CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — First came the woman, then the fastest cars in racing.
Tony Stewart, who fell in love with NHRA while tagging along with fiancée Leah Pruett at her races the past two seasons, will be an official part of the sport in 2022. The NASCAR Hall of Fame driver will add two full-time NHRA entries to Tony Stewart Racing next season — a Top Fuel entry for Pruett and a Funny Car for Matt Hagan.
“It’s a very unique opportunity to control my own destiny with my almost-husband in a sport I’m absolutely passionate about,” Pruett told The Associated Press. “That’s an experience and opportunity that nobody would pass up, and I feel like I’ve been prepping my whole life for something like this — to apply all of my talents to something grand in partnership and alongside somebody sharing the same goals.”
Pruett and Hagan currently compete for Don Schumacher Racing, which on Wednesday announced that eight-time Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher will return to the team next year in a full-time entry and be paired with Pruett’s current crew chief.
Stewart followed with his announcement Thursday and said the new NHRA team will operate alongside his sprint car teams in TSR’s existing 25,000-square-foot facility in Brownsburg, Indiana. Stewart, co-owner of the NASCAR team Stewart-Haas Racing, has won 27 owner championships in sprint car racing.