Tony Stewart (aka Smoke) Made His First Steps in Drag Racing

While Tony Stewart has done a bit of everything when it comes to motorsport, drag racing is still uncharted territory for semi-retired racers. At least, that was the case before he corrected that shortfall on his recent trip to Frank Hawley Drag Racecourse. Along with girlfriend and NHRA Top Fuel racer Leah Pruett, Stewart did a number of runs.

Stewart’s girlfriend and drag racer Leah Pruett guided

Tony Stewart and girlfriend Leah Pruett before he runs down the slide.
Tony Stewart (aka Smoke) took his first steps in drag racing

Guided by his girlfriend, Tony Stewart familiarized himself with the process and installed an automatic transmission dragster. A camera crew managed to capture his first steps in the drag race and posted a video to Stewart’s YouTube channel. Before going down to the drag strip, he must familiarize himself with the “Christmas tree” lighting system riders currently use to start each run down the strip.

Stewart used a Super Comp for his first drag racing experience and then he switched to one of Frank Hawley’s Alcohol Dragsters, using an automatic transmission. Hawley, the school’s founder, says they will use such a setup to get new drivers used to driving an alcoholic dragster or Top Fuel. This, he says, allows drivers to quickly learn what they can and can’t do with the vehicle. Hawley also said that Stewart has experience with fast cars and this is not an issue for him.

Frank Hawley is a world champion who has taught drag racing for decades

Photos from the track at Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School
Tony Stewart (aka Smoke) took his first steps in drag racing

A two-time NHRA Funny Car world champion himself, Frank Hawley has taught both pros and amateurs how to navigate a dragster. Regarding Stewart’s performance, he said that Tony is world class at all he’s ever done and isn’t surprised to have no issues with a drag racing car. He added that Stewart is a great and neat guy, very humble and easy to talk to.

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Stewart did about a dozen runs in two cars, earning a Top Dragster license. Despite going through the entire event, he has yet to show any intention of entering the professional drag racing arena.

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