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.”
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 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