via Getty

via Getty

Linda Vaughn has spent the majority of her life on the tracks, competing and growing the sport. Her efforts to popularize American motorsports among the masses have garnered immense respect from her peers. Clearly, no one is more deserving of the title ‘First Lady of Motorsports.’ But it’s Tony Stewart, upon whom Vaughn herself feels “proud.”

Stewart’s stint at the NHRA has been quite fruitful, owing to his first national event win in Las Vegas and the following victories. Apart from his achievements, he’s been quite vocal about popularizing it, which made him the Person of the Year, awarded by the NHRA National Dragster All-Star Team panel. His persevering efforts have caught Vaughn’s attention, and she came forward to express her heartfelt gratitude. 

Linda Vaughn acknowledges Tony Stewart’s efforts towards drag racing


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During the Race Industry Week 2023 by EPARTTRADE discussion, Joseph Castello praised how Stewart cleared the air about NHRA being inferior to NASCAR and has boosted its popularity. Meanwhile, another host, Judy Kean, teased Stewart with a little secret, and what the legendary NASCAR driver saw next made him awestruck. It was none other than Linda Vaughn herself, who surprisingly chimed in on the show and shocked Stewart as she hysterically exclaimed, “I’m not singing happy birthday this time.”

Without any further ado, Vaughn expressed her contentment about Tony Stewart’s inclination for drag racing and said, “I’m so glad you feel about drag racing the way you do because I knew you would.”

She then unveiled her love for motorsports and how the smell of burning rubber excites her and said,I call it my perfume because there’s nothing like it and acceleration and I absolutely love what you’re doing in drag racing. I’m proud of you!” That is some high praise indeed, even for someone like the three-time Cup Series champion.

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Tony Stewart’s stint in the Top Alcohol Dragster category and his efforts to grow the sport have understandably amassed huge respect from Vaughn. However, he will have even more opportunities to make her grateful. As Stewart will undergo full-time duty during the 2024 NHRA season, he’ll be transitioning into another category as his wife takes a break from racing. 

Stewart takes over wife Leah Pruett’s 2024 seat


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12-time Top Fuel event winner Leah Pruett took charge of Tony Stewart Racing’s Top Fuel machinery in the 2023 season. She along with Funny Car driver Matt Hagan, won a total of eight NHRA national event victories.

via Imago

Off the track though, now Pruett and Stewart are looking forward to starting a family. This meant she withdrew from the 2024 season, and Stewart has filled in for her in the Top Fuel category.


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Having won Top Alcohol Driver of the Year in the NHRA, there’s no doubt that Stewart would put forth a competitive display and become a force to be reckoned with. Do you think Stewart’s return to the drag racing car can reap good benefits for his team Tony Stewart Racing?

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