Three-time NASCAR Cup champion surprises on first day of qualifying of his NHRA debut.
To no one’s real surprise, three-time NASCAR Cup champion Tony Stewart proved Friday that he has a knack for drag racing.
In his first-ever competitive NHRA pass, the multi-time, multi-series motorsports champion blasted to the provisional No. 2 qualifying position in the 16-car Top Alcohol Dragster order at the Nevada Nationals.
His 5.219-second, 276.52-mph solo blast down the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway quarter-mile was just .021 of a second off early leader Kim Parker’s 5.198-second elapsed time but faster than Parker’s speed (272.34 mph).
Tony Stewart was the No. 2 qualifier after the first round of Top Alcohol Dragster qualifying on Friday at Las Vegas.
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After his first run that counts in an event, Stewart said he felt “relief” and said, “Now it’s just like testing all over again. The first run with a lot of people around, there were a lot of distractions in the staging lanes and stuff. To go up and do a nice, solid run, happy with that. That was a really good lap.”
Before he made his Session 2 pass in the McPhillips Racing entry, Stewart said he “had to shift gears a little bit, put my work clothes back on, and get to watch Matt (Hagan) and Leah (wife Pruett) run. It’s good to get a break and have some time outside the car for a minute.”
Stewart owns Hagan’s Funny Car and Pruett’s Top Fuel dragster.
In his Friday evening showing, Stewart for the first time had another driver in the opposite lane—Parker, of Graham, Wash.
His second run was more anti-climactic. He shut off the engine early in the pass and settled for a 10.974 at 68.69 mph. He remained second in the lineup overnight.
He and the rest of the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series class will have one more qualifying pass Saturday morning. The first two rounds of Top Alcohol Dragster eliminations will follow in the afternoon.
Keyword: Video: How Tony Stewart Fared in First NHRA Dragster Pass at Las Vegas>