The satisfaction of chasing round wins at a brand new NHRA facility is something that drives second year Top Fuel driver and team owner Josh Hart. This season for the first time the two-time Top Fuel national event winner has raced on the west coast at picturesque tracks in Sonoma and Seattle as well as the desert of Arizona, the hills of Virginia and the cool climates of the northeast. This weekend Hart will bring his R+L Carriers Top Fuel dragster to the plains of the Midwest and historic Heartland Motorsports Park – Topeka for the NHRA Menards Nationals presented by Pet Armor. This will be the next to last new facility for the driver who enjoys the challenges of competition as much as seeing new venues and engaging with new fans.
“I have been blessed to see a huge part of the country this season and it has been amazing,” said Hart. “The only way it could have been better was if my family was able to travel with me to all these places. My wife Brittanie and daughter haven’t been able to get out on the road since we have several businesses in Florida. They keep an eye on me thanks to the Fox broadcasts and my goal every race to get to the winner’s circle.”
After an amazing rookie season debut that saw Hart race to half a dozen semifinals including two wins on a limited schedule, the second year has been a challenge for the driver who made the transition from Top Alcohol Dragster to Top Fuel in 2021. Over the off-season Hart invested in a new 11,000 horsepower Top Fuel dragster as well as numerous parts for the daunting 22-race season.
“I am in this for the long haul so over the winter we added another Top Fuel dragster and also invested in enough parts to compete with the established teams on the NHRA tour,” said Hart. “We are an independent team that has great support from R+L Carriers and Technet but we are also figuring a lot of things out for the first time. I have an experienced crew chief and business partner in Ron Douglas so things have come together really well with a few bumps in the road.”
This season Hart has made progress, but it has been the most recent four race stretch that has highlighted the continued improvement of the R+L Carriers Top Fuel team. A runner-up finish at the Norwalk Nationals, followed by a semifinal finish at the Mile High Nationals moved Hart up in the Top Fuel standings and two quarterfinal finishes in Sonoma and Seattle have his team sitting in fifth place in front of a tough group of established competitors with three races remaining the regular season.
“I am out here to prove we belong and can compete with the best of the best,” said Hart, at the conclusion of the three race Western Swing. “We learned a lot on the Western Swing and now we are going to keep the pressure on heading to Topeka and Brainerd for the first time. Those will be big races for us to keep our position in the Top Ten and try and close the gap on the top four. When the points reset after Indy we want to be as high in the Top Ten as possible.”
New tracks have not been too big a hurdle for Hart. Topeka will be the seventh new facility for the R+L Carriers team and Hart has advanced to at least the quarterfinals at six races and has qualified in the top half four times over that span. The Top Fuel driver, who also spends significant time with the fans, knows that every track has something a little different, but the one constant is his ability off the starting line and the confidence he has in his team.
“I will go and check out the track just to get an idea of where the turn offs are located and also just to get some reference points, but the biggest element for me is staying with my routine,” said Hart. “We will have guests from R+L Carriers as well as fans you want to spend time with throughout the weekend. When it is time to get in the car all that fades away and I try to focus on doing my job on the starting line and going rounds on Sunday. It starts with a strong pass on Friday and we just build from there. After we run I look forward to talking with our guests about the great career opportunities R+L Carriers provides people all over the country.”
Throughout the season R+L Carriers, which has been owned and operated by the same family for over 55 years, has consistently treated their customers and employees as an extension of the R+L family. Customer satisfaction is one of their top priorities. Hart enjoys talking with fans and guests about a work environment that is fun, rewarding and “miles ahead” of any of R+L Carriers’ competitors.
“What I love about representing R+L Carriers is they take their company tagline seriously,” said Hart. “They believe in pride in their people and pride in their performance. That is how I run this race team from top to bottom as well.”
Hart will make his first pass in Topeka on Friday night with two more qualifying runs on Saturday. Final eliminations will begin at 10:30 a.m. with FS1 broadcasting the race nationally from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. ET.
Elon Werner PR