Three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion will make the move to drag racing
Tony Stewart is a three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion. He retired from the sport after the 2016 season while piloting one of his own Stewart-Haas Racing machines.
However, Stewart is still very active in the racing world. He still owns the NASCAR Cup Series team with an Xfinity kicker. He also owns a dirt sprint car team, Eldora Speedway and a dirt racing series.
Last year, Tony Stewart announced his latest venture. He setup a drag racing team and they went NHRA racing.
Now, Stewart is set to jump behind the wheel of a Top Alcohol Dragster in Las Vegas. He’s run several tests and taken part in driving schools ahead of his debut.
His debut will come this weekend via the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, a sportsman division. Stewart will drive a Top Alcohol dragster, reaching 280+mph. The division sits directly under NHRA Top Fuel Nitro.
Tony Stewart comments ahead of NHRA event
“I’m excited and nervous at the same time,” Stewart said.
“It’s definitely going to be a big learning curve, and to do it at a national event right out of the gate adds to the challenge. But it’s something I’ve really been wanting to do, and I’ve been working toward this moment. I’m not taking it lightly. It’s a serious business and I’m going to be as prepared as possible when I get to Las Vegas.”
He’ll pilot the McPhillips Racing car in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
“The team I’m driving for, McPhillips Racing, has been awesome to work with,” Stewart said.
“They felt like I was ready to compete. With their confidence, that’s given me the confidence and courage to try something new and take the leap.”
A few weeks ago, Stewart said he was ‘mad’ at NASCAR after he team was landed a long list of fines. He then further stated that he was looking for a new hobby via social media.
Mobil 1 comments
Mobil 1 has sponsored Stewart for the majority of his career. And that partnership continues into the world of drag racing.
“Throughout his storied career, Tony has been known for his commitment and dedication to his craft, which is why he’s long been a perfect fit as a Mobil 1 partner,” said Rob Shearer, ExxonMobil Director Global Lubricants Marketing Services and Sponsorships.
“His desire to be exceptional has always aligned with our goal to do the same. His laser focus and intense competitive spirit that we all know so well will be on display once again, but this time on a quarter-mile dragstrip.”
Shearer added, “We’re looking forward to cheering him on in his NHRA debut.”
“Tony Stewart is one of the most talented and versatile drivers in motorsports history, winning in every discipline in which he’s competed,” said Jei Gort, ExxonMobil Global Motorsports and Sponsorships Manager. “His love of racing is unwavering, and we’re proud to have him represent the Mobil 1 brand as he takes on this new challenge in the NHRA.
Gort added, “Both driver and machine face extreme conditions on the dragstrip, and demanding environments are where Tony and Mobil 1 technology thrive. This should be an outstanding combination – just as it has been so many times before.”
Stewart comments on Mobil 1 joining him in NHRA:
“Mobil 1 is more than just a sponsor – they’re a partner that provides us with a competitive advantage to get the most out of our cars,” Stewart said. “I love driving and it’s the most fun when our cars are running at their best – and Mobil 1 makes that possible. Their technology gives me a strong sense of security when I’m behind the wheel and a tremendous amount of pride whenever we put a racecar on the track.”
At age 51, Tony Stewart is a rookie again
“I’ve been a rookie in a lot of different cars over the course of my career. That part won’t be new, but the drag racing side is so different from anything I’ve driven in the past. It’s all about procedures and knowing the routine and doing it the same every time,” Stewart said.
“In all the other forms of racing, you blow a corner, and you fix it and do better the next lap. There is no next lap if you screw up in these cars. You have to do it the same every time for the team to be able to tune the car the right way, and you have to do your job. You have to cut good lights and stay in the groove.
“There are a lot of things people don’t think about just by watching on television. I’ve learned a lot from our teams this year. I’m sure it will be sensory overload, but you have to start somewhere.
“The McPhillips family is awesome and they’re great teachers, and when your wife is a professional driver and you have a teammate like Matt Hagan, they’re teaching me everything I need to know. I’m excited about finally getting the opportunity to do what they do.”
“My expectations are just to gain experience and knowledge throughout the weekend,” Stewart said. “It will be nice to go from getting to drive the car to actually competing. Hopefully, we’ll have a good weekend and I’ll get to make a lot of passes.”
NHRA Nevada Nationals
The following includes all NHRA Top Alcohol division times:
Round 1 Eliminations
The racing can be watched live on NHRA.TV.