Steve Torrence Completes NHRA Super Sweep at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals

Photos Courtesy of NHRA Media

As if championship leader Steve Torrence could not prove his powerful dominance anymore, the king of Top Fuel was back at it at this weekend’s Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. After riding on a two-race winless streak, Torrence and his entire Capco Contractors team righted the ship by winning this driver’s seventh title of the season and the 47th of his professional career on Sunday at Brainerd International Raceway. In the final round, the Top Fuel points leader was paired with Clay Millican and, like many other times this season, ran his record to a perfect 4-0 against the Parts Plus dragster with a narrow 3.712 to 3.729 victory in one of the best final rounds of the current 2021 season. Along with this win putting Torrence and his Torrence Racing team back on the road to victory, it also gave the current most dominating NHRA driver the chance to accomplish a new feat – to earn a victory at every track on the Camping World NHRA tour. Although Torrence hasn’t always been the humblest driver on the circuit, this left the accomplished champion feeling more blessed than ever. “To have this opportunity is truly special and to be able to say that I have won every race on the circuit is nothing short of the glory of God.”

Top Fuel

Before earning another huge feat in Top Fuel drag racing, Torrence starting off the weekend at Brainerd International Raceway as the No. 2 qualifier behind Topeka winner Brittany Force. Hoping to use this start to make a semifinal bye run, due to the short (11-car) field in Minnesota, Torrence needed to beat Terry Totten and 2020 Rookie of the Year Justin Ashley to punch his ticket to the final and he did that with relative ease. After a 3.697 in round one, Torrence used a 3.737-secong pass to take out Ashley, who left first but couldn’t maintain the lead. A single run in the semifinals was enough for Torrence to gain a spot in his 70th Top Fuel final.

After lining up against Clay Millican in Sunday’s final round, Torrence admitted that he “did everything he could possibly do to screw up the final round.” Despite this, this championship driver ran a perfect 4-0 against Millican with a narrow 3.712-second pass to earn his seventh title of the season and the 47th of his professional career on Sunday in Brainerd.

“That was a heck of a race against Clay and those guys,” said Torrence. “I could not be more proud of these Capco boys, they continue to just save me when I need it and I help them when they need it. Now we are at the front, and we are planning to stay there.”

Funny Car

Although Steve Torrence was the talk of the weekend, Funny Car driver Matt Hagan also impressed the fans at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd after earning his second win of the season and the 38th of his career when he defeated two-time champion, Cruz Pedregon, in the Funny Car final. Before moving onto Sunday’s final, Hagan began the weekend as the No. 4 seed after qualifying. Much to the delight of the Brainerd fans, eliminations produced many great side-by-side runs, allowing crew chiefs to tune on the aggressive side. Hagan’s team took this and produced consistent runs of 3.91, 3.92, and 3.92 in their first three wins against Dale Creasy Jr., Paul Lee, and low qualifier Bob Tasca III. As he continued to use his consistent 3.92-second passes to race to Sunday’s final, Hagan would also use his final 3.923-second pass at 327.98 MPH in his Mopar Dodge Charger to overpower Pedregon’s 3.935-second event at 324.83 MPH to help seal the deal to earn his second win of the season and the 38th of his career.

“This win is so exciting,” said Hagan. “I just wanted to come to Brainerd and do well here and I really pride myself on leaving the starting line really well. I think most of our competitors understand that you are going to have to race well, and right now we are doing that with this Mopar car.”


Pro Modified

While the Pro Stock Series took a break this weekend, the champions of the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series were also very impressive at Brainerd International Raceway. The race, which was presented by Stinar, was the sixth of 11 events during the 2021 E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service season, and Gonzalez strengthened his points lead and championship hopes by picking up his fourth win this year.

Starting out as the No. 1 qualifier, Gonzalez reached the final round with victories against Doug Winters and Stevie Jackson before moving on to Sunday’s final against Brandon Snider. With the class now in the second half of its 2021 season, Gonzalez inched closer to his first career NHRA Pro Mod world title with a final run of 5.790-seconds at 246.03 MPH in his ProCharger.

The 2021 Camping World NHRA season will continue at the Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis (Sept 1-5, 2021).  Stay tuned to for the latest news from the drag strip!

About Ellen Richardson 491 Articles
Ellen Richardson is the author of Behind The Wheel for This automotive sports junkie has a passion for telling an athlete's story while also covering various racing activities. Find out more about her at or follow Ellen on Twitter at @ellennrich or Instagram at elnrich33.

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