Return to Chicago Chance For Josh Hart Resurgence

Return to Chicago Chance For Josh Hart Resurgence

Last year Josh Hart and the R+L Carriers Top Fuel team raced to the final round of the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals. This year the team will be looking to add one more round win and race into the winner’s circle for the first time in 2024. The business owner from Ocala, Florida, has been battling the Top Fuel competition since his rookie season of 2021 and the multi-time national event winner is eager to return to the windy city.
“We have been working through some issues since the beginning of the season and the lay off after Charlotte only has me more eager to get to Chicago and start racing again,” said Hart. “We made some significant changes and we need to make passes to build up some data. Everyone lost qualifying rounds early in the year, but I don’t know if anyone made as many adjustments as us. I know we will figure it out, but it never happens fast enough.”

This season Hart has raced to the quarterfinals at the season opening Gatornationals and the Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals. Early round exits in Pomona, Phoenix and Charlotte and frustrated Hart and his R+L Carriers team but they are far from discouraged. The upcoming four qualifying sessions in Chicago and a favorable weather forecast has the team that is regarded as a sleeping giant ready to go.
“The races that have been effected by weather have hurt us,” said Hart. “You can look at our ETs and our Sunday morning times are considerably quicker than our best qualifying efforts, but we lost some runs in qualifying. If we had had all the qualifying runs, we would have been higher in the order and that could make a huge difference. When we can get four qualifying runs, I am totally confident my crew chief Ron Douglas can put us in a position to go rounds.”
Hart has dedicated himself over the last season to improving his reaction times and the work has paid off for the accomplished Top Alcohol Dragster driver turned Top Fuel pilot. Hart is second in the class when it comes to reaction time average.
“It takes the whole team working together to get win lights,” said Hart. “The guys in the pits have to put the car together correctly, Ron has to make the right calls and I have to be at my best on the starting line. We have had two of the three elements come together but we need to get all three parts working together on Sunday. We have all the right pieces but sometimes it just takes time to get everything to gel.”
With only five races off the schedule Hart knows he has time to move up in the Top Ten and position himself for a run at his first Top Fuel championship. As a student of the class he has seen veteran drivers like 2023 Top Fuel world champion Doug Kalitta struggle for two seasons only to start hitting on all cylinders in the Countdown. Hart knows that the key is continuing to do the work and not go negative.
“We want to just keep improving round by round and race by race,” said Hart. “This season is a marathon that turns into a sprint during the Countdown. You want to get to the regular season finish line positioned with the top teams. You don’t have to be at the top, but we need to be moving in the right direction. I know we will keep grinding to make the right adjustments.”
Hart and the R+L Carriers team will get their first chance to make passes on Friday afternoon and evening when qualifying for the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals get underway. There will be two more qualifying sessions on Saturday with final eliminations for the 16 quickest Top Fuel dragsters commencing at 11 a.m. on Sunday. The race will be televised nationally on FS1 Sunday evening.

This story was originally published on May 16, 2024.

The post Return to Chicago Chance For Josh Hart Resurgence first appeared on Drag Illustrated.

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