Gators Butcosk 3 9 2024 661
Tony Stewart (right) and his wife, Leah Pruett, discuss car performance during the Gatornationals at Florida’s Gainesville Raceway. (Matt Butcosk photo)

INSIDER: Stewart Adapts To ‘The Drag Racing Way’

In less than two weeks, Tony Stewart will celebrate his 53rd birthday while facing the prospects of first-time fatherhood. So it’s only natural he’d be shifting gears – mentally.

But Stewart has already been doing that for the past four years — as he evolved from bachelor, racer and businessman to Leah Pruett’s boyfriend, fiancé, husband, race team boss and partner-in-grime.

And, this past winter, Stewart became the caretaker of Pruett’s 12,000-horsepower NHRA Top Fuel Dragster.

While she takes a hiatus to try to start a family, Stewart has shifted from 500-mile races to ones that last fewer than four seconds. He has traded a miles-per-gallon mindset to gallons-per-mile.

He has junked conventional racing wisdom of strategizing about tire and fuel management to The Drag Racing Way, which former Funny Car favorite Dean Skuza defined this way: “We’re not like NASCAR. We don’t conserve fuel. We don’t conserve tires. We don’t conserve nothing. What’s more American than that?”

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