By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
One day after the 2020 NHRA season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Pomona, California, Torrence Racing has put out their side of things. Steve & Billy Torrence elected not to compete at the Winternationals after their dispute with the NHRA.
Kay Torrence said that the only reason why the team missed the season-opener was because of the NHRA’s “lack of urgency” in regards to the team’s appeal of the sanctions levied against Steve Torrence in November. According to the statement, the Torrence Racing appealed their decision on November 29th.
We were informed on Thursday that Torrence Racing attempted several times to get in touch with Vice President of Racing Operations Josh Peterson several times to resolve this matter. However, Peterson took a long time to resolve the matter.
“Us not being at Pomona had nothing to do with the new Countdown rules or Steve’s health or anything else that’s been said on the Internet,” Momma Kay said. “It was about trying to settle the appeal we filed with the NHRA on November the 29th. We didn’t want any unresolved issues going into the new season, but we had trouble getting them to respond to our letter of appeal.
“By the time everything was settled, it was too late to get our equipment and crew members to Pomona in time to race. I just want to say to all the fans, who have supported us, ‘We appreciate you and we look forward to seeing you all in Phoenix (at the Feb. 21-23 NHRA Arizona Nationals.)’ We also want to give a big shout out and thank you to our sponsors and all the pipeliners across the country, who support us.”
Torrence was fined for an incident that happened at the end of the season at the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in November. The Kilgore, Texas native shoved Cameron Ferré at the conclusion of their first-round meeting, which was shown on NHRA.TV & Fox Sports TV.
The team also disputed that Torrence needed to attend anger management classes. Torrence Racing also disputed the amount for the fine, which was $25,000.
Torrence — along with his crew members — were frustrated by Ferré deep staging during the pairing. While the deep staging is legal to do in drag racing, Torrence won the round — and it helped him to win his second straight Top Fuel Championship.
Torrence Racing said that the NHRA created the hostile work environment by “using an edited clip that showed Torrence’s reaction to whatever had been the provocation, but not the provocation itself.” The team also was not happy with the NHRA’s decision to penalize him for “what it deemed conduct detrimental to the sport and then using video clips of that very same behavior, ostensibly to attract new fans and viewers.”
The statement on Monday said that the “penalty should have been imposed never was in dispute.” Following Torrence’s second round win, he apologized to Ferré in his top end interview with Amanda Busick.
Torrence said that he overreacted, because it was a “heat of the battle” situation. He also apologized to Ferré at the Mello Yello Awards Banquet on the Monday after the incident.
Both drivers have said that they wish to put the incident behind them. However, Torrence Racing said that the NHRA’s use of the clip is making it “exceedingly difficult.”
“I just want to get back with (Richard) Hogan, Bobby (Lagana Jr.), and the Capco Boys, get back in my race car and get back in the hunt,” Torrence said.
Torrence Racing will attempt to win the NHRA Arizona Nationals for the third straight year. The younger Torrence won in 2018, while the father Torrence won in 2019.
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