Video: NASCAR legend Tony Stewart goes NHRA Drag Racing
Attends Frank Hawley School of Drag Racing
Up until recently, three-time NASCAR champion and team owner Tony Stewart had raced everything from IndyCar to NASCAR, to dirt cars. Last week he got behind the wheel of a new racecar, a Top Alcohol Dragster.
Stewart, who is dating NHRA Top Fuel star Leah Pruett, attended the Frank Hawley School of Drag Racing at Florida’s Bradenton Motorsports Park. He took runs in the school’s Super Comp and Top Alcohol Dragster machines.
“He’s world-class at anything he’s ever done, so it didn’t surprise me that he had no problems,” Hawley, a two-time NHRA Funny Car world champion who’s been teaching amateurs and pros from all disciplines the correct way down the dragstrip over the last three decades told NHRA.com “He was a great guy, easy to talk to, and very humble. What a neat guy.”
“Smoke” first took a couple of passes in the Super Comp car to acquaint himself with the Christmas Tree and staging systems, he them moved into the school’s Alcohol Dragster. The alcohol car is equipped with a Crowerglide transmission and shifts automatically instead of having the traditional manual 3-speed of a normal NHRA blown alcohol dragster.
“We use that setup to allow new drivers to learn the routine you would use to drive an A/Fuel [Dragster] or Top Fuel car, but they’re still plenty fast,” explained Hawley. “We want them to see how it steers and handles and what you can and can’t do with it. Obviously, for someone like Tony who is used to seeing the world at 200 mph or faster, that wasn’t an issue."
Stewart made almost a dozen runs between the two cars and earned a Top Dragster license. Hawley said Stewart will need to make some additional runs to get ether a Top Alcohol or Top Fuel license. No word from Stewart if he plans to go further and gain his license and compete, but those who know him, and his fans, wouldn’t be surprised if he did.