Steve Torrence was the last winner of the TRAXXAS Shootout (2017) and the first winner of the Pep Boys Call Out (2022). As a result, the four-time NHRA world champion is keenly aware of the historic significance of next month’s inaugural SCAG Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout presented by Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage at Bradenton Motorsports Park.
“Everybody wants to win the first or the last because those are the momentous occasions that you don’t get many opportunities in a career to do,” he said, “and then there’s also a lot of money at stake ($250,000 for the winners in Top Fuel and Funny Car; $125,000 in Pro Stock), so it’s motivating to go out there and have a chance to win that much in one weekend.
“It’s the biggest payout in professional drag racing history, but just to be able to leave there with the pride of saying you won that is exciting because, like I said, there’s only one opportunity to be the first.”
For the 40-year-old Texan, it’s about bragging rights and about showcasing the sport he loves a little differently.
“I think that the chip draw format (which will determine who races whom) is going to change the game in a big way,” he said. “There’s a possibility that the two quickest cars of the weekend will have to race each other (in the first round). I think it’s definitely going to change the way that we race.
“As a driver, you’re going to have to be ready for whatever,” said the 54-time NHRA tour winner. “You don’t get to look ahead and kind of plan your day out according to a ladder. It’s fly by the-seat-of-your-pants and (it’s) even more so for the crew chiefs. I’m pretty excited about it. I think it’ll bring some raw emotion with it. There’ll be some people that have a little anxiety.”
Torrence also is excited about the potential for expanding the sport’s fan base through the live-stream coverage on FloRacing.
“This is going to be a show,” he said. “This is going to be a spectacle. I think the accessibility, the interactiveness, the entertainment value will be there in addition to the drag racing. When you can get the actual entertainers all together (a reference to the members of the Professional Racers Owners Organization who collectively created the event) it is a huge step to (building) a stronger, more solid future for drag racing.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to showcase our sport in a different arena, in a different way that I feel will be exciting for our fans.”
Of course, when all is said and done, it still comes down to the basics of the sport. It’s all about getting that last win light.
“The biggest thing is everybody wants to be the first winner of the Superstar Shootout,” Torrence said. “That’s bragging rights for a career right there.”
The inaugural SCAG Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout presented by JHG will also feature $250,000-to-win Funny Car and $125,000-to-win Pro Stock, as well as sportsman racing, live music, a vendor village, and more. Tickets are now on sale at https://bit.ly/scagpro. Fans at home can tune in to the official FloRacing livestream at https://flosports.link/3t04gHk.