Halfway through the 2023 NHRA Countdown Josh Hart and the R+L Carriers Top Fuel team are still working to get their program firing on all cylinders. The team which had a solid but unspectacular regular season turned its attention to the final six races of the season. After this weekend’s NHRA Midwest Nationals from World Wide Technology Raceway Hart and his team are still looking for some performance answers.
“At the end of the day we need to qualify better so we don’t run into those first round match ups. There are three races left. We aren’t where we want to be and we are going to get to work before Dallas,” said Hart.
Hart’s final two qualifying runs on Saturday positioned Hart in the show but only as the No. 12 qualifier going into race day. Giving up lane choice to four-time Top Fuel world champion Steve Torrence Hart knew he would need a perfect effort from his R+L Carriers team. The third-year driver was first off the line with a stellar .037 reaction time but his 11,000-horsepower immediately overpowered the race track. Torrence made a smooth run for the win in front of Hart who coasted down his lane.
“That first round race was unfortunate because I know the Safety Safari did their best, but I think we were dealing with a one lane race track,” said Hart, a two-time Top Fuel winner. “You can see that from the results and if we would have been in the top half we would have been in the right lane. We will be just fine, but we have some serious work to do.”
In the first round Top Fuel competitor Lex Joon suffered a major engine explosion in the left lane. A lengthy delay kept the Safety Safari busy and created a tough situation for all the Top Fuel teams that followed him in the left lane.
Hart opened the season winning the Pep Boys Top Fuel Allstar Callout and he will be looking to recapture that magic over the last three races. Hart and the R+L Carriers Top Fuel team will be looking to make a move up the points at the Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, October 12-15.