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Hart Keeps it Close in Tight Quad at Charlotte

Josh Hart and the TechNet Top Fuel dragster had a short day at the Charlotte Four-Wide Nationals from zMAX Dragway. In his previous three four-wide races at the Bellagio of Drag Strips the entrepreneur from Ocala, Florida raced his way to the final quad, but today he was denied in the first round racing against Clay Millican, Billly Torrence and 8-time Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher. The No. 12 qualifier was in a prime position to advance after two days of qualifying at the all-concrete track located just north of Charlotte.

“We made consistent runs in qualifying and I felt good coming into the first round,” said Hart, a two-time Top Fuel national event winner. “On Friday in the night session we ran 3.773 and then yesterday we stepped up in race day conditions and ran 3.766 and 3.796 seconds. This TechNet Top Fuel dragster was ready to go rounds and we knew anything could happen in four-wide racing.”

Hart and the TechNet/R+L Carriers Top Fuel team were one of four Top Fuel dragsters in the opening quad of race day. Hart was first off the line with a strong .046, which was the quickest reaction time of the first round in Top Fuel, and his TechNet 12,000-horsepower race car was pulling hard in the second lane. He was side-by-side with Schumacher to his left and Millican to his right. As the dragsters crossed half-track Millican pulled ahead and Torrence in lane four was able to get the nose of his dragster out in front. At the finish line it was Millican and Torrence getting to the stripe in front of Hart and Schumacher.
“I could hear Schumacher and Millican, but I had no idea what Torrence was doing,” said Hart. “That is how wild four-wide racing is. I knew I had a good light and when we made the turn and they pointed to Clay and Billy I knew we must have just missed it. We are going to get back to two wide racing in Chicago and we went to the final at that race last season. We are making consistent runs, but we need to get quicker. We lost a run in the opening qualifier, so we need to take advantage of every run in Chicago.”
The TechNet/R+L Carriers team participated in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge during qualifying. He won the semifinal rematch and in the final quad was the third place finisher collecting $1,000 and a valuable championship point.
“We didn’t leave Charlotte empty handed thankfully,” said Hart, who has one Top Fuel win at zMAX Dragway. “We got the championship point for finishing third in the final quad. I am looking forward to more Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge races this season. It is a great program and makes Saturday an exciting day for sure.”
The R+L Carriers Top Fuel dragster will be back on track May 17-19 at the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals. The event will feature two rounds of qualifying on Friday and two more sessions on Saturday. The quickest 16 Top Fuel dragster will run for the historic Wally trophy on Sunday, May 19. The race will be televised nationally on FS1.

This story was originally published on April 29, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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