Even before he retired from full time NASCAR Cup Series racing, Tony Stewart had his fingers in many racing pies including ownership in a dirt track and racing in many different racing series.

One form of racing that Stewart was not involved with was drag racing…until now.

Stewart – also known as Smoke – continues to race on dirt tracks, participated in the new SFX Racing and was crowned the champion, owns Eldora Speedway, and is part owner of the NASCAR team Stewart-Haas Racing.

After attending some NHRA drag races with fiancee Leah Pruett, the NASCAR Hall of Fame driver has expanded his racing empire with Tony Stewart Racing. The two car drag racing team will feature Pruett and Matt Hagan. Pruett drives a top fuel car; while Hagan drives a funny car. Both drivers are set to begin racing with the 2022 NHRA season.

Pruett, who met Stewart shortly before the outbreak of the pandemic last year, spoke on the new opportunity saying, “it’s a very unique opportunity to control my own destiny with my almost-husband in a sport I’m absolutely passionate abou. That’s an experience and opportunity that nobody would pass up, and I feel like I’ve been prepping my whole life for something like this — to apply all of my talents to something grand in partnership and alongside somebody sharing the same goals.”

Pruett and Stewart are planning on marrying next month. Racing is a family sport; speaking on the fact that they will be married when the season starts, Pruett said, “I think it will be fine, I mean, it’s not going to be flatline, there are going to be pulses in it because we have hearts and they beat. But we know this will work. Seeing things that have happened within other series and teams and tracks, I’ve been able to understand his thought process of solving problems and coming up with solutions. It made me be like, ‘That’s somebody I would love to work with, knowing where his head and heart are.’ Moving forward and working together, this isn’t jumping into something unknown, I’ve seen how he works firsthand.”

Stewart added, “I have an understanding of what has to happen from the professional side, and the racing side is the racing side. You don’t bring the professional stuff to the personal side, and vice versa. Leah is a smart woman, she’s a smart businesswoman, and she understands that there has to be a difference between owner and driver, and I don’t think it creates an unhealthy environment for me to be the car owner and her the driver. I don’t feel like this is going to put us relationship-wise in any type of bind or predicament. We have no reason not to get along.”

Matt Hagan also spoke on his new racing team saying, “Don Schumacher has been a huge chapter in my racing career and we’ve won a whole lot of trophies and multiple championships together. This next chapter with Tony Stewart is one I’m excited for. I’m ready to go racing. I’m jumping into this new program with two feet and I’m confident in the package we’re bringing into the 2022 season with TSR.”

Smoke will house his new drag cars alongside whi sprint cars at his 25,000 square-foot shop in Brownburg, Indiana.

Stewart spoke on his decision to create a new racing team saying, “it wasn’t until I met Leah and started going to races regularly, where I saw the strategy and the preparation firsthand, that I truly understood it. I’ve annoyed everyone in the paddock by asking so many questions, Don Schumacher – Pruett’s current car owner – included, and the more I learned about drag racing, I knew I didn’t want to be a spectator. I wanted to have a role and be all in.”

A 25 year drag racing veteran, Pruett NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series champion in Funny Car who has spent the past eight years in Top Fuel cars.

Matt Hagan is a three time Funny Car champion and is currently the Funny Car points leader for th 2021 season.

A 27 time champion owner in sprint cars, Stewart is one of only a few drivers to ever run the “racing double” of the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day. The “double” pits a driver in an open wheel IndyCar for 500 miles and a 3,400 pound stock car for 600 miles of racing.