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Former open-wheel and current Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) driver Paul Tracy got a full-on blast of the NHRA’s “sensory-overload” experience last weekend at Chandler, Ariz.’s Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
After standing between two nitro-burning, 11,000-horsepower land rockets in Top Fuel and Funny Car competition at the Arizona Nationals as a guest of new NHRA team owner Tony Stewart, Tracy was at once overwhelmed and fascinated.
He said, “I’m blown away. I can’t believe how fast these things are. I watch on TV all the time, but I’ve never stood right here on the [starting] line. It’s insane.”
The trackside announcer suggested that SRX co-owner Stewart launch a drag-racing version of his popular six-race, short-track series that will return to CBS this summer. And Tracy quipped, “I’d have a hard time putting a bumper on somebody then, if we did that.”
Tracy offered a sneak peek at the 2022 SRX Series, saying, “We’re excited for the new season coming up, starting in June. We start in Florida. Six weeks in a row with Tony, It’s a lot of fun. We’ve got a lot of new drivers coming in: some IndyCar champions. . . Ryan Newman’s coming in. . . So it’s going to be a great season 2 of SRX.”
According to Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal, new series CEO Don Hawk still is crafting a driver lineup to be announced but he has said that about 20 drivers are expected to compete this season. The inaugural season received title sponsorship from the NHRA’s title sponsor, Camping World.
The 2022 SRX schedule kicks off Saturday, June 18 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla. South Boston (Va.) Speedway will host the next one, before action returns to Stafford Motor Speedway at Stafford Springs, Conn. The second half of the series will take place at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in Tennessee, I-55 Raceway at Pevely, Mo., and July 23 at Sharon Speedway at Hartford, Ohio.
Leah Pruett Says ‘No Thanks’
Leah Pruett, Stewart’s wife and a top-tier NHRA Top Fuel driver, says she isn’t likely to be in the SRX drivers mix.
“Would I love to? I would. Absolutely,” Pruett said. “That’s what that series was made for—superstars of different disciplines coming into the same race cars and showing their driving capabilities. Now, if I get out there someday, maybe my entire purpose would be to show how terrible I am. I don’t know.
“I can learn,” she said. “Unfortunately, I don’t carry the talent for roundy-round racing, because I haven’t spent any time in that discipline. A lot of people think a racer’s a racer so you’re just going to get in anything and be successful. And I don’t believe I am. Someday, if Tony and I ever got to spend some time—I’m not saying practicing in an SRX car, just if I got in his sprint car—then yeah, I would.”
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