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Tony Stewart to Highlight Mopar CAP Program While Competing at NHRA Arizona Nationals

Tony Stewart will make his first appearance at Firebird Motorsports Park during the NHRA Arizona Nationals, kicking off Tony Stewart Racing’s 2024 partnership with Mopar Career Automotive Program (CAP).

Mopar CAP is a program designed to cultivate new talent in the automotive industry through strategic alliances with over 100 colleges and trade schools.

Stewart’s participation in the Top Fuel Dragster category, taking over the seat once occupied by Leah Pruett, brings a high level of anticipation. Pruett’s vehicle qualified fourth and reached the semifinals in last year’s Arizona Nationals. Stewart, eager for his first win light in Top Fuel, brings a wealth of experience and success from other racing disciplines, including 49 NASCAR victories, one of which was earned at Phoenix Raceway in 1999.

The partnership with Mopar CAP underscores the importance of nurturing young talent in motorsports and the automotive industry.

“The Mopar CAP program is very crucial to the automotive industry,” said Stewart. “There’s such a shortage of skilled, talented people in the workforce and the automotive industry that programs like Mopar CAP provide an opportunity for kids that want to be in this industry. It helps manufacturers and dealers have access to these students while they’re in school, so I feel like it’s a big advantage.”  

The Arizona Nationals hold special significance for Stewart. It is a quasi-home race, and Stewart splits time with his wife, Leah Pruett, in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. 

“Pomona and Phoenix are both big races for us. Obviously, Pomona is really close to Redlands, California, where Leah (Pruett) grew up and was raised, so that’s definitely a home race for her. Having her family there to watch us run wasn’t necessarily more pressure, but you definitely want to perform well in front of your family. With both of us living in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, Phoenix is definitely a home race for us, so to speak. It definitely means a lot to us since we spend just as much time in Arizona as we do in Indiana. We have a lot of friends and fans in Lake Havasu that are going to the race, so we definitely want to perform well there as well,” added Stewart.

Despite this being his first competition at Firebird Motorsports Park, Stewart feels prepared, thanks to the support and insight from teammates like Leah Pruett and Matt Hagan.

“I think having Leah and Matt (Hagan) as teammates, that has really helped me understand the nuances of a new race track like Phoenix because it’s not new to them. They’ve raced a lot of times there and just having their knowledge will expedite the learning process for me, so I think it’ll be a smooth transition getting ready to go to the track that’s new for me.”

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This story was originally published on April 1, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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