Tony Stewart Racing Las Vegas Advance for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals

Tony Stewart Racing

  • The NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the fourth event on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series’ 21-race calendar in 2023. Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) brings its two full-time entries – one in Top Fuel for 10-time Top Fuel winner Leah Pruett and one in Funny Car for three-time Funny Car champion Matt Hagan. Hagan delivered TSR’s second victory of the season in the prior event at Pomona Dragstrip, driving his Haas Automation Dodge SRT Hellcat Funny Car to his 45th career victory in the 63rd NHRA Winternationals.
  • Coming into Las Vegas, Pruett is sixth in the Top Fuel standings, 73 points behind leader Justin Ashley. Hagan leads the Funny Car standings with a 26-point advantage over Ron Capps.
  • Hagan has now won multiple events in 11 consecutive seasons. That’s the longest active streak in the series and it ties him with Robert Hight and retired Pro Stock driver Warren Johnson for the third-longest in NHRA history. The only drivers who have earned multiple victories in more consecutive seasons are John Force (18 seasons from 1990-2007) and Greg Anderson (12 seasons from 2001-2012).
  • Pruett enters Las Vegas representing Code 3 Associates on her blue Top Fuel dragster. Hagan, meanwhile, sports the white, red, gray and black colors of Haas Automation on his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car.
  • Code 3 Associates, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization specializing in animal rescue and recovery in disaster areas. Formed in 1985, Code 3 Associates has evolved from one unpaid volunteer to at least 75 professional responders around the country, which includes animal welfare, law enforcement, fire, EMS and veterinary specialists from the United States and Canada. While its focus is animals and their owners, Code 3 Associates trains its responders to the standards of human rescue, and Code 3 Associates also provides training to conduct thorough investigations into animal welfare, all of which is accredited by Colorado State University (CSU) and the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
  • Haas Automation, founded by Gene Haas in 1983, is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. The company manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. All Haas products are constructed in the company’s 1.1-million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California, and distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets.
  • The Four-Wide Nationals will mark Pruett’s 197th career Top Fuel start. It’ll be her 16th overall start at Las Vegas and her fifth in the Four-Wide Nationals. For Hagan, the Four-Wide Nationals will be his 319th career Funny Car start. It’ll be his 28th overall start at Las Vegas and his fifth in the Four-Wide Nationals.
  • Pruett is looking for her first victory at the Four-Wide Nationals. She was the runner-up to Steve Torrence in the 2018 fall event. Pruett earned one No. 1 qualifier at Las Vegas on Nov. 2, 2019 with an ET of 3.654 seconds at 330.47 mph, which set a new track record. She celebrated a Pro Mod win at the fall Las Vegas race in 2011 and in the fall of 2021, Pruett reached the final round in the Factory Stock Showdown series before losing to Aaron Stanfield.
  • Coming off his victory at Pomona, Hagan is seeking back-to-back wins as he rolls into the Four-Wide Nationals. He has four wins at Last Vegas in the fall – 2017 when his 3.942 ET at 329.42 mph defeated Courtney Force’s 4.020 ET, 320.05 mph run, 2019 when his 3.876 ET at 331.36 mph defeated Jonnie Lindberg (3.945 mph at 321.12 mph), 2020 when his 3.914 ET at 326.40 mph defeated Ron Capps (4.463 ET at 173.70 mph) and 2022 when Hagan’s 3.896 ET at 330.23 mph defeated Robert Hight’s 6.157 ET, 111.12 mph run. Hagan also finished runner-up to Bob Tasca III in the 2021 Four-Wide Nationals.
  • Hagan will look to earn his fourth No. 1 start at Las Vegas, but his first since the track was reconfigured to four lanes. He scored his first No. 1 qualifier in October 2009 (4.030 ET at 313.88 mph), his second in November 2014 (3.983 ET at 322.42 mph) and his third in April 2015 (4.007 ET at 318.02 mph).
  • DYK? April is Animal Cruelty Prevention Month. Code 3 Associates offers training for individuals that want to take their career to the next level by becoming a Certified Animal Cruelty Investigator. The Essential Animal Services Training (EAST) provides law enforcement and animal welfare/animal control personnel with training that equips them with the tools needed, not only for duties in animal control, but also animal cruelty investigations. Visit for more information.

Leah Pruett

After starting the season with three car-to-car battles down the strip, how different will The Four-Wide Nationals be?

