After days of speculation following a Rumor Mill item published on CompetitionPlus.com on February 3, 2020, defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence confirmed he would not be in attendance at the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Ca.
“Due to untimely circumstances beyond our control, It’s in the best interest of Torrence racing to not participate in this weekend’s season opener in Pomona, California,” Torrence said in a statement on his Twitter account. “We cannot thank our fans enough for their continued support and understanding at this time.”
Torrence clinched his second NHRA Top Fuel championship under a cloud of controversy, following a first-round post-run scuffle where he assaulted opponent Cameron Ferre after a dispute ensued following a staging incident.
Torrence was subsequently fined and ordered to undergo anger management classes. At this time, NHRA has not revealed whether either requirement has been met. Per NHRA rules, Torrence can still race while his case is on appeal.
NHRA issued a statement shortly after the Torrence revelation.
“It’s unfortunate that the Capco teams will not be attending the 2020 Winternationals,” Jessica Hatcher, NHRA Spokesperson said. “All NHRA teams may elect whether or not to compete in any given event and we are excited to see everyone who is joining us to kick off the season at the 60th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals. We are focused on creating a great experience for everyone in Pomona this week.”
As a result of Torrence’s withdrawal, Top Fuel driver Scott Palmer and Funny Car pilot Jeff Diehl, who utilize Torrence Racing technical support, also withdrew from the event.
At this time, there is no word when Torrence will return to competition.
Due to untimely circumstances beyond our control, It’s in the best interest of Torrence racing to not participate in this weekend’s season opener in Pomona, California. We cannot thank our fans enough for their continued support and understanding at this time.
— Steve Torrence (@SteveTorrence) February 5, 2020