been magical for me; I have a lot of great memories here. To win eight times here makes it a pretty special place.”
Defending series champion Savoie added another trophy to the mantle, beating Hector Arana Jr. in the final round.
“I’ve had some struggles earlier in the season, but each win is special because you never know which one will be your last,” Savoie said. “This track has been good to me in the past, and we were able to take this one home today, and I’m extremely thankful for that.”
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series moves south into the mountains of eastern Tennessee, for the NHRA Thunder Valley Dragway in Bristol, Tenn.
Bobby Bennett is the Publisher/Editor of CompetitionPlus.com, a leading independent online drag racing magazine, since 1999. For the latest in dragster news worldwide, visit www.competitionplus.com or follow on Twitter @competitionplus