“I think the four-wide event comes at an appropriate time in the season. The off-season rust is kicked off and everyone is moving and grooving in working order. We shook off all the single passes of the off-season, gathered a couple dozen side-by-side hits and now turn it up with the focus of four-wide.”

Explain the difference in the staging process for a four-wide event.

“This answer can be very lengthy, but ultimately crews, crew chiefs, and drivers need to exercise maximum situational awareness on the line. We have to pay attention to what all of the communication signs mean, because so much can change so fast. Someone can break, so drivers have to know what bulbs we expect to be lit or not and therefore not get timed-out. The basic principles are the same, pre-stage and get staged before seven seconds of the other person fully-staging. In this case, it still takes just one person to be fully staged after all pre-staged to start the timer, so if you are waiting for two or three people to get fully staged, then think you have seven seconds, you are in for a rude awakening. Basically you want to get staged as soon as possible because the alignment of four cars to get to the stage beams eats up five to 10 seconds on average, so you’re already burning more fuel than normal. Balancing your cadence is key for consistency.”

You’ll be representing Code 3 Associates at Vegas. How special is their mission of animal rescue and recovery to you?

“It’s safe to say that I am a huge animal lover, many times more than humans. To be a part of expanding their awareness to increase more animal rescue missions hits deep. My heart hurts for those in need that are helpless and that is exactly what Code 3 Associates does. They provide the resources to offer help out of danger to safety and that is what makes my heart full. Wallys and animal rescue are an odd combination, but they are the top of my priority list.”

What do you want to get out of this race weekend?

“I am working to get a lower median reaction time and garnish a string of validation that the moves we are making with our hot rod are in the right direction. We made wholesale changes earlier and are now in more of the fine-tuning realm, so responsiveness and validation is what I’m looking for. Those two elements are the yellow brick road that will lead us to Wally contention this weekend.”

Matt Hagan

After starting the season with three car-to-car battles down the strip, how different will The Four-Wide Nationals be?

“The Four-Wide Nationals are always different. Everything we do is repetition and doing the same thing every time. Burning out the same, taking care of the clutch, backing up the same, staging the car, how much fuel we burn on the burnout and getting up to the line to run. Four-wide changes all of that. You have three other cars you have to deal with. I think everyone does a good job of hustling up there and getting the crew chiefs to raise a hand and turn the knob to stage. Sometimes, you can have cars that throw the timing off for everyone. Sometimes you have to put extra fuel in the car to be on the safe side of things. Four-wide is also different as far as the racing goes. I don’t know if the other two cars left the starting line. Sometimes, if your car is beat up or on fire, you lift. On race day, not knowing where those other two cars are, you have to go to the end. If you hope to advance, you have to get to the end since only two out of the four move on and it’s tough when you can’t see the other two cars. You have to be mindful of parts and pieces and ask yourself as a driver whether it’s worth going down all the way.”  

Explain the difference in the staging process for a four-wide event.

“The staging at a four-wide event is challenging. I have not staged a car, I’ve red-lit there, I’ve done about everything you can do in a car there. I rely on my crew chief and myself. Dickie (Venables – crew chief) puts his foot in the bulb, even though I know which lane I’m in. It is another indicator of where I’m at. He’ll blink the bulb a couple times so I can see it. It’s easy to get confused up there, so you really have to pay attention during the staging process.”

You’re returning to the Haas Automation Funny Car after pulling it into winner’s circle at Pomona. How special would it be to earn them back-to-back wins?

“The Haas Automation car was special for me to run. To be able to put a win on the board for them for the first time in the NHRA was pretty incredible. I thought it was super special. It would be really cool to pull down another win in that car in Vegas. Your odds are pretty good if you have a fast car. We always seem to do well in Vegas in the Fall, so we have good data to go off of. We’re still learning this new car a bit, but I feel like we have great momentum winning the first two of three races. We’ll have good races and bad races and that’s just the way of the sport. Our guys are doing a great job of putting the car together. Dickie is really doing a great job making the calls on Sunday. I feel like I’m driving my butt off, so all of that is a great combination for Sunday and try to put this Haas Automation car back in the winner’s circle.”

What do you want to get out of this race weekend?

“The four-wide races are so different, so I try not to put a lot of weight on them. Other than the four-wide event at Charlotte, they’re so different from the rest of our season. I want to go out there and have fun. I want to stay focused and be ready for anything that can happen. It’ll be good to get back out there and lay some numbers down. I think we have a good chance at winning this thing, so we’ll see what we can do.”

Tony Stewart Racing PR

Spread the love