Tony Stewart starting two-car NHRA team with fiancée Leah Pruett as Top Fuel driver in 2022

Tony Stewart NHRA Pruett
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

CONCORD, North Carolina — 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 (at zMax Dragway near Charlotte Motor Speedway) 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.

“It wasn’t until I met Leah and started going to races regularly, where I saw the strategy and the preparation firsthand, that I truly understood it,” Stewart, who went through a drag racing school last year, told the AP. “I’ve annoyed everyone in the paddock by asking so many questions, Don Schumacher included, and the more I learned about drag racing, I knew I didn’t want to be a spectator. I wanted to have a role and be all in.”

Pruett is in her 25th NHRA season, getting into drag racing as an 8-year-old in the junior league. She won the 2010 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series championship in the Nostalgia Funny Car class and has spent the last eight years advancing through Top Fuel.

The 33-year-old has done double duty for several years, also competing in the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown. She won the 2018 title for Schumacher.

Hagan, who has driven for Schumacher since 2009, is the three-time and reigning Funny Car champion. He currently leads the Funny Car standings with three races remaining in the season. He has 39 event victories.

“Don Schumacher has been a huge chapter in my racing career and we’ve won a whole lot of trophies and multiple championships together,” Hagan said. “This next chapter with Tony Stewart is one I’m excited for. I’m ready to go racing. I’m jumping into this new program with two feet and I’m confident in the package we’re bringing into the 2022 season with TSR.”

Because TSR will be a Schumacher customer, Stewart is expected to be a Dodge team in NHRA but he did not make a manufacturer announcement Thursday. Stewart-Haas Racing is a Ford team in NASCAR and Ford also competes in NHRA and has helped Stewart learn to drive a dragster since he became infatuated with the racing series.

Stewart and Pruett are set to be married next month and the three-time NASCAR champion said they’d forego a honeymoon to be ready for the NHRA season opener Feb. 17-20 at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California.

Neither expects any tensions to form in this new chapter of their relationship, which Pruett clearly defined: “I am Tony Stewart Racing’s Top Fuel driver.”

“I think it will be fine, I mean, it’s not going to be flatline, there are going to be pulses in it because we have hearts and they beat,” Pruett said. “But we know this will work. Seeing things that have happened within other series and teams and tracks, I’ve been able to understand his thought process of solving problems and coming up with solutions.

“It made me be like, ‘That’s somebody I would love to work with, knowing where his head and heart are.’ Moving forward and working together, this isn’t jumping into something unknown, I’ve seen how he works firsthand.”

Stewart said he and Pruett have barely discussed how to manage their new working relationship.

“I have an understanding of what has to happen from the professional side, and the racing side is the racing side,” Stewart said. “You don’t bring the professional stuff to the personal side, and vice versa. Leah is a smart woman, she’s a smart businesswoman, and she understands that there has to be a difference between owner and driver, and I don’t think it creates an unhealthy environment for me to be the car owner and her the driver.

“I don’t feel like this is going to put us relationship-wise in any type of bind or predicament. We have no reason not to get along.”

Saturday’s Supercross Round 11 in Seattle: How to watch, start times, schedules, streams


With three multiple winners now vying for the championship, the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series heads to Round 11 at Lumen Field in Seattle, Washington.

Chase Sexton earned his second victory of the season in Detroit when Aaron Plessinger fell on the final lap. Though he was penalized seven points for disobeying a flag, Sexton is third in the championship race. The Honda rider trails leader Cooper Webb (two victories) by 17 points, and defending series champion Eli Tomac (five wins) is three points behind Webb in second with seven races remaining.

Tomac won last year in Seattle on the way to his second season title.

Honda riders have a Supercross-leading 20 victories in the Seattle event but none at Lumen Field since Justin Barcia in 2013. Tomac and Barcia are the only past 450 Seattke winners entered in Saturday’s event.

Here are the pertinent details for watching Round 11 of the 2023 Supercross season in Seattle:

(All times are ET)

BROADCAST/STREAMING SCHEDULE: TV coverage of Round 11 will begin Saturday at 10 p.m. ET streaming on Peacock with a re-air Monday at 1 a.m. ET on CNBC. The Race Day Live show (including qualifying) will begin on Peacock at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday.

NBC Sports will have exclusive live coverage of races, qualifiers and heats for the record 31 events in SuperMotocross. The main events will be presented on Peacock, NBC, USA Network, CNBC, and NBC Sports digital platforms.

Peacock will become the home of the SuperMotocross World Championship series in 2023 with live coverage of all races, qualifying, and heats from January to October. There will be 23 races livestreamed exclusively on Peacock, including a SuperMotocross World Championship Playoff event. The platform also will provide on-demand replays of every race. Click here for the full schedule.

POINTS STANDINGS: 450 division l 250 division

ENTRY LISTS450 division l 250 division

EVENT SCHEDULE (all times ET): 

Here are the start times for Saturday’s Supercross Round 11 in Seattle, according to the Monster Energy Supercross schedule from the AMA:

4:50 p.m.: 250SX Group B Qualifying 1
5:05 p.m.: 250SX Group A Qualifying 1
5:20 p.m.: 450SX Group A Qualifying 1
5:35 p.m.: 450SX Group B Qualifying 1
6:25 p.m.: 250SX Group B Qualifying 2
6:40 p.m.: 250SX Group A Qualifying 2
7:55 p.m.: 450SX Group A Qualifying 2
8:10 p.m.: 450SX Group B Qualifying 2
10:06 p.m.: 250SX Heat 1
10:20 p.m.: 250SX Heat 2
10:34 p.m.: 450SX Heat 1
10:48 p.m.: 450SX Heat 2
11:22 p.m.: 250SX Last Chance Qualifier
11:34 p.m.: 450SX Last Chance Qualifier
11:54 p.m.: 250SX Main Event
12:28 a.m.: 450SX Main Event

TRACK LAYOUTClick here to view the track map


FINAL 2022 STANDINGS: 450 points standings | 250 East points standings250 West points standings


ROUND 1: Eli Tomac opens title defense with victory

ROUND 2: Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael on Supercross wins list

ROUND 3: Tomac holds off Cooper Webb again

ROUND 4: Chase Sexton wins Anaheim Triple Crown

ROUND 5: Eli Tomac leads wire to wire in Houston

ROUND 6: Cooper Webb breaks through in Tampa

ROUND 7: Webb wins again in Arlington

ROUND 8: Tomac wins Daytona for the seventh time

ROUND 9: Ken Roczen scores first victory since 2022

ROUND 10: Chase Sexton inherits Detroit victory but docked points


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