Josh Hart knows what it feels like to win the biggest drag race in the world. In fact, the team owner and driver from Ocala, Florida, has experienced the rare three-peat at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park capturing the U.S. Nationals Top Alcohol Dragster championship three years in a row from 2017-2019. In 2021 Hart made the jump to Top Fuel on a limited schedule before going all in for every Camping World Drag Racing Series event last year. It has been a wild ride for the unassuming Top Fuel professional who will be flying the red, white, and blue colors of TechNet this weekend in Indianapolis.
“I love racing the U.S. Nationals and I have a lot of great memories of seeing a lot of win lights in my Top Alcohol Dragster,” said Hart, who also receives primary sponsorship support from R+L Carriers. “I want to make some new memories with Top Fuel win lights this year. We have done OK at Indy the past two years, but I feel like we are right on the edge of going on a really nice run. Getting a win at the Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals would be a great place to start.”
Last year Hart qualified No. 8 and beat Doug Foley in the first round before losing to Brittany Force in the quarterfinals. In 2021 he had his best qualifying effort, starting race day as the No. 4 qualifier and he took out Buddy Hull and Leah Pruett before dropping a close semifinal race to Force. This season Hart and his TechNet/R+L Carriers team have had a very quick and consistent car they have just come up on the wrong side of some very close races.
“This sport is very humbling,” said Hart. “You can be at the top of the world and then 3.7 seconds later you are loading up your race car and thinking about getting to the airport. I am blessed to be able to do this thanks to R+L Carriers and TechNet but I want to keep pressing to get better. It has been a while since we have stood in a winner’s circle and I would like to get that feeling back in Indy.”
Hart opened the season winning the Pep Boys Top Fuel Allstar Callout race and in May Hart raced to the final round at the Gerber Collision & Glass Rt. 66 Nationals. He has raced to three more semifinals including a great run at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals to wrap up the Western Swing.
“We have had a race car that can go rounds and we have lost a handful of races to the drivers that go on and win the races,” said Hart. “I am ready to get those close wins. We came out strong in 2021 and then we invested in our program in 2022 and have made strides this season. I have to keep reminding myself we are still a relatively young independent team.”
For Hart the challenge to being successful is something he believes he can accomplish. He wants to put himself in a position to compete at the highest level against the toughest opponents. His team culture led by crew chief Ron Douglas is a no-nonsense serious approach that also has a family friendly vibe. Throughout the weekend hospitality guests can be seen enjoying conversations with crew members while Hart’s two children Londyn and Banks are taking in all the sights and sounds.
“R+L Carriers is a family-owned business and so are we,” said Hart. “These crew guys are busting their tails to get us across the country and we want to have fun. When it is time to work, we get after it, but I also want to see a lot of smiles on our faces. We have a really good balance here and heading into the U.S. Nationals we want to have fun and win this race.
Hart and the TechNet Top Fuel team will be on track on Friday night at Lucas Oil Indianapolis
Motorsports Park at 7:00 p.m. for their first qualifying run. He will have four more runs, two each on Saturday and Sunday, to grab one of the 16 spots in the race day field. Final eliminations will begin at 11:00 a.m. ET on Monday with the race being broadcast on FS1 and FOX throughout the day.