After Beating Demolition Threats, Tony Stewart’s Hometrack Set to Witness His First Top Fuel Triumph

Published 04/07/2024, 2:23 PM EDT

Follow Us

via Getty

“Duel in the Desert” has always been one of the major highlights on the NHRA circuit. However, after last year’s event, the facility was supposed to be shut down and replaced by an overpass and roadway for the I-10 extension. Fortunately, those plans were never set in motion, and thus the rebranded Firebird Motorsports Park was allowed to host drag racing events in 2024.

Interestingly, Tony Stewart, who has taken up a new adventure of competing in the NHRA Top Fuel series, will have a shot at adding yet another feather to his racing hat. Having already won the NASCAR and sprint car racing championships as a driver and owner, Smoke will now be eyeing to clinch his first Top Fuel win in his backyard.

Tony Stewart is back to his happy place for his Top Fuel race in Arizona


Article continues below this ad

Poll of the day

1d 9h left

NASCAR Cup Series: Coca-Cola 600 Who is going to win ?

Kyle Larson

Denny Hamlin

Tyler Reddick

Kyle Busch

Ever since entering Top Fuel in 2024, Tony Stewart has had a tough time adjusting to his new role. While he is known to win basically anything that runs on four wheels and a motor, the 11,000-horsepower dragster is just a whole different ball game.

But with a change in the environment and going back to TSR’s home in the state of Arizona, Stewart is hoping for a better outcome in the Top Fuel event. “Co-win in the Xfinity Series championship at Phoenix for us was awesome last year. We moved down here to Arizona, we live in a Lake Havasu now, so this is kind of the home race for us, we feel like. It’s a big deal; I mean, we’ve had really good luck in Arizona with Sprint Car racing with Cup Series, with IRL, so had a lot of fun at this state,” Stewart said.

Moreover, he also expressed his gratitude towards the race fans from the region, who have been a vital part of keeping the drag racing facility alive and kicking. “It’s an awesome market. I mean, obviously, you’re in the Phoenix market here, and there’s a lot of Motorsports gearheads down here… There’s a lot of cool motorsports here and it’s a motorsport community. I feel like there’s a lot of race fans that whether they like watching drag boats here or whether it’s drag racing, sprint car racing, they just love racing here.”

While the NASCAR Hall of Famer is optimistic about his run at Arizona National, his qualification run did not go as planned.

Stewart can’t seem to catch a break from his grim qualifying performance in Top Fuel events


Article continues below this ad


Get instantly notified of the hottest NASCAR stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

In the first round of qualifiers, Stewart made a good launch but lost the traction of his dragster. This allowed Terry Totten to capitalize on Stewart’s mistake and beat him to the finish line. The second round was a frustrating effort for him, as his dragster went up in smoke when he hit the throttle.

Fortunately, his third effort was a big improvement, as he clocked 3.982 seconds down the drag strip. For all his troubles, this was only the 12th fastest time in the third round of qualifiers. This will see Tony Stewart enter the round of eliminations as the No. 15 entry and will have to face off against 16-time Top Fuel winner John Force.

They’re just trying to figure out what this car wants versus the car Leah ran last year. Our weight difference is quite a bit, so they can’t just sit there and look at the notes and go, ‘This is what we’re going to put in,’ it has to be different for me. Figuring it out is just going to take time,” Stewart was quoted by Kick in the Tires.


Article continues below this ad

It will be interesting to see how Tony Stewart fares against John Force in the elimination rounds at the Arizona National on Sunday.

Read More: Crew Chief Discloses SHR’s Old Struggle that Blocked Tony Stewart’s Rookie’s Podium Finish


Written by:

Chintan Devgania


One take at a time

Chintan Mahesh Devgania is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. As someone who likes to dive deep into the sport, he often takes up less explored topics to eventually see them make their way into top stories. His report on Toyota’s young recruit, Jade Avedisian, sharing her thoughts on Late Model Racing, was an example of that.
Show More>

Edited by:

Shreya Singh