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  • Writer's pictureNick Cavanaugh @Car_Sick_Nick

Pruett and Hagan Back on the Track in Special PRO Superstar Shootout

Tony Stewart Racing kicks off 2024 with Leah Pruett and Matt Hagan taking part in the exciting SCAG Power Equipment PRO Super Shootout

Leah Pruett and Matt Hagan of Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) are gearing up for their debut in the 2024 season. They have their sights set on the prestigious $250,000 top prize at the SCAG Power Equipment PRO Super Shootout presented by Johnson's Horsepowered Garage in Bradenton, Fla. This event is bringing together the best drag racers for the largest payout in drag racing history.

Both Pruett and Hagan had impressive finishes in the 2023 national tour, with Hagan winning his fourth NHRA World Funny Car championship and Pruett coming close to clinching the NHRA Top Fuel title. This new season-opening event is the perfect opportunity for them to showcase their skills once again.

For Pruett, this will be her only Top Fuel appearance in 2024 as she and her husband Tony Stewart plan to start a family. However, she will still play a crucial role in the TSR team as a driving coach and strategist throughout the season.

Pruett is excited about the PRO Superstar Shootout and is looking forward to being with the team, working on new projects, and engaging with fans. She acknowledges that it will be a lot to take in this week, but she is ready for the challenge.

While Pruett takes a step back from the driver's seat, Stewart will take her place in the TSR Dodge//SRT Top Fueler and begin his own Top Fuel career in the NHRA Mission Foods Pro Series season opener. But for now, Pruett's focus is on winning this week's special "All-Star" event and claiming the $250,000 prize.

"I feel like a bear emerging from hibernation, famished after months without a meal," Pruett expressed. "We're all hungry, and securing a win this early in the season is a tremendous boost for our organization and crew members. PRO is offering a substantial prize, and we're determined to make the most of it this week."

Stewart, a renowned champion in NASCAR, IndyCar, and USAC, confessed that he had doubts about whether Leah and crew chief Neal Strausbaugh would want him to take over the driving duties for 2024. However, they had faith in his abilities, which he had proven in the Alcohol Dragster class by finishing second in the 2023 NHRA national points.

"Making a decision like this must have been incredibly difficult for Leah," stated Stewart, a NASCAR Hall of Famer. "I'm immensely proud of her. We had discussed starting a family, and this was her choice. I fully supported her, whether she wanted to do it now or in the future. I feel deeply honored that Leah and Neal believed I was the right driver to step in for her. It's a privilege to drive the Top Fuel dragster for my wife and this team."

Hagan enters the PRO Superstar Shootout with great confidence, piloting his JHG Dodge//SRT Hellcat Funny Car, following an exceptional NHRA championship run in 2023. Hagan's TSR crew remains intact and is determined to pursue another title this year, along with the enticing $250,000 first-place prize awaiting them this weekend.

I am entering the new season as the defending champion, but it's important to remember that last year is in the past. This year is 2024, and we need to start fresh. We plan to bring the same strong performance we had at the end of last year. It's exciting to race at the Bradenton facility for the first time, but we know that everyone will be gunning for us after winning the championship.

The opportunity to race for $250,000 in each pro class is huge. Money is a great motivator for everyone, and big-money races always attract a lot of attention. This new race structure is something to look forward to, and it gives us a chance to make a big impact right from the start. However, we still need to stay focused and work hard throughout the season to defend our past accomplishments. Additionally, this will be Leah's last race for a while, so I want to help TSR score another 'Double Up.'

The action kicks off this Thursday (Feb. 8) at Bradenton Motorsports Park with testing starting at 10 a.m. EST. Pro qualifying will take place at 6:15 p.m. On Friday (Feb. 9), pro qualifying is scheduled for 12 p.m. EST and 3:15 p.m. Saturday's events will begin at 1 p.m. with opening ceremonies, followed by the first round of Pro eliminations at 2 p.m.


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