KILGORE, Texas – Officials from Torrence Racing have addressed the reason behind the team’s absence from the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season-opening Lucas Oil Winternationals at Pomona, Calif., last weekend.
According to Kay Torrence, the owner of Torrence Racing, the team’s absence from the race was the result of the NHRA’s NHRA’s lack of urgency in acting upon the team’s appeal of sanctions related to an incident between two-time and reigning NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence and Cameron Ferre that took place during the season finale last year in Pomona, Calif.
“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,” Kay Torrence said in a press release Monday evening. “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,” she said. “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.”
Steve Torrence was assessed a $25,000 fine and ordered to attend anger management classes by the NHRA following the incident. However, Torrence Racing disputed the amount of the fine and the stipulation that Steve Torrence must attend anger management classes.
The incident took place during the first round of eliminations during the Auto Club NHRA Finals last November. Torrence was upset because Ferre deep staged against Torrence during their first round of eliminations.
The resulting confrontation saw Torrence push Ferre’s face away from him with his hand before he walked away. Torrence would go on to clinch his second-straight Top Fuel title that day.
In the team statement, Torrence Racing stated the team took issue with the NHRA’s use of an edited video clip that showed Torrence’s “reaction to whatever had been the provocation but not the provocation itself.”
The team also took issue with the NHRA issuing the penalties and then using video clips of the incident to “attract new fans and viewers,” according to the team statement.
The team did not dispute that a penalty should have been issued and noted that Torrence apologized for his behavior to Ferre during his Mello Yello Awards Banquet speech.
Torrence, a 36-time Top Fuel race winner, said in the team statement that he’s ready to get back to the race track.
“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,” said Torrence.
The Torrence Racing team plans to be in action during the upcoming NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park on Feb. 21-23.