Even Steve Torrence can’t win ‘em all. But he was in the hunt.
Torrence had no wheel to control and no chute to open – a bit out of his element – but the Kilgore native looked like he belonged with everyone else on the red carpet Wednesday in Los Angeles for the ESPY Awards, broadcast live on ABC.
The Kilgore College alumnus and NHRA driver was up for the best driver award, against Formula 1’s Lewis Hamilton, Indy car racing’s Scott Dixon, and NASCAR’s Kyle Busch. Busch won the award, but Torrence might have just won the experience.
“It was an incredible evening at the #ESPYS,” Torrence wrote, on his Twitter account. “What a huge honor to get to represent the @nhra community. A huge thank-you to everyone who voted for us. The love and support has been unbelievable.
“…Unfortunately, we didn’t take home the award for best driver, but we sure as heck let them know about @NHRA drag racing! I can’t say thank you enough for all of the support.”
The event was held at the Microsoft Theater. Torrence was accompanied by his parents, Billy and Kay Torrence, and others on the trip.
Torrence was in the mix for the award after another phenomenal 2018. After falling just short the year before. Torrence took it to the next level last year, garnering 11 wins – including winning 58 total rounds along the way – and claimed his first NHRA Top Fuel championship.
At one point Wednesday night prior to the event, Torrence – dressed in a tuxedo and without his trademark cowboy hat – was on the ESPYs/CapitalOne photo set, and reached up and removed his sunglasses. “They said do something natural,” Torrence said, again on Twitter, explaining the removing of the glasses. “That was all I had.”
Torrence is off to a raring start this season, too. He’s won seven of 13 NHRA events so far this year, including the most recent (the seventh annual New England Nationals last weekend in New Hampshire). He’s leading the Top Fuel standings by almost 300 points over nearest challenger Doug Kalitta.
Torrence and his Capco Contractors racing team are off this week, and will be back in action next weekend in Denver at the 40th annual Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals.