Last year Josh Hart and the R+L Carriers Top Fuel team attempted to tackle the historic Thunder Valley for the first time during the rescheduled NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. A strong qualifying effort did not translate into success for the then rookie driver but the experience of racing at one of the most iconic sites on the NHRA tour gives Hart confidence rolling into Bristol Dragway less than a year later. Competing on the traditional date of Father’s Day weekend has the Ocala, Florida based racer ready to make his own history as a second-year team owner and driver.
“Last year we were winding down our first season where we had a lot of success, but Bristol didn’t go our way,” said Hart, who won twice in his debut season. “We have expanded our team and have been building for future success this season. There is no doubt there have been some bumps in the road, but we aren’t looking backwards. I feel really good about our chances this weekend at the Thunder Valley Nationals.”
In his rookie season Hart won his first Top Fuel event and followed that up with a win during the Countdown. He also raced to multiple semifinals competing on a reduced schedule of thirteen races. Support from R+L Carriers and TechNet paved the way for Hart to pursue his Top Fuel dream. Over the off-season Hart invested in new equipment and solidified his plan for making a run at the NHRA Top Fuel world championship. With a brand new 11,000 horsepower Top Fuel dragster Hart along with crew chief and business partner Ron Douglas have wrangled with a variety of gremlins that have cut short several promising races.
“When you bring out a new race car you know there are going to be more than a few things you have to work through,” admitted Hart. “We have chased a few problems but thankfully I think we have those issues behind us. We are one hundred percent focused on making consistent quick runs that don’t hurt the engine and get us some win lights.”
Throughout this season of ups and downs one thing that has remained constant is Hart’s positive attitude and his competitive drive. A self-made entrepreneur, Hart truly believes anything is possible and through his relationship with primary sponsor R+L Carriers he is bringing that message to the fans at NHRA races. Throughout the weekend Hart and R+L Carriers representatives meet with guests and fans talking about the wide variety of career opportunities available with the family-owned national company.
“We have the name on the side of the race car but the real work we are doing for R+L Carriers is to talk with people about the many exciting career opportunities that include office jobs, marketing and of course driving. There are career opportunities that can get people on the path to financial independence and jobs that will change people’s lives. That is as exciting for me as crossing the finish line going over 330 mph.”
Hart has seen his share of exciting runs throughout his young career. Along with crew chief Ron Douglas Hart’s R+L Carriers Top Fuel dragster is a consistently quick qualifier that has already tallied semifinal finishes at the Arizona Nationals and the Carolina Nationals as well as two quarterfinal finishes at the Winternationals in Pomona and the Virginia Nationals in Richmond this season.
“We have scattered some round wins over the first eight races, but I want to string four win lights together this weekend in Bristol,” said Hart. “I know Ron has been working with the team and I have been working on my responsibilities. This is a complete team effort. We win together and we struggle together. The one thing we aren’t going to do is give up. I can’t wait for that first qualifying run under the lights on Friday.”
Hart and the R+L Carriers team will get their first chance to put up a strong number on Friday night with two more qualifying sessions scheduled for Saturday. Final eliminations will begin at noon ET on Sunday.
Elon Werner PR