Stewart enters NHRA with fiancée Leah Pruett, Matt Hagan

CONCORD, N.C. — First got here the girl, then the quickest vehicles in racing.

Tony Stewart, who fell in love with NHRA whilst tagging together with fiancée Leah Pruett at her races the previous two seasons, might be an reputable a part of the game in 2022. The NASCAR Corridor of Repute motive force will upload two full-time NHRA entries to Tony Stewart Racing subsequent season — a Best Gas access for Pruett and a Humorous Automobile for Matt Hagan.

“It is a very distinctive alternative to keep an eye on my very own future with my almost-husband in a recreation I am completely captivated with,” Pruett advised The Related Press. “That is an revel in and alternative that no person would move up, and I think like I have been prepping my complete existence for one thing like this — to use all of my abilities to one thing grand in partnership and along anyone sharing the similar objectives.”

Pruett and Hagan lately compete for Don Schumacher Racing, which on Wednesday introduced that eight-time Best Gas champion Tony Schumacher will go back to the workforce subsequent yr in a full-time access and be paired with Pruett’s present team leader.

Stewart adopted along with his announcement Thursday and mentioned the brand new NHRA workforce will function along his dash automobile groups in TSR’s current 25,000-square-foot facility in Brownsburg, Indiana. Stewart, co-owner of the NASCAR workforce Stewart-Haas Racing, has gained 27 proprietor championships in dash automobile racing.

“It wasn’t till I met Leah and began going to races steadily, the place I noticed the method and the preparation firsthand, that I in reality understood it,” Stewart advised the AP. “I’ve pissed off everybody within the paddock by means of asking such a lot of questions, Don Schumacher incorporated, and the extra I discovered about drag racing, I knew I did not wish to be a spectator. I sought after to have a job and be all in.”

Pruett is in her 25th NHRA season, entering drag racing as an Eight-year-old within the junior league. She gained the 2010 NHRA Sizzling Rod Heritage Racing Collection championship within the Nostalgia Humorous Automobile magnificence and has spent the closing 8 years advancing via Best Gas.

The 33-year-old has performed double responsibility for a number of years, additionally competing within the NHRA Manufacturing unit Inventory Showdown. She gained the 2018 name for Schumacher.

Hagan, who has pushed for Schumacher since 2009, is the three-time and reigning Humorous Automobile champion. He lately leads the Humorous Automobile standings with 3 races last within the season. He has 39 match victories.

“Don Schumacher has been an enormous bankruptcy in my racing occupation and we’ve gained a number of trophies and more than one championships in combination,” Hagan mentioned. “This subsequent bankruptcy with Tony Stewart is one I’m excited for. I’m able to head racing. I’m leaping into this new program with two ft and I’m assured within the package deal we’re bringing into the 2022 season with TSR.”

As a result of TSR might be a Schumacher buyer, Stewart is predicted to be a Dodge workforce in NHRA however he didn’t make a producer announcement Thursday. Stewart-Haas Racing is a Ford workforce in NASCAR and Ford additionally competes in NHRA and has helped Stewart discover ways to power a dragster since he turned into infatuated with the racing collection.

Stewart and Pruett are set to be married subsequent month and the three-time NASCAR champion mentioned they might forego a honeymoon to be able for the NHRA season opener Feb. 17-20 at Auto Membership Raceway in Pomona, California.

Neither expects any tensions to shape on this new bankruptcy in their dating, which Pruett obviously outlined: “I’m Tony Stewart Racing’s Best Gas motive force.”

“I believe it is going to be advantageous, I imply, it is not going to be flatline, there are going to be pulses in it as a result of now we have hearts and so they beat,” Pruett mentioned. “However we all know this will likely paintings. Seeing issues that experience came about inside of different collection and groups and tracks, I have been ready to know his idea technique of fixing issues and arising with answers.

“It made me be like, ‘That’s anyone I would like to paintings with, understanding the place his head and middle are.’ Transferring ahead and dealing in combination, this is not leaping into one thing unknown, I have noticed how he works firsthand.”

Stewart mentioned he and Pruett have slightly mentioned how one can arrange their new operating dating.

“I’ve an working out of what has to occur from the pro facet, and the racing facet is the racing facet,” Stewart mentioned. “You do not carry the pro stuff to the private facet, and vice versa. Leah is a brilliant girl, she’s a sensible businesswoman, and he or she understands that there needs to be a distinction between proprietor and motive force, and I don’t believe it creates an dangerous setting for me to be the automobile proprietor and her the driving force.

“I do not really feel like that is going to position us relationship-wise in any form of bind or dilemma. We haven’t any explanation why to not get alongside.”


Extra AP auto racing: and—Sports activities

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