CONCORD, N.C. — Tony Stewart is known for dabbling in many forms of auto racing. Now, he is venturing into another variation of the sport as he is starting his very own NHRA drag racing team.
Stewart, a native of Columbus, Indiana, announced the founding of Tony Stewart Racing on Thursday. The plan is run two cars, a Funny Car driven by experienced funny car driver Matt Hagen, and a Top-Fuel dragster to be driven by Stewart’s fiancee Leah Pruett.
Tony Stewart, who has made multiple starts in the Indianapolis 500, won multiple USAC championships, as well as two NASCAR Cup Series titles, says he’s gotten a taste for drag racing after getting a chance to even drive a Top-Fuel dragster with Don Schumacher last year.
“Don gave me the opportunity through a tough time of COVID, a lot of restrictions and policies, to not only be at the race track but to be around the crew guys and the team, ” Stewart said. “That definitely set the hook.”
Stewart has been a regular at NHRA events in that time as well when he and Pruett began dating. They are now engaged, with the couple set to be married in November after the season finale in Pomona.
“I’m not a good spectator in any form of motorsports,” Stewart said. “To have the opportunity to be engrossed in NHRA drag racing in the last year and a half has created a lot of interest for me to do more than just and be a trophy wife beside Leah.”
Leah Pruett is an accomplished drag racer in her own right having won nine Top-Fuel events. Hagen has won 39 Funny Car events. Both drivers are coming to TSR from Don Schumacher Racing.
“Don Schumacher has been a huge chapter in my racing career,” said Hagen. “We’ve won a whole lot of trophies and multiple championships together over the years, and that’s because of the incredible team he’s placed around me and the opportunities that he’s given us to be successful. This next chapter with Tony Stewart is one I’m excited for.”
Tony Stewart Racing will make its NHRA debut during the 2022 season opener on Feb. 17-20 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Stewart also made it clear that the new racing team would not interfere with his ownership of stakes in other racing ventures. Stewart owns Eldora Speedway in Ohio, the Superstar Racing Experience, and has a partial stake in the Stewart-Haas NASCAR team among other things.
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