Tony Stewart Hints at Possible Return to NHRA Top Alcohol Class

auto apr 12 nhra 4 wide nationals
Stewart Hints at Possible NHRA Top Alcohol ReturnIcon Sportswire - Getty Images
  • Tony Stewart is standing in this season for wife Leah Pruett, who finished third in the class last year but is focusing on trying to start a family with Stewart.

  • Stewart says he’s in the dragster temporarily but when wife reclaims the car, he isn’t certain what he’ll drive next.

  • Return to sportsman-level Top Alcohol Dragster not out of the question.

Just how much does a victory mean to multi-series master Tony Stewart?

The IndyCar and NASCAR champion has taken on the challenge of an 11,000-horsepower Top Fuel dragster – and is racing at this weekend’s NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at Las Vegas, with a staggering 44,000 horsepower at the starting line.


At this event a year ago, Stewart earned his first drag-racing triumph and doubled up with Funny Car teammate Matt Hagan in the winners circle. This time, he’s looking for a nitro double at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

But wait – if that happens, Hagan, just for fun, might be tempted to run over and plant a kiss on Stewart’s cheek. He has done that to “the boss” before.

“Listen,” Stewart said before Friday’s two qualifying sessions, “if that’s the worst thing that happens... If him kissin’ me guarantees a win, he can stick his tongue down my throat – I don’t care. Whatever it takes.”

opening round of qualifying at nhra winternationals in pomona
Tony Stewart says he really has no long-range plans to his NHRA career. And that, he says, is okay.MediaNews Group/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin via Getty Images - Getty Images

Stewart, who was a strong eighth in Friday qualifying at Las Vegas, is enjoying the challenge of competing in the NHRA’s headliner class. He’s standing in this season for wife Leah Pruett, who finished third in the class last year but is focusing on trying to start a family with Stewart. He said he’ll turn the car back over to her whenever she’s ready to resume racing one day. But he said he has no specific plan when that happens.

“I haven’t got that far yet,” Stewart said. “I’m more excited about trying to start this family with her. We’ll worry about the rest of it down the road. Honestly, there’s no pressure. There’s no timeframe. And she [Pruett] hasn't even asked me what I think and what I think I want to do.

"I’m kind of good with going with the flow. It’s nice to not always have to have a plan. It’s nice to be able to go along and just enjoy the moment. When it’s time to make decisions, we’ll make decisions,” he said.

Rather surprisingly, Stewart said he “might go back to the alcohol car. You never know.” He was referring to the Top Alcohol Dragster class, in which he brought two national-event and two divisional trophies to the McPhillips family-owned team last year.

To many, that might seem like a regressive move, but that’s not how Stewart looks at it.

“I’m not doing this to make a living. I’m not doing this to prove a point. If I go back and run the alcohol car, I don’t feel it’s like a step backwards. I really enjoyed last year,” he said.