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

While Tony Stewart has done a little bit of everything when it comes to motorsports, drag racing was still uncharted territory for the semi-retired racer. At least, that was the case before he rectified that deficiency during his recent trip to the Frank Hawley School of Drag Racing. In the company of his girlfriend and NHRA Top Fuel racer Leah Pruett, Stewart did some runs.

Stewart’s Girlfriend and Drag Racer Leah Pruett Gave Instructions

Tony Stewart and girlfriend Leah Pruett before his run down the drag strip.
Tony Stewart (aka Smoke) Made His First Steps in Drag Racing

With his girlfriend giving him instructions, Tony Steward became familiar with the process and mounted an automatic transmission dragster. A camera crew managed to document his first steps into drag racing and posted a video on Stewart’s YouTube channel. Before going down the drag strip, he had to get used to the “Christmas tree” lighting system which racers currently use to start each run down the strip.

Stewart used a Super Comp car for his first drag racing experience and then he moved into one of Frank Hawley’s Alcohol Dragsters, using an automatic transmission. Hawley, who is the founder of the school, said that they would use such a setup to let new drivers get used to driving an Alcohol or Top Fuel dragster. According to him, this allows drivers to quickly learn what they can and cannot do with the vehicle. Hawley also said that Stewart had experience with fast cars and this was not an issue to him at all.

Frank Hawley Is a World Champion Who Has Been Teaching Drag Racing for Decades

Image from the track at Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School
Tony Stewart (aka Smoke) Made 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 was world-class at everything he had ever done and unsurprisingly had no problems with a drag race car. He added that Stewart was a great and neat guy who was very humble and easy to talk to.

Stewart made around a dozen runs in the two cars, earning a Top Dragster license. Despite the whole event, he has not indicated to have any intention to enter the professional drag racing scene.