Top Fuel championship bridesmaid Steve Torrence issued harsh words regarding the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship format on Sunday after losing his title bid to Brittany Force at the Auto Club Finals in Pomona — justifiably so after winning eight races during what was a career-year for the Kilgore, Texas native that would have given him the title with air to spare under a traditional cumulative points format.
Congrats to Brittany, great job, she won the championship….you know, it is what it is, but it’s still bullshit. – Steve Torrence
“It is what it is. This whole NHRA deal with the welfare points system is just a crock of crap. You come out here and race for 24 races and you only get to count six. Brittany got hot in the last few races and did good, and you can’t take that away from them, but those guys wouldn’t even be in contention if it wasn’t for this bullshit points system they’ve got. So it is what it is and we’ve got to play by their rules.”
Torrence’s championship hopes were dashed in the second round of eliminations when he trailed good friend and former champion Antron Brown across the stripe, leaving him to stand and watch as Force claimed the title just one pair behind him.
“Congrats to Brittany, great job, she won the championship…you know, it is what it is, but it’s still bullshit.”
“We race out here, that’s what we do, we race hard,” said Brown. “Steve-O and that Capco team worked hard this year, they won more races than anybody and they deserve the championship. My hats off to them, they worked real hard and nobody else would be even close.”
Torrence closed out the regular season with a 68-point lead over Brown — just three rounds and a few qualifying bonus points of racing. Force, meanwhile, was mired back in sixth, 562 points back of Torrence — mathematically still in contention but virtually insurmountable in reality. But in the six races of the Countdown, Force outscored Torrence by 141 points, doing so when it mattered under the series’ decade-old championship-deciding playoff structure.
Photo courtesy NHRA/National Dragster
“It’s been a really fun year for us, kind of an up and down thing. We made a lot of good runs here at the end, and that’s what it takes to win these things these days,” said championship crew chief Alan Johnson. “The Torrence team, we fought them all year long, they’re like teammates of ours, and it was a great race to the finish here. They just had some unfortunate things that happened to them, we took advantage and won the championship.”
In a pre-Countdown format, Torrence would have won the title by 149 points over Brown, 421 over Force, and 547 over Doug Kalitta.