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Josh Hart Brings High Expectations to Gatornationals

Starting the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series at the historic Gatornationals this weekend 2021 winner Josh Hart and the R+L Carriers Top Fuel team are eager to get on track. Heading into his fourth season as a Top Fuel team owner and driver Hart will be looking to win the Gatornationals for the second time and defend his Pep Boys Allstar Callout title in the specialty race that will be contested Saturday during the final day of qualifying. The tuning decisions will continue to be handled by veteran crew chief Ron Douglas and Hart’s team remains intact from the 2023 campaign.

“We have been building a great team since we started in 2021 and went full-time in 2022,” said Hart, a multi-time Top Fuel winner. “We win and lose as a team and we are all ready for this season. I am excited to have R+L Carriers and TechNet back with the team.”
 
Last year Hart opened the season with the biggest payday of the year winning the Pep Boys Allstar Callout from the No. 8 position. Hart defeated Austin Prock, Brittany Force and Mike Salinas to take the top prize. Unfortunately, the team was not able to double up and Hart was ousted in the first round proving how tough the Top Fuel season would be for the driver from Ocala, Florida.
 
“I mentioned in the media room after we won the Pep Boys race that this sport will humble you so you can’t get too high and you can’t let yourself get too low,” said Hart. “The next day we got humbled when I wasn’t on my game. We spent the rest of the season having some highs and some lows, but we never gave up. This year we have more parts and a great attitude so I am looking forward to winning the Pep Boys Callout again and getting another Gatornationals win.”
 
In his rookie season Hart, debuted at his home track Gainesville Raceway and took the Top Fuel title outrunning Shawn Langdon in the final. It was Hart’s first Top Fuel national event and the first win for a Burnyzz Speed Shop livery in Hart’s career. Hart has owned and expanded the business of Burnyzz Speed Shop for years and while it is has been a constant presence on all his race cars had never driven the brand into the winner’s circle before the 2021 Gatornationals.
 
“Burnyzz has been a huge part of my life and we never got into the winner’s circle with a Burnyzz Speed Shop race car until that Gatornationals win which made it extra special,” said Hart. “That rookie season was great and we have built on that success and in 2024 we want to take it to the next level. My focus is on the race car and the R+L Carriers team. The competition continues to get better and better and I love that. I want to race and compete against the best drivers in the world and we have that in the NHRA.”
 
Hart and the R+L Carrier Top Fuel team will be on track Friday, March 8 for two qualifying runs getting ready for the Pep Boys Allstar Callout on Saturday. The second day of professional qualifying at the Gatornationals will be packed for Hart with the Pep Boys Allstar Callout event in the TEC at the track followed by two rounds of qualifying with the possibility of a third round for $80,000. Final eliminations on Sunday will feature the quickest 16 Top Fuel dragsters hitting the track at 10:30 a.m. ET with the first two rounds of racing live on FS1.

This story was originally published on March 7, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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