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Tony Stewart Racing chasing first-ever victory at U.S. Nationals

NHRA Story Aug. 29, 2023

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (WISH) — The most prestigious event in drag racing takes place this weekend at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, and Tony Stewart Racing is gearing up for the jam-packed week.

Two of the team’s drivers, Matt Hagan and Leah Pruett are attempting to do something that has never been done before, win “The Big Go” for Tony Stewart Racing.

The Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals started Wednesday. Events will take place throughout the week, culminating in the final races on Monday.

This event means to drag racing what the Indianapolis 500 means for IndyCar, as some drivers would rather win this race than the actual NHRA series championship.

The winners of each class in the NHRA’s final regular season race are set up well for the playoffs, as the winners earn points-and-a-half for this event.

The series features multiple classes, with the main two being Top Fuel and Funny Car.

Matt Hagan drives the Funny Car for Tony Stewart Racing, and Stewart’s wife, Leah Pruett, drives in the Top Fuel class.

Hagan won the biggest race on the NHRA’s schedule in 2016 and currently sits in third in the points standings entering the final weekend of the regular season.

“I’ve been very blessed to be able to win the NHRA U.S. Nationals with Dodge on the side of the car and to have them sponsor the race, we’re just so blessed to have just a great partner for so long,” Hagan said. “I don’t think they could be happier with TSR and this foundation we’ve built. It’s something special with this partner and I’m glad to be a part of it. I have nothing but good feelings heading into this race, and this is the biggest race of the year for us. There’s a lot of opportunities for us to excel this weekend.”

Pruett has also won in Indy before, but that was five years ago in the Factory Stock Showdown. This would be her first U.S. Nationals win in the Top Fuel division, driving the 11,000-horsepower Dodge Direct Connection dragster.

Pruett knows the importance of this event. She spoke about how important it is for the team “to capitalize on every single qualifying event. Get those small little points, do well on the mission challenge so that we can have points at the end of the season and put ourselves in a great position on Monday to win the U.S. Nationals,” Pruett said.

She currently sits fifth in the points standings, so a win would mean a lot for her championship aspirations as well.

Stewart himself will be getting behind the wheel in the Top Alcohol Dragster division, as the legendary NASCAR driver began racing in the NHRA series this season after his retirement in 2016.

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