NHRA Surprises, PRDA Title Sponsors and More Highlight PRI 2023 Day 1

PRI 2023 Day 1 (1)

Click Here to Begin SlideshowThe annual Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis, IN kicked off with a bang on Thursday, December 7, 2023 on the NHRA stage with an announcement from Tony Stewart Racing driver Leah Pruett that she would be stepping out of the Top Fuel car that she drove to near victory this season and her husband, Tony Stewart, would be stepping in for the 2024 season. The couple made it clear that this decision was driven by Leah and her desire to start a family while still being responsible for the crew and efforts going into this winning team.

It was hard to top that news, particularly considering Stewart drove Top Alcohol last year as his foray into drag racing and will now be competing in the big leagues, but Smoke is no stranger to things that go fast or to throwing everything into a new experience so it will be a thrill to watch what happens, with Pruett as his race coach.

NHRA drivers and teams continued to announce changes and updates throughout the day, including Buddy Hull heading to Jim Dunn Racing in their Funny Car seat while Top Fuel driver Jacob McNeal takes over team ownership of Hull's Top Fuel car, plus the return of champion racing to Phoenix at the newly renamed Firebird Motorsports Park.

Later in the day, the PDRA had some news of its own -- a title sponsorship from Redline Oil which will allow them to up the payout on their Top Nitro and Top Boost categories to $10,000 per race.

The show was packed from the get go, with Tony Kanaan officially opening the show at the annual breakfast, and attendees had a chance to visit the over 1,000 motorsports companies officially attending. In addition, the show features an Esports paddock in Lucas Oil stadium, technically called the PRI Esports Arena Powered by SRO and featuring multiple types of SIM racing from SRO/GT America, Screenworks, Williams F1 Esports, Podium 1 Racing, SimGear Motion Simulators, Asetek SimSports, Advanced SimRacing and Extreme SimRacing.

In addition, PRI is bringing live racing to the show with the addition of a Ekarting track sponsored by Top Kart. Pros will race on Thursday night during the industry happy hour, while media throws their hat into the ring on Friday with a "fastest lap" contest.

And the Goodyear & Mickey Thompson Racing Experience celebrates two milestones in the storied companies existences with a display of period accurate vehicles complete with wheels and tires from the era.

And of course, RacingJunk continues its traditions -- giving away the first round of the nearly 4000 t-shirts that will be distributed to the crowd, poster signings, a killer 1965 C10 custom truck in the booth, and a safety gear package from Leaf Raceway.

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About Andreanna Ditton 307 Articles
Andreanna Ditton is the Editorial Director and Editor-in-Chief for the Internet Brands Automotive Classifieds Group, of which RacingJunk is the flagship site. She has worked in the automotive publishing industry since 2007, focusing on racing and performance issues.

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