Six wins pushed the momentum which carried over for three losses that made a fourth championship possible. That’s racing…

It was 2023 NHRA season closer in Pomona, CA for the In-N-Out Burger Finals in November. Matt Hagan, Robert Hight, and Bob Tasca III came in looking ahead to a possible championship. All three took the first round wins. All three dropped the second round. The racing points math added up with Hagan on top.

Matt Hagan is from Virginia with family ties to the Shelor dealerships in Christiansburg and, yes, the Pulaski County Motorsports Park (Motor Mile Speedway). As such, there was a VIP, fan celebration open house at Shelor Toyota on Saturday, December 16th. Hagan has done this before with championship celebrations but this one was just a little different. This one included NASCAR champion and race team owner, Tony Stewart.

Stewart is a 3 time NASCAR champion, an IndyCar champion, USAC champion and part of Stewart-Haas Racing and NHRA Tony Stewart Racing owner. The latter team includes Matt Hagan and Leah Pruett, who also happens to be Stewart’s wife. Tony is driving, of course, with the SRX series that he has a stake in and is also taking the wheel on the drag strip. When asked about preferences he said it isn’t about that. “It’s not about NASCAR over drag racing or even the speed”, he said. “It is liking the experience of driving and liking the car you’re in and being in that moment of it.”

Tony Stewart and Leah Pruett (center) with fans at Matt Hagan championship party

All three were present and pleasant and the fans came by to talk racing and get some autographs. The food was, in short, marvelous. (Yes, of course I had a few bites…) Hagan’s funny car was there and trophies were staged in rows with a huge Christmas tree at center. Helmets, suits and displays showcased a winning career.

Matt Hagan (right) with James Clay of Bimmerworld (Bimmerworld Racing / Dublin VA

Matt sported a proud mustache and a bright, white cowboy hat. Stewart and Leah sat together welcoming fans and guests as Matt stood center stage with the tree and trophies for photos.

As far as racing Christmas parties go this one was pretty good…

*And yes, there were questions asked about the future of the “Pulaski County” race track. The answers were along the lines of “we don’t know” and there are “still some plans to be settled” and “details are being reviewed”. The definitive answer is that there wasn’t one. We’ll all wait for 2024 and further news.

Thank you, Matt Hagan, Tony Stewart and Leah Pruett… And the folks at Shelor, for opening the doors and allowing the fans and friends to share some of those championships.

Photo Gallery – Matt Hagan Championship Party at Shelor Toyota – December 16, 2023

The chips fell on the side of Tony Stewart this weekend. He wasn’t driving but had his hand in it from Phoenix to Gainesville.

Stewart-Haas driver Chase Briscoe clocked his first Cup win at Phoenix in the Ruoff Mortgage 500. NHRA driver Matt Hagan notched a win at the Gatornationals for Tony Stewart Racing.

For NASCAR, this new car is still presenting itself. Drivers are still finding the limits and pit crews are still rolling with one lug instead of five. However, for Phoenix the Cup race played out with several drivers keeping their performance running well throughout. Race winner Briscoe was top 10 in both stages one and two. Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Tyler Reddick were top 10 at the finish and the stages also.

The Xfinity race held similar even though the car is much the same as the previous season. Noah Gragson, Trevor Bayne and Brandon Jones were top five for the stages and the finish with Gragson taking the final win.

This weekend, of course, NASCAR is back at it in Atlanta. NHRA takes a little time before they go 4-wide in Vegas the first of April. What is big this weekend is IMSA getting back at it after the ROLEX 24 back in January. Mobil 1 – Twelve Hours of Sebring is on this week.

Virginia is looking ahead for April and NASCAR at Richmond and Martinsville. This weekend, another track with big NASCAR history gets officially under way. South Boston Speedway is on with their Danville Toyota opener. There is no wait necessary to catch real late model racing action. SoBo always has a show and NASCAR AAPWS National Champion and track Division Champion Peyton Sellers is set to defend the titles.

Racing doesn’t have to wait for the NASCAR Cup circus to come along. Great racing tickets are going to be hitting the weekly series short racks throughout Virginia and the USA with weather going into Spring. Don’t wait – Go Racing!