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Hart Exits Thunder Valley Nationals with Determination

Auto Imagery/Gary Nastase photo

Racing at the Super Grip NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals for the fourth time and looking to pick up his third career Top Fuel win Josh Hart and the R+L Carriers Top Fuel team came to Bristol Dragway looking to build momentum. Warm conditions played to the team’s strength and Hart made three solid runs heading into eliminations. On Friday night he posted a 3.867 second pass and then stepped up on Saturday with a 3.847 second pass, third quickest of the third qualifying session, and a final run of 3.877 seconds to wrap up the day. Those runs on a warm and tricky Bristol Dragway racing surface had Hart ready for a long race day.
 
“We have a race car that can run in the heat,” said Hart. “We made some consistent runs on Saturday and picked up some qualifying bonus points. The team is working so hard and we are seeing positive results.”

On race day Hart, the No. 10 qualifier, was matched up with Billy Torrence, who Hart was looking to defeat for the first time in three attempts. The R+L Carriers Top Fuel team was half of the last pair of 12,000-horsepower Top Fuel dragsters to close out the first round. Hart was first off the line but Torrence moved around him as the Top Fuel dragsters approached halftrack. Each of the land rockets blasted across the finish line with Torrence getting to the stripe first posting the fastest speed of the event, 331.45 mph.
 
“I am going to take all the positives from this weekend and build on that for Virginia and beyond,” said Hart. “We are not seeing the results we want but we aren’t giving up. We have brought in some help, and I am seeing progress. It never happens fast enough but we are moving in the right direction. You can’t fix some of these issues overnight but getting to make passes in a variety of conditions does help.”
 
Hart and the R+L Carriers team will be back on track on Saturday, June 22, for three qualifying sessions at the NHRA Virginia Nationals. The track and the NHRA are trying a new race format with one day of qualifying followed by a full race day schedule. For more information or tickets fans can visit www.nhra.com.

This story was originally published on June 9, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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