Tony Stewart gets first win as NHRA team owner with Matt Hagan at Gatornationals

Tony Stewart NHRA win
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Three-time Funny Car season champion Matt Hagan gave Tony Stewart Racing its first NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series victory Sunday, racing to his first career win at the historic Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.

In the final round, Hagan powered his Dodge Charger Hellcat SRT to a run of 3.910-seconds at 330.96 mph to beat Blake Alexander for his 40th career victory and first in three races this year with Tony Stewart Racing.

“To get this first win at the Gatornationals and Tony Stewart’s first win in a drag car, it’s pretty awesome,” Hagan said. “I’m very blessed and humbled to be here, and for all the fans who showed up, to get this first win at the Gators, it’s unbelievable.”

Hagan joined the first-year Tony Stewart Racing team in the offseason and the Virginia driver has a No. 1 qualifier and a pair of final rounds for the Stewart-owned team. Tony Stewart Racing also fields a Top Fuel entry for Leah Pruett, Stewart’s wife.

“This is pretty badass, especially at the Gatornationals,” Stewart said. “We’ve got two awesome race teams that work their butts off. I’m really proud of all these guys.”

Tripp Tatum won in Top Fuel, Dallas Glenn in Pro Stock and Karen Stoffer in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Tatum raced to first career win a day after picking up his first career No. 1 qualifier, knocking off Doug Foley with a 3.700 at 330.31 in the final round.

Glenn picked up his fourth career win, beating teammate Kyle Koretsky with a 6.486 at 210.21 in as Camar.

Stoffer finished off a record-breaking day with her 11th career win, going 6.7000 at 200.77 on her Suzuki in the first race of the year in the category. She made the quickest run in class history earlier in the day, going 6.665.

Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

Cadillac Ganassi Le Mans
Cadillac Racing
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Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.