Don't look now, but three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart is closing in on an NHRA championship.
Stewart, who in his first full season racing in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series' Top Alcohol Dragster class, went 5.213-seconds at 271.19 mph in his McPhillips Racing dragster to defeat Madison Payne on Monday at Maple Grove Raceway, near Reading, Pa.
For Stewart, it was his second national event win. He also has two divisional wins to give him four wins in his first full year of NHRA competition as a driver. Stewart also owns a team in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing series that fields Top Fuel driver and wife Leah Pruett and tw0-time Funny Car champion Matt Hagan.
The win moved Stewart into the points lead in the Top Alcohol class.
“This is huge. I’m so glad we made it to Monday and pulled this off,” Stewart said. “To win for Rich and Richie (McPhillips) and all their friends and family here, a win is always special but to do it under these circumstances at a home race for them is that much more special. We are having a lot of fun doing this and I’m happy to have the points lead back.
“I’ve always liked the opportunity to hopefully get a points lead, at least be in the lead, even if it’s just by one point. The fact that you’re in the lead I feel like carries weight. This is huge. There’s not but a handful of races left this year and we’re trying to make the most out of every one of them. Getting maximum points (this weekend) is a huge deal for us.”
NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster Standings
Tony Stewart 636
Julie Nataas 572
Shawn Cowie 549
Jackie Fricke 518
Matthew Cummings 496