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Hart Looks for Positives After Tough Winternationals

The focus of the R+L Carriers Top Fuel dragster and driver Josh Hart remains chasing their first NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series world championship after two races in the 2024 season. A quarterfinal finish at the season opening NHRA Gatornationals was followed this weekend by a tough first round exit in a close race with veteran driver Billy Torrence. Hart entered race day as the No. 14 qualifier, but he was undeterred by his qualifying position and knew he could give the No. 3 qualifier a tough first round race.

“I knew we didn’t get everything we wanted out of qualifying and we lost one round of the three to rain on Saturday,” said Hart, a two-time Top Fuel national event winner. “I was ready for the first round and I knew (crew chief) Ron (Douglas) and the guys made a lot of adjustments overnight to speed us up. We just had to see what we could do with this R+L Carrier Top Fuel dragster in the first round.”
When Hart rolled up alongside Torrence conditions were vastly different than the two previous days with cooler temperatures and a pristine racetrack. Hart got the jump off the starting line with a strong .043 reaction time and his skill off the line had his dragster in great position to pull the upset. At half-track Hart and the R+L Carriers Top Fuel dragster was in the lead, but Torrence was closing the gap. As the finish line closed in Hart’s 12,0000-horsepower land rocket started mixing up cylinders robbing his racecar of power and momentum and Torrence drove around him for the win, 3.716 seconds to 3.903 seconds, which was a much closer race thanks to Hart’s jump off the starting line.
“I knew I needed to get a good start off the line and I think I had the second best reaction time of the session,” said Hart. “I couldn’t see him for the longest time, but I saw his nose get out in front right at the finish line. We are going to keep working to get quicker. We are a little behind, but we just need more runs. I am glad we will get to Phoenix and hopefully get all three qualifying runs. That is really what everyone needs and it makes for much better racing.”
With one week left in the month of March Josh along with his wife Brittanie leading the charge are working with United with Love food pantry in their hometown of Huntington, Indiana to “Race to Fill the Food Pantry.” Donations made to the during the month of March to United with Love will be matched dollar for dollar up to $10,000 and throughout the month donations have come in from racers, fans and members of the Huntington community.
“There was a time when we needed help and we know that places like United with Love and people like Erin and their volunteers are making a difference in people’s lives every day,” said Brittanie Hart. “The Race to Fill the Food Pantry is something we can do this month, but they need assistance and support every month and we want to encourage everyone to get involved if they are able.”
Hart and the R+L Carriers Top Fuel team will be back on track at the Arizona Nationals, April 5-7, with one qualifying run on Friday followed by two on Saturday. The team is currently sitting No. 9 in Top Fuel points and will be looking to move up higher in the Top Ten at Firebird Raceway.
Fans can get more information on the Arizona Nationals at, and for more information on United with Love of Huntington County, visit

This story was originally published on March 25, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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