Josh Hart’s first appearance at the New England Nationals did not go as planned for the two-time Top Fuel national event winner. In qualifying Hart and his R+L Carriers Top Fuel team came off the trailer with a strong run Friday night to give the team some much needed positive momentum heading into the weekend. Hart made the fourth quickest runs in both Q1 and Q2. Hart had the fifth quickest run of Q3 to further give the team much needed positive data. Those three runs set up the driver from Ocala, Florida, who also receives support from TechNet on his Top Fuel operation, for a first round match-up with No. 12 qualifier Shawn Langdon.
Hart’s three qualifying passes were all consistent runs in the 3.70s spanning 3.745 seconds to 3.731 seconds to 3.771 seconds with a top speed of 328.94 mph. Crew chief Ron Douglas was feeling confident going into the first round on race day. Over the first seven races the team has battled a variety of gremlins and continued to forge ahead maintaining their position in the Top Ten.
The opening round race against Langdon, who has also been struggling for consistency this season, was a prime opportunity for Hart to continue his move up the point standings. Each 11,000-horsepower land rocket rolled up to the starting line as the second pair of Top Fuel dragsters. The Christmas Tree flashed and both cars launched hard with Hart’s R+L Carriers Top Fuel race car immediately smoking the tires. Hart lifted and attempted to pedal his dragster to regain power, but his engine let go blasting the supercharger loose and ending Hart’s race day. Langdon was in the left lane on a smooth run to get the win light.
“We had a clutch issue that cost us in the first round,” said Hart. “When it smoked the tires that early I tried to pedal it to see if we could get back into the race but that didn’t work out. I am excited with how we qualified and ran on Friday and Saturday. That is more of a reflection of what this R+L Carriers team is capable of race to race. I hate not having a longer day but we are not going to look backwards. There is more positive momentum over here and I am ready to get to Bristol in a couple weeks.”
The R+L Carriers team will be back on track in two weeks at the Thunder Valley Nationals from Bristol Dragway. Eight races into the season Hart is sitting seventh in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Top Fuel point standings.
Q1: 3.745 sec, 326.00 mph; Qual. 4
Q2: 3.731 sec, 328.94 mph; Qual 4
Q3: 3.771 sec, 330.39 mph; Qual. 5
Bonus Points: 0
Shawn Langdon, Danville, Ind., DHL Toyota dragster, 3.762, 327.74 mphdef. Josh Hart, Ocala, Fla., R+L Carriers dragster, No time def.
Camping World Drag Racing Series Top Ten – Top Fuel
1. Brittany Force 668
2. Mike Salinas 638
3. Steve Torrence 569
4. Justin Ashley 561
5. Austin Prock 425
6. Clay Millican 396
7. Josh Hart 376
8. Doug Kalitta 373
9. Shawn Langdon 341
10. Tony Schumacher 329
Elon Werner PR