February 25, 2022

NHRA Arizona Nationals
Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park
Chandler, AZ
February 25-27, 2022

Sparkling Ice +Caffeine Top Fuel Dragster

There was a lot of newness surrounding you as you came into this season – how does it feel to have a full race weekend under your belt as you now turn your attention to Phoenix?

“The Phoenix race can’t come soon enough for us. We’re very pleased with the place we are right now, which is a position to continue to chip away at the performance. It’s very common for new teams and cars to throw tune-up darts in the dark hoping to at least land on the board. We’ve been hitting the board since day one and narrowing in on the bullseye, which is the 3.6-second zone. It’s much better to be under-aggressive and work our way up than over-aggressive and back into it. It’s an exciting time to transition so soon for just getting everything shook down, to focusing on faster performance. Many of the teams that were running in the 60s were also blowing up every run and killing blocks and superchargers. We don’t want to be doing that, hence the importance of our Sparkling Ice dragster running fast and healthy.”

You were able to test at Phoenix Feb. 9-12. How valuable were those days to you and your team and how helpful will they be for this weekend’s event at Phoenix?

“Racing on the same surface we tested on is important and will provide a valuable baseline heading into qualifying. It looks to be much cooler than when we tested there, so we can’t wait to wick it up. Phoenix is home to two of my Wally’s, and I would love to add to the Arizona Wally family. I also consider this race somewhat of a hometown race, as an Arizona resident, but also because I believe any racetrack that you can drive to in just a couple hours, as a racer or fan or family, really qualifies it as a home track to me.”

What are the characteristics of the track at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park and what challenges does it pose to make a quick run?

“The cool conditions, low altitude and low humidity in Phoenix make for a quick run. The atmospheric conditions factor into a successful run there, rather than the surface of the track.”

Between your test at Phoenix, your race last weekend at Pomona, and now your return to Phoenix for the second race of the NHRA schedule, is this stretch of West Coast racing helpful because it allows you to work in a similar climate for three weeks and hone routines because everyone is together, or is it a bit of a grind because it’s nearly a month on the road away from the team’s home base in Brownsburg, Indiana?

“This West Coast stretch at the start of the year is always challenging because there is no ‘warming up’ to the season. The parts you order and the people you put in place are fixed, and you’re committed to making that program work for those races. You’re not able to run back to the shop to build this piece or swap that part. So, this swing demands very thorough attention to detail. It also poses an immediate opportunity to have quick gratification after a never-ending couple of months of nonstop work. It’s nice for us all to immediately get a couple chances to get some feel-good win lights. By the end of Phoenix, everyone is going to be looking forward to catching our breath, but right now, we’re full steam, hammer down.”

Leah Pruett

Source: True Speed Communication on behalf of Tony Stewart Racing