City celebrates Kilgore racer's championship on NHRA tracks

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Years of hard work and near-misses paid off this fall when NHRA driver and Kilgore resident Steve Torrence claimed the league’s Top Fuel division championship.

This week, the City of Stars will officially recognize Torrence’s achievement.

Mayor Ronnie Spradlin will be one of the speakers Thursday when the city of Kilgore recognizes Torrence at the Texan Theater at 5 p.m.

Torrence and his Capco Contractors race team won the NHRA’s Mello Yello Top Fuel division title, claiming wins in all six of the NHRA playoff races – Torrence is the first-ever driver to accomplish that feat.

The Kilgore College graduate has been through a lot along the way: he’s a cancer survivor and fell agonizingly short of the title a year ago, losing the title in the final race of the year. But that agony turned to happiness, and Torrence’s destiny, with the championship win this fall.

Torrence is also the only driver in NHRA history to win both the Alcohol and Top Fuel leagues.

Torrence will have the Mello Yello Top Fuel trophy on hand Thursday night and will be available for autographs and to visit with the public.

The 35-year-old driver is proud of where he’s from.

“People ask me where I’m from,” Torrence said, “and when I tell them, ‘Kilgore,’ they say, ‘Yeah, but where do you live?’ Well, I live in Kilgore. I work at Capco, which is a family business, and fly to the races on Friday. But Sunday, when everything’s done, I fly back here. It’s where my friends are, my family, my roots.”

– Dave Densmore contributed to this story.

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