WATCH: NASCAR Legend Tony Stewart Tries His Hand at Drag Racing

Published 12/23/2020, 10:54 PM EST
HOMESTEAD, FL – NOVEMBER 18: Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Always a Racer/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)


Tony Stewart is best-known for his NASCAR exploits and his success in that field. However, he has a very versatile resume, having driven in various disciplines.

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In one instance, Stewart tried his hand at drag racing. For that, he visited the Frank Hawley School of Drag Racing for the fun of it. Of course, being Tony Stewart, he got the hang of it quickly.

It is also worth noting that NHRA Top Fuel star Leah Pruett also accompanied him. During his time in the school, he drove in the Super Comp and Top Alcohol Dragster machines. Safe to say, ‘Smoke’ definitely lived up to his nickname at the Bradenton Motorsports Park.

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“He’s world-class at anything he’s ever done, so it didn’t surprise me that he had no problems,” said drag school principal Frank Hawley. “He was a great guy, easy to talk to, and very humble. What a neat guy.”

Of course, the triple-time Cup Series champion took some time to familiarize himself with the machinery.

What is special about the two drag cars that Tony Stewart drove?

Apparently, the Top Alcohol car possesses a Crowerglide transmission. In addition to that, the car has an automatic shift, as opposed to the manual 3-speed of an NHRA blown alcohol dragster.

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According to Hawley, its primary purpose is to prepare new drivers for an A/Fuel [Dragster] or Top Fuel car. Despite this being for beginners, so to speak, they do not compromise on speed.

In this kind of scenario, drivers can learn how cars steer and check out the handling. Obviously, a driver of Stewart’s caliber was able to adapt easily, as he is used to seeing the world at 200 mph or faster.

In the end, Tony Stewart spent a fair amount of time between the two cars. This was enough to earn him a Top Dragster license. Admittedly, he made no plans to compete in either class. Now, Stewart is happily enjoying his retirement from the sport.

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Mrinal Kuniyal

380 articles

Mrinal Kuniyal has been a contributor to EssentiallSports since early 2020 and has focused on Formula 1, NASCAR, and IndyCar. He's a management graduate and his areas of interest include motorsports, marketing, and music.

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