Unprepared Tony Stewart Makes “Least Amount of Confidence” Confession, Gets Poetic About NHRA Top Fuel Debut

Published 03/07/2024, 1:21 PM EST

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Tony Stewart holds a special place in not one but three racing series. The 1999 Rookie of the Year holds 49 victories to his name and 618 starts. But he is also known for his unmatched versatility. Stewart is the only driver to win championships in both IndyCar and NASCAR. He has also snagged titles in USAC and IROC. Recently, he has been getting ready to explore a new land, in the NHRA Top Fuel.

Leah Pruett is Stewart’s better half who has already established a name for herself in Top Fuel. Taking a year’s hiatus from racing, she has passed along the torch to her husband. However, as experienced as the 52-year-old veteran racer may be, he is getting chills about entering the dangerous world of Top Fuel.

Tony Stewart lets slip jittery feelings about his new venture


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Leah Pruett is a seasoned racer in NHRA, sporting 12 Top Fuel wins in her name. Most recently, she finished a career-high third in Top Fuel standings last year, after losing to eventual champion Doug Kalitta at the season finale in Pomona. Taking over her 11,000-horsepower Dodge dragster, Stewart has some big shoes to fill.

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Recently, Tony Stewart spilled the beans about his emotions ahead of the upcoming NHRA race at Gainesville Raceway. Talking to The Athletic, he answered how prepared he is. 

“Not as much as I would like. I’m probably the one out of the whole group that has the least amount of confidence about this. You’re always nervous about something that’s new to you, but this is something new that is 330 miles an hour. So I’d be foolish if I wasn’t a little bit nervous about it.”


Stewart also outlined his course of action to beat this ordeal, saying, “But it’s like anything else: As you get more comfortable and as you make more runs, you build up confidence and then you settle in and get comfortable. And that’s when you really start picking up the fine details of everything that’s going on. It’s kind of a crawl before you walk, walk before you jog, jog before you run, run before you sprint scenario.”

Tony Stewart has made 20 starts in a Top Fuel car in the past three years. He had more to share about the insane speed gathered in Top Fuel.


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Stewart compares 330 mph speed to a Japanese buffet


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Tony Stewart spent 2023 racing in Top Alcohol Dragsters which would help in his race this weekend. However, the glaring difference lies in a shorter distance (1,000 feet versus the traditional quarter-mile length), and a 50mph faster speed.

He found a way to express his emotions about driving a car at 330 mph. “The most acceleration you’ve ever had in your life in any type of car is like at a Japanese buffet where they give you the little shrimp appetizer when you sit down. That’s what everything else you’ve done in your career is like versus what I’m getting ready to do.”


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Tony Stewart is appearing in an NHRA Top Fuel race for the first time. Yet we all know how versatile and tough he can be. So all things considered, he may ace the race with flying colors!

Read More: “She Left Our Mortal World”- Tony Stewart’s Wife Leah & Racing Fandom Mourn the Saddening Loss of Her Furry Friend


Written by:

Sumedha Mukherjee


One take at a time

Sumedha Mukherjee is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports who is known for her in-depth track analysis as well as her lifestyle coverage of Cup drivers like Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. Inspired by the Kiwi's journey so far, Sumedha has also written pieces on Shane Van Gisbergen, predicting how the Supercars Champion would do in the new and unfamiliar American setting. Pairing her research skills with her vast experience as a writer, Sumedha creates stories her readers can easily get lost in.
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Edited by:

Shreya Singh