NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

Dodge brand extends NHRA partnership with Tony Stewart Racing

The Dodge brand has announced a partnership extension with the Tony Stewart Racing nitro organization to continue fielding two nitro-burning entries (Top Fuel and Funny Car) in the NHRA Mission Drag Racing Series.
17 Jun 2024
Posted by NHRA.com staff
Tony Stewart Racing

The Dodge brand has announced a partnership extension with the Tony Stewart Racing nitro organization to continue fielding two nitro-burning entries (Top Fuel and Funny Car) in the NHRA Mission Drag Racing Series.

The Dodge brand’s partnership with TSR, started in 2022, has resulted in 15 NHRA national events wins to date as well as the 2023 NHRA Mission World Funny Car Championship, captured by Direct Connection Dodge//SRT Hellcat driver Matt Hagan. In 2024, Stewart announced he was assuming the seat of the TSR Direct Connection Dodge//SRT Top Fuel car in place of his wife, Leah Pruett, who stepped away from the driver’s seat this year to start a family with team owner and husband Stewart.

“The Dodge brand is excited to extend our partnership with an elite, winning organization like Tony Stewart Racing,” said Matt McAlear, Dodge brand CEO – Stellantis. "Dodge owns a historic legacy in NHRA competition, and racing icon and legend Tony Stewart, four-time NHRA world champion Matt Hagan and 18-time NHRA event winner Leah Pruett are the perfect ambassadors to represent our brand and our Direct Connection performance parts line. Along with our Dodge Brotherhood of Muscle, I look forward to continuing to cheer on Tony, Matt, Leah, and the entire TSR organization.”

Hagan (12) and Pruett (3) have combined for 15 NHRA national events wins since Dodge partnered with TSR in 2022, with Hagan capturing six wins on his way to the 2023 Funny Car crown. Pruett placed third in the 2023 Top Fuel points with two wins in the TSR Direct Connection Dodge//SRT dragster.

Stewart, the former NASCAR, IndyCar, and USAC series champion, is a NASCAR Hall of Famer who shocked the motorsports community in 2023 by entering a fourth racing discipline, drag racing, and now competes full-time at the highest level in NHRA Top Fuel competition. Stewart, who placed second in the Top Alcohol Dragster class national points in 2023, continues to gain experience in his rookie season in the seat of the TSR Direct Connection Dodge//SRT dragster as the legendary racer seeks his first-ever Top Fuel win.

Stewart’s two-car operation has been one of the NHRA’s leading professional operations since entering the sport in 2022 with the Dodge brand and continues to be a front-runner throughout the 20-race NHRA national tour. The man known as “Smoke” in the racing world has been one of the most popular competitors in the NHRA this year with long lines at the TSR pit area for Stewart’s autographs and photos.

“Having strong OEM support is crucial in all forms of motorsports,” said Stewart. “To have Dodge re-sign with TSR is great. We are all excited about where the program has been up until this point, and we are all excited about where it’s going. It’s been a big change on the dragster side with Leah (Pruett) driving in the past, as far as the specs we had to change in the offseason. It’s been more of a challenge for the crew chiefs, but Dodge has been very supportive from the time we had the first discussion about creating TSR Nitro. I’m very appreciative of their support and looking forward to an awesome future with them.”

Hagan, the reigning NHRA Mission Funny Car world champion, has been associated with the Dodge brand for 16 seasons, dating back to 2009. Hagan has made drag racing history with four historic marks, including becoming the first Funny Car driver to break the four-second barrier (3.995 in 2011) and 3.80 seconds (3.799 in 2015) and to reach 330 mph (2015) and 335 mph (2016) at 1,000 feet.  

The Virginia racer is a four-time NHRA World Funny Car champion, all in Dodge-bodied and Mopar Hemi-powered cars, and joined legends Don “the Snake” Prudhomme and Kenny Bernstein with four Funny Car crowns in NHRA competition. Hagan has recorded 51 NHRA national event victories, fourth on the all-time Funny Car win list.

“It’s really awesome to hear Dodge is extending their relationship with TSR,” said Hagan. “I have had such a long career with Dodge. I’ve been able to carry the Dodge banner for close to 16 years and I’ve been able to win four championships and 51 races with the brand. The parts and pieces and support they give us is amazing and allows us to be the best on the racetrack. It’s great to have such a long partnership. We’ve been able to build a championship team and I am honored to be a part of that. Dodge has a great relationship with TSR and Tony (Stewart). It’s been awesome watching him grow.”

Pruett, whose relationship with Dodge and Mopar first began in 2016, continues to travel to races and is actively involved in the TSR organization and team strategies.

“This extension represents many aspects of our partnership — not only our enthusiasm to continue on-track success for the Dodge brand with our team and loyal fans, but also as a pathway for Direct Connection to continue to connect with their customers through an established partnership,” said Pruett. “I hold Dodge and Direct Connection close to my heart and I am thrilled to continue our partnership.” 

The TSR Direct Connection Dodge//SRT machines have competed in eight 2024 NHRA Mission events this year, with Hagan scoring two Funny Car wins and currently ranked fourth in the class points, while Stewart currently holds the ninth spot in the Top Fuel standings. Two more NHRA Mission events are scheduled in June, the NHRA Virginia Nationals on June 21-23 in Dinwiddie, Va., and NHRA Summit Racing Nationals on June 28-30 in Norwalk, Ohio.