It was a historic double for Tony Stewart Racing on Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as Hall of Fame racer Tony Stewart and Funny Car points leader Matt Hagan both claimed victories in front of a capacity crowd at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Dallas Glenn (Pro Stock) also took NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series victories.
Stewart, who made his NHRA debut last season in the Top Alcohol Dragster ranks in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, won in just his fourth career start, going 5.324 seconds at 269.62 mph in the final round in his Mobil 1 dragster. The legendary racer was the runner-up in his NHRA debut at the fall race in Las Vegas last year, picking up a memorable first win on Sunday, now giving Stewart wins in NHRA, NASCAR and IndyCar, as well as victories on every track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“When we raced here last fall, I was just ecstatic to make the finals, but today I told Leah (Pruett, wife and Top Fuel racer), ‘I’m not happy to just be in the finals today. I said I want this,’” Stewart said. “I thoroughly enjoyed four-wide racing. I’ll be honest, to me, it feels like it kind of brings that short track feel, like the first few rounds it felt like heat races. It’s hard not to like it when you win, but I think it’s a cool deal.”
.@MattHagan_FC gets his THIRD win of the season!#Vegas4WideNats • @CampingWorld • @TSRnitro pic.twitter.com/H2YmUskx1k
— NHRA (@NHRA) April 17, 2023
Hagan strengthened his points leads with his third win in the first four races in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, going 3.943 at 326.79 in the final round in his 11,000-horsepower Haas Automation Dodge Charger Hellcat SRT. It gives Hagan his 46th career win in what’s been a dominant start to his 2023 season, plus a memorable moment to share in the winner’s circle with Stewart.
“I went up there, and I was like, ‘Tony’s won, no pressure,’ you know? And then he comes and crawls under the body and says, ‘I just won, you better win. Let’s go.’ But it’s great to share this winner’s circle with Tony Stewart, it’s a huge highlight of my career,” Hagan said.
Hagan finished first in all three rounds, building a 105-point already in the loaded Funny Car ranks. The four-wide events have generally been a struggle for the multi-time champ, but he solved it in impressive fashion on Sunday.
“I’ve done everything in the four-wide from not staging the car on time to red lighting to not knowing which lane I’m in, so you’ve got to kind of dummy it down,” Hagan said. “You get lucky out here, you do a good job, and you try to dumb it down to make sure that you’re figuring out where you’re at and what you’re doing.”
The #Vegas4WideNats Top Fuel Wally belongs to @AntronBrown!@CampingWorld • @AbMotorsports1 pic.twitter.com/nSek3bA5Ws
— NHRA (@NHRA) April 17, 2023
Brown claimed his first win of the Top Fuel season in his 11,000-horsepower Matco Tools Toyota dragster and 72nd in his career, delivering his best run of the day in the finals, going 3.760 at 319.75 in a star-studded final round that also featured Steve Torrence, Brittany Force and Josh Hart. Brown finished second to Force in both of the first two quads but posted a .053 reaction time in the final round to grab his third career victory in Las Vegas.
The final round featured a group with nine career world championships to their credit and Brown delivered a championship-worthy performance, one that could pay big dividends down the road.
“When you go four-wide racing, it’s crazy. It’s kind of a battle royal,” Brown said. “Every round is a tough matchup and that showed in the final round. But I’m super pumped and super proud of my guys. I just want to keep getting better and better. We know when the Countdown comes, you have to be strong, so to come and get that win today, it’s definitely a statement for us. It was a heck of win and I’m super pumped. Again, our main focus is to keep improving and getting better.”
Torrence finished as the runner-up and also moved into the Top Fuel points lead.
In Pro Stock, Dallas Glenn got his redemption from last year’s four-wide race in Las Vegas, picking up his second straight win by going 6.649 at 206.29 in his RAD Torque Systems Chevrolet Camaro. It gave him his sixth career victory and it came on a holeshot, as Glenn posted a .039 reaction time, which was enough to hold off Troy Coughlin’s 6.646 at 206.35 in a final quad that also included Cristian Cuadra and Deric Kramer. A year ago, Glenn lost in the final quad in a race he felt he would have won and the young standout was determined to make up for it this year.
He did that and then some, winning his opening quad and finishing second in the second round to advance to the finals. Glenn was again strong on the starting line when it counted, earning his second career victory at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and staying in the points lead.
“It’s the best car I’ve ever had by far and it feels good to show what this car is capable of,” Glenn said. “I want to keep this momentum going as long as I can. I’m definitely one of those examples of if you put your head down and work hard, you can pretty much achieve all of your dreams. I’m definitely living my dream right now.
“There is no doubt about that. These cars are so much fun to drive. Even when stuff isn’t going your way they’re still so much fun to drive. I’m trying not to look too far ahead, I’m just trying to enjoy the moment right now.”
Coughlin advanced to the final quad by winning the first two quads, earning his ninth career final round berth.
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to action with the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals on April 28-30 at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte.