After two solid days of qualifying on a tricky track Josh Hart and the R+L Carriers Top Fuel team rolled into race day as the No. 3 qualifier. The second-year driver and team owner came out of the hauler and ran to the No. 2 spot on the ladder and grabbed two qualifying bonus points on Friday night. Hart and his Ron Douglas tuned 11,000 horsepower R+L Carriers backed up his 3.791 second run with two solid runs on a hot and slippery track of 3.895 and 3.816 seconds on Saturday. Coming into race day Hart was looking to move up in the Top Fuel point standings.
The Top Fuel rookie standout from 2021 was racing the 2020 Rookie of the Year, Justin Ashley, in the first round featuring two of the top rising stars of the sport. Both dragsters launched hard and were side-by-side as they flew across half-track. As the finish line closed in, Ashley edged his dragster out in front by a nose and was able to hold off a charging Hart and R+L Carriers dragster. Hart’s 3.827 second pass was just a shade off his best run from Saturday under similar conditions and would have been quick enough to advance in a number of other first round match-ups.
“We just lost a close drag race,” said Hart. “I will always take the positive from this sport and the good news is we have a consistent race car that I know will win us a lot of rounds. This R+L Carriers team will be ready for Norwalk. I am putting this race behind me and we will be back at it in five days which is great.”
This was Hart’s second time to race at Bristol Dragway but the first time to compete on Father’s Day weekend at the Thunder Valley Nationals. The fan interaction all weekend was a highlight for the driver from Ocala, Florida.
“We spent a lot of time with the fans this weekend including a huge autograph session last night after qualifying,” said Hart. “I want to thank all the dads and families that came out on Father’s Day weekend to watch the races. I know I talked with a lot of dads about racing and R+L Carriers this weekend.”
Hart and the rest of the R+L Carriers and TechNet team will be back on track on Friday at the Norwalk Nationals June 24-26 outside of Cleveland, Ohio.
Q1: 3.791 sec, 316.60 mph; Qual. 2
Q2: 3.895 sec, 293.28 mph; Qual. 2
Q3: 3.816 sec, 316.67 mph; Qual. 3
Bonus Points: +2 (2nd quickest of Q1)
Justin Ashley, Plainview, NY, Phillips Connect dragster, 3.824, 322.50 mph def Josh Hart, Ocala, Fla., R+L Carriers dragster, 3.827, 318.69 mph
Camping World Drag Racing Series Top Ten – Top Fuel
1. Brittany Force 724
2. Mike Salinas 699
3. Justin Ashley 672
4. Steve Torrence 653
5. Austin Prock 459
6. Shawn Langdon 435
7. Clay Millican 430
8. Josh Hart 414
9. Doug Kalitta 405
10. Antron Brown 370
Elon Werner PR