Tony Stewart's Exit from NASCAR Could Be Boost for NHRA

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Tony Stewart's NASCAR Exit Could Be Boost for NHRAIcon Sportswire - Getty Images

Tony Stewart’s news this week that he and partner Gene Haas will close down their NASCAR Cup Series Stewart-Haas Racing operation at year’s end raised hope in drag racing that Stewart—already a Top Fuel title contender—will expand his footprint in the NHRA.

Justin Ashley, the Top Fuel points leader, said on Wednesday, “Of course. I think Tony is great for the sport. I think he's a great guy, he's a great businessman, and he's a great driver. And just for the whole sport of NHA drag racing, I think it's healthy that he's involved. It seems to me like Tony is really enjoying his experience with NHRA drag racing, and he's getting something with NHRA drag racing that he wasn't getting before in the other motorsports that he raced. So I would love to see him expand his program within the sport."

Tony Stewart currently owns the Tony Stewart Racing team in NHRA. Stewart currently drives the team's Top Fuel dragster entry, while defending Funny Car champion Matt Hagan drives the team's Funny Car. Stewart's wife and Top Fuel driver Leah Pruett is a co-owner of the team and is currently on leave from driving.


“I would love to see all the teams, including ourselves, expand our footprint, because I think it's healthy and it's good for the sport. He’s helped to raise the popularity of the sport. I think there's some people that came to see him that wouldn't have otherwise come to a drag race before, so I definitely think it's a good thing,” Ashley said.

“I was really sorry for him and obviously that whole team on the NASCAR side, we never want to see anything like that happen. But certainly, I'm happy that he's involved with NHRA.”