2022 Steve Torrence Action
Steve Torrence (NHRA photo)

Winless Torrence Heads To Favorite Norwalk

NORWALK, Ohio — The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to one of drag racing’s premier facilities, Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park, June 23-26 for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.

It is the 10th of 22 races during the season, and will feature four rounds of qualifying including nitro under the lights and fireworks on Friday, a full slate of racing on Saturday and eliminations on Sunday.

Boasting some of the fan amenities on the NHRA tour, Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park also features a full slate of sportsman and exhibition classes, all at one of the finest surfaces in drag racing.

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are defending event champions.

Torrence became Norwalk’s all-time Top Fuel victory leader a year ago, claiming his third Wally at the facility when he beat rival Brittany Force in a stellar final round. Torrence has won three of the past four races in Norwalk, but the Texan is still seeking his first victory of 2022 as he chases a fifth straight Top Fuel world title. Force has been the dominant driver in the class thus far, winning three times, but Mike Salinas also has three victories and is one of many top competitors in the class. Other Top Fuel drivers to watch include 2015 winner Doug Kalitta, Leah Pruett, 2014 event winner Antron Brown, Tony Schumacher, who won the inaugural race in 2007, Pomona winner Justin Ashley, Austin Prock, Josh Hart, and fan-favorite Clay Millican.

Pedregon’s Funny Car triumph a year ago was significant for the standout veteran, as he claimed his first victory in more than three years when he got past Bob Tasca III in the final round. Pedregon used that momentum to claim a top-five finish in Funny Car last year and is currently fifth in points. Everyone is chasing Matt Hagan, who has impressed at nearly every stop on the tour this season. He’s been to six finals in eight races, winning three times and holding the points lead over Robert Hight, who also has three wins, defending world champ Ron Capps, 16-time world champ John Force, J.R. Todd, and Tim Wilkerson.

 In Pro Stock, Enders earned her second career victory in Norwalk in 2021, getting past Greg Anderson in the final round. Anderson got the final laugh at season’s end, claiming his fifth world title and is now just one Wally away from 100 career victories. Enders, though, is currently enjoying one of the greatest stretches in her career, winning three straight races and taking a commanding point lead in the process. She’s won four of the six Pro Stock races in 2022 and will try to get another against the likes of Aaron Stanfield, Dallas Glenn, Kyle Koretsky, rookie Camrie Caruso and Mason McGaha.

 Smith won a thrilling duel with Steve Johnson in the Pro Stock Motorcycle final round a year ago, adding another memorable chapter to their rivalry. They battled for the title last year, with Smith ultimately claiming his fifth world title, while they’ve traded wins at the last two races in this season. Johnson is the current points leader and has two victories this season, but Smith is charging hard after his Virginia triumph. Others to watch in the two-wheeled category include Gainesville winner and record-holder Karen Stoffer, Eddie Krawiec, Angie Smith, Joey Gladstone, and Angelle Sampey.

 The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which features some of the sport’s top drivers, as well as the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon and Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown.

The Midwest Nostalgia Pro Stock Association will be making exhibition runs throughout the weekend as well. The race also features the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League shootout, with eight young drivers competing for the win. The final round will take place on Sunday and will be featured during the FOX broadcast.