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Maddi Gordon Gets First Career Win in Top Alcohol Funny Car, Tony Stewart Goes Back to Back in Top Alcohol Dragster at Cleetus & Cars Crossover Event

NHRA photo

Cleetus and Cars has quickly become a fan-favorite event, and returning to Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) for a fourth year in a row kicks off the month of May for many in the surrounding area. 

Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car were once again part of the headlining event at the drag strip at IRP, making their inaugural appearance at the 2023 edition. This unique crossover event gave fans a taste of TAD and TAFC as they competed in a regional event in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series North Central Division. Qualifying began on Friday for the TAD and TAFC, with eliminations on Saturday.

Maddi Gordon photo

Tony Stewart and Maddi Gordon collected Top Alcohol wins in their respective classes.

In the midst of his rookie season in Top Fuel, No. 1 qualifier Stewart temporarily returned to his TAD as the defending event champion to defeat Gary Pritchett in the final round. 

Gordon, daughter of three-time TAFC world champion Doug Gordon, won her first class title when she defeated Chris Foster in the final.

Tony Stewart Racing photo

Stewart, who also competed on Friday night in the Indy 800 and nearly won the event, piloted the McPhillips Family TAD to a 5.308 at 270.21 MPH win when Pritchett red-lit at the starting line, sweeping the event.

“Had an absolute blast this weekend at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park,” stated Stewart. “Thank you to Cleetus McFarland for letting me be part of the Indy 800. Congrats to Zach Walker on the win. Was fun battling him at the end.” 

“It was great getting the McPhillips Racing band back together in the Top Alcohol Dragster. We got the win for the second year in a row. I had so much fun with those guys,” Stewart added. 

Tony Stewart Racing photo

Stewart made his way to the finals after defeating reigning TAD world champion Julie Nataas in the semifinals. Pritchett, driving for Randy Meyer Racing, raced Stewart’s teammate Mike Coughlin and outran his to 5.388 at 267.06 MPH with a 5.300 at 268.81 MPH to advance to the finals.

Maddi Gordon photo

Gordon, who is in the midst of her rookie season in TAFC, clocked a 5.501 at 266.27 MPH to defeat Foster’s 5.536 at 264.55 MPH. Maddi qualified fifth and raced Stan Sipos of Victoria, B.C., in the first round, and then later raced long-time family rival Sean Bellemeur of Bartone Bros. Bellemeur red-lit against Gordon. Foster made his way to the finals after defeating Phil Esz.

“Pinch me… this is unbelievable!!” shared Gordon. “My first-ever TAFC win—a dream come true is an understatement! I am so beyond thankful to my family for letting me drive this amazing hot rod.”

This story was originally published on May 6, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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