LOOKS BRIGHT: Dragster Torres, 15, finds home on track

Published 11:45 pm Friday, October 31, 2014

By Monique Roth

LAPLACE — St. Charles Catholic High School sophomore Morgan Torres first drove a car when she was 9 years old. The car she drove wasn’t of a Power Wheels variety, but rather a junior dragster race car.

Torres, the 15-year-old daughter of Michael and Michelle Torres of LaPlace, said many weekends as a child were spent watching family friends competitively drag race at local tracks. The family trips to the track and Torres’ incessant questions and interest in the sport led her parents to give her a junior dragster car for her 9th birthday.

“I didn’t think it was real,” Torres said laughing as she talked about receiving the gift.

She said she started driving and competing in the car “right away,” adding she has never been involved in any wreck while racing.

Torres said she loves that racing “gets your adrenaline going,” adding the adrenaline rush experienced during the typically seven-second race is worth all of the preparation to get there.

Torres received no formal race training and has no official coach, but rather “asked lots of questions” and “learned from word of mouth” how to be a drag racer.

However she learned, it seems to have worked. Torres’ racing achievements include being named the 2010 Southern Sportsman Challenge Winner, a 2010 Eastern Conference Finals Semi-Finalist, the 2011 IHRA Ironman Classic Winner, the 2011 Mardi Gras Nitro Jam Runner-Up, the 2012 Track Champion State Capitol Raceway, the 2013 Bash on the Bayou X-DRL Winner, the 2013 Mayhem at the Creek X-DRL Winner and the 2013 X-DRL Champion.

“It feels really good to win,” she said smiling.

Torres, who races under the team name Torres Motorsports, said a lot of people are surprised to learn about her racing hobby because of her initially shy and quite demeanor. On race day, however, Torres said she is “serious and ready,” but also outgoing and enjoys seeing her friends she races with.

“They’re like a family,” Torres said. “I’ve grown up with a lot of them.”

Torres, who is involved in the Beta Club and the French Club at SCC, is also a permanent fixture on the school’s honor roll and is an outside hitter on the volleyball team. She said she thinks she’ll keep racing as something “fun for the weekend” and not turn it into a career. Instead, Torres said with her favorite subject in school being science, she is thinking about pursuing a career in the medical field.

Michelle Torres, Morgan’s mom, said she and Morgan’s father, as well as her grandfather, used to drag race and watching her daughter succeed in the sport has inspired her to get back into racing.

“We get an awesome adrenaline high from watching her,” Michelle said of her daughter, adding the family makes sure Morgan is “covered from head to toe” and follows all safety precautions.

Michelle said Morgan’s races have taken the family all over the country, a hobby that wouldn’t be possible without a large network of family and friends supporting them.