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Josh Hart Exits Early in Bid to Win Second Pep Boys All-Star Callout

After a lengthy rain delay Josh Hart and the R+L Carriers Top Fuel dragster team were eager to defend their 2023 Pep Boys Allstar Callout title. Earlier in the day Hart, the No. 8 qualifier, was called out by No. 1 qualifier Steve Torrence in a made-for-TV event in the Top Eliminator Club at Gainesville Raceway. All eight Top Fuel competitors were vying for the $80,000 top prize that Hart collected last year when he turned on three win lights outrunning Austin Prock, Brittany Force and Mike Salinas.

Today, racing Torrence as the last pair of Top Fuel land rockets Hart was the first off the line with a strong .030 reaction time. Unfortunately, his 12,000-horsepowered R+L Carriers Top Fuel dragster overpowered the track and had to watch Torrence cruise to the finish line for the round win. Torrence’s time of 3.708 seconds was the quickest pass of the third round of the Top Fuel qualifying session.

“We got a little too aggressive chasing that $80,000,” said Hart, who won the 2021 NHRA Gatornationals his rookie season. “It was tricky for everyone after the rain delay, but Steve made a strong run. Last year we on this deal and then went home early on Sunday. I am going to try and flip that script and win the Gatornationals again. We have a solid team and I am looking forward to race day.”

The first round of eliminations will begin tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. ET and Hart will have his R+L Carriers Top Fuel dragster ready to take on one of the toughest fields in Gatornationals history. Hart will face Tony Schumacher in the first round. The sixteen qualified drivers are members of multi-car, multi-million-dollar operations. Hart has fastidiously built his racing operation on his own.
 
Pep Boys Top Fuel Allstar Callout Results
First Round
Antron Brown (.062) 3.910, 280.49 mph def. Shawn Langdon (.053) 4.304, 209.17 mph
Mike Salinas (.077) 4.192, 291.51 mph def. Justin Ashley (.062) 4.427, 237.09 mph
Brittany Force (.090) 3.795, 331.28 mph def. Doug Kalitta (.049) 5.816, 118.53 mph
Steve Torrence (.116) 3.708, 336.32 mph def. Josh Hart, R+L Carriers dragster, (.030) 9.417, 61.09 mph
 
Second Round
Antron Brown (.055) 3.761, 322.50 mph def. Steve Torrence (.072) 3.765, 329.34 mph
Brittany Force (.147) 3.785, 329.67 mph vs. Mike Salinas (.068) 4.477, 195.05 mph
 
Final Round
Antron Brown (.053) 3.709, 332.43 mph def. Brittany Force (.085) 3.730, 328.70 mph

This story was originally published on March 10, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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