Toyota Nationals SG Winner – Val Torres Sr.
Words/Photos Phil Hutchison
The name Val Torres is synomius with the super classes on the west coast. Val Sr. and his son Val Jr. have nearly a dozen NHRA wins between them and at the Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas, Val Sr. driving his “63 Corvette roadster, added one more Wally to their collection.
It must have been the Torres name putting fear into his competition, but during eliminations Torres only had one real race. All other rounds were decided by either an opponent’s red light or a bye run.
“I feel bad about having such good luck but I know how it is to red light,” Torres said. “I fouled out in the finals at Sonoma this year. Just like my -.002 red light at Sonoma, my competition in the finals at Vegas was -.002 too quick off the line. I was fortunate to get the two byes and my competition leaving too early but that is racing.”
In round four, Torres had his only challenge against the ’67 Camaro of Marko Perivolaris, the eventual winner in Super Comp in Vegas. As Torres tells it. “I beat him twice this year in Super Comp but never in Super Gas. I really wanted to beat him. It was a very close race. We were off the line together and was in front of him at the top end so I scrubbed some speed off and took the win.”
Perivolaris had a .017 light to Torres’ .018 reaction time, but Torres took the win light with a 10.061 to a 10.077. It wasn’t a total loss for Perivolaris as later in the day he took the Super Comp win over Mark Potts.
After that round Torres was the recepiant of Gerald Turczyn Jr’s red light and then a bye to the finals where he would meet the ’05 Corvette roadster of Tanner Hiatt. Unfortunately for Hiatt, he left -.002 too soon giving Torres his sixth NHRA win.
“I would like to thank my wife Rita and my sons Gabriel and his girlfriend Jackie and my other son Val and his wife Tiffany,” said Torres. “Also, my grandkids Madelyn, Kaitlin, and Val the 4th. Plus my mom and dad, Val and Lupe. I also want to thank Mike and Barbara Cornelius, RJ Torres, the Zavala Family, the Galati Family and also the McLennan’s. And I would be wrong to not recognize the best in-laws in the world, the Sanchez family.
“I would like to dedicate my win to my uncle Felix along with Mr. Wisely, and Lola who all have recently left us.
“Some of the people who help me are Robert at Hoosier Tires, Kevin at Hughes Convertors, Steve Williams and Greg Boutte at K&N, Dave Beckley and Ryan Purdy and the Mitsos Family from Mountainview Racing. Also I want to thank Phil and Tony Mandella and Eddie Liebo and my supporters in New Mexico. Lastly, I want to thank the NHRA, the Safety Safari, Lucas Oil Products for all they do.”