The 2023 NHRA regular season ended today at the 69th NHRA Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals with Josh Hart and his TechNet Top Fuel dragster exiting in the first round but looking ahead to the NHRA Countdown starting in two weeks. Through three days of qualifying Hart and his TechNet and R+L Carriers Top Fuel dragster made five consistent qualifying runs and rolled into race day as the No. 8 qualifier. Hart wrapped up the final qualifying session posting the second quickest run of the session a strong 3.798 seconds at 322.58 mph.
His first qualifying run of the weekend, a 3.744 second pass at 323.89 mph was posted on Friday night during the nighttime session that had the coolest conditions of the weekend. Over the next two days his Ron Douglas tuned 11,000-horspower land rocket fine-tuned their performance in advance of race day.
“We made a good run to start the weekend and then we just made consistent runs,” said Hart, a multi-time Top Fuel National event winner. “The U.S. Nationals is a tough race to win because it is the longest race of the year and the conditions are very tricky. Everyone is in the same boat but I really was excited about getting to the track on Sunday morning.”
In the opening round racing the No. 9 qualifier Hart and his TechNet team were the first pair to head down the famed Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park track. Hart has started from the top half of the field seven times and he was able to pick his lane. Racing Shawn Langdon, who he held a 4-3 career win record against, Hart was ready to get the first win light of the day.
Both drivers were on their game posting .045 and .046 reaction times and they were side by side blasting down the track, but Hart was slowing slipping behind Langdon. At the finish line it was Langdon getting the win with a winning elapsed time of 3.806 seconds in front of Hart’s 3.968 second run.
“We fell off in the first round on the performance side and it cost us,” said Hart, who has won the U.S. Nationals in Top Alcohol Dragster. “This is a race I want to win in Top Fuel and now we get to wait a year. I am going to start focusing on working with Ron Douglas to get ready for the next six race of the playoffs. The NHRA will reset the points and in two weeks we will be racing for the championship.”
Hart started his Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals spending all day Wednesday in his hometown of Huntington, Indiana speaking with members of the town’s leadership and charitable foundations. This year Hart has made several donations and he received a letter of commendation from the city as well as a special plaque from the Police Athletic League.
“It was nice to get back to Huntington with my family,” said Hart. “My wife Brittanie and I met in Huntington and we still have family there. It was nice to bring my daughter Helen and son Banks to my hometown. I am planning on being more involved in the fall. It was a good way to start the U.S. Nationals giving back to the community.”
At the conclusion of the race Hart officially locked into the Countdown to the playoffs. He will enter the six race dash to the championship sitting 9th. The first race of the playoffs will be the NHRA Reading Nationals from Maple Grove Raceway, September 15-17.