Drag Illustrated Issue 169, June/July 2021 - Page 81

“ When you get to teach somebody something , you actually learn at the same time . You just become more involved ,” Pruett believes .

you would expect , like throw a party , high five , fist pump , can ’ t believe it . It was “ OK , yeah , but I really would like to work on this ” and “ I could feel this , but shouldn ’ t this happen here ?” I was like , “ Alright , well , I guess I ’ ll put the balloons away .” But people would expect this huge amount of excitement . His excitement comes in a different form of “ OK , what ’ s next and how can I be better ?” which was surprising to me too .
I guess I shouldn ’ t have been so surprised because I ’ m the same way when I race . When you take something so serious and you ’ re doing it , it ’ s not this like gleeful , joyful , have fun thing because you ’ re working really hard and you ’ re so focused on doing that right . Maybe if there was a win light that came with it , honestly that might get the reaction everybody hoped for .
Tony , talking about the next steps , people have tried to predict whether you ’ re going to come out with a Top Fuel car or what comes next . Do you have plans to race ? What ’ s your next step ? PRUETT : Turning in the license paperwork maybe . STEWART : Yeah , we can do that , and everybody asks if I ’ m licensed yet and I haven ’ t . Everybody asks why not . All I need to do is turn my paperwork in and pay the fee and I can have a
Top Fuel license . But to me it ’ s disrespectful to the people that have worked their entire life to have that opportunity to get a Top Fuel license and how hard they ’ ve had to work to get there , to just go to Vegas for two days and make six runs and be able to turn my paperwork in and get a license when I don ’ t even have a car to drive . I don ’ t have plans to race . So to me it ’ s disrespectful to all the people . I respect the industry . I respect the people . I respect Aaron Stanfield , for example . I watched him run the Factory Stock car and then get in a Pro Stock car and win a national race . That ’ s somebody that ’ s worked his butt off to get where he ’ s at and have that opportunity .
To me , it ’ s disrespectful to just come in and go make six runs and then say , “ Hey , I got a Top Fuel license .” I have more respect for the drivers that have those licenses and race each week and bust their ass to have had that opportunity to get to that level . So that ’ s the number one thing , the drag racing industry asks , “ Hey , did you get your license ?” No , I haven ’ t got my license , but this is why : I respect the industry too much to just go get a license for no reason .
Don Prudhomme even , after we tested at Charlotte , he goes , “ Ah , I heard you ’ re licensed . Congratulations .” I ’ m like , “ No , I didn ’ t get a license .” But here ’ s somebody that everybody respects and he didn ’ t understand why until I told him , and then after I got through telling him , he goes , “ That ’ s really cool , man . That ’ s cool that you respect those guys that way .” And so it ’ s just a perspective that nobody really looks at , but I ’ m having fun doing it .
What would it take for you to decide to put together a drag racing team ? STEWART : I enjoy it , I love the sport . Every week that I go , I love the sport even more , so it ’ s fun to go . But I think of my career and my life in motorsports like a Thanksgiving plate . I had big family Thanksgiving dinners and you filled your plate full because the next time you came through there , something you like might not even be there anymore . That ’ s how I think of my life in racing . Between four Cup teams , an Xfinity team , two sprint car teams , a TQ [ midget ] team , a TQ series , a sprint car series , a racetrack , the new series with SRX , there is not a lot of room on the plate anymore to add things . So for me to do any more in drag racing than what I ’ m currently doing , something else would have to go away and I ’ m not ready to get anything off the plate yet . DI
June / July 2021 DragIllustrated . com | Drag Illustrated | 81