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Tony Stewart announced Thursday that he will race full-time in the NHRA's Top Fuel class in 2024, taking over the seat that had belonged to his wife, Leah Pruett. Pruett will temporarily step out from behind the driver's seat as she and Stewart look to start a family.

Stewart will move to Top Fuel one season after competing full-time in the NHRA Top Alcohol class, where he finished second in the Rookie of the Year standings. Pruett, meanwhile, puts her career on hold one year after falling just short of winning the Top Fuel championship for the drag racing arm of Tony Stewart Racing.

"My goal is to not suck, my goal is to not get fired by my wife, and not kill myself driving this thing," Stewart told reporters. "I think we'll be fine, it's just gonna be a matter of time. Every time we've jumped into a different type of race car in different forms of motorsports, there's always a learning curve. And this is no different. This has probably been one of the hardest things that I've ever had to learn to drive.

"I don't know if I'm not smart or what, but I keep throwing big challenges in my racing career. And this was one that wasn't planned," he added.

In a long career in motorsports that has included three NASCAR Cup Series championships and an IndyCar championship in 1997, the 52-year-old Stewart proved a quick study in NHRA in 2023, winning two national events in the top alcohol class at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals and Pep Boys Nationals. Stewart was also the championship-winning car owner in funny cars, with Tony Stewart Racing driver Matt Hagan claiming the title in that class.

According to the team, Pruett will continue to be involved with Tony Stewart Racing in 2024, including in assisting with "technical projects."

"When the majority of your life has been based around racing and what it takes to race, and you know that the fabric of your life is going to change, you focus on being proactive by developing new skills that will compliment your current talents," Pruett said in a team statement. "Besides driving the car, I have put my focus in this year on what my contributions will be to the team in 2024. I am excited that I get to grow as an individual in motorsports outside of the cockpit. I can't see into the future, but I know it looks to be even more fulfilling than it is right now, which I never thought would be possible."

Stewart's Top Fuel debut will come in March when the season opens with the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.