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Josh Hart Races to Semifinals in Las Vegas

Josh Hart and the TechNet Brakes for Breasts Top Fuel team made a strong statement that they are planning on finishing the 2023 season as strong as they started. Racing from the No. 12 spot Hart defeated two championship contending teams in the opening rounds before losing a close race to fellow Countdown competitor Mike Salinas in the semifinals. Today’s effort was Hart’s best finish since her raced to the semifinals at the Sonoma Nationals.

“We were looking for a turnaround race to finish the season on a high note and today was a big step forward,” said Hart, who opened the season winning the Pep Boys Top Fuel Allstar Callout. “We went back to a few things that we have had success with previously and that was the right move for sure.”                                         
In the first round, facing Top Fuel point leader Leah Pruett Hart grabbed a solid starting line advantage and that reaction time advantage held up to give Hart and his team the win. When the tree flashed Hart’s reaction time of .044 seconds got him out in front of Pruett’s .087 second time. As both dragsters were side by side Hart’s dragster nose was in front for the win with a 3.740 second, 326.40 mph pass ahead of Pruett’s quicker 3.699 second, 332.26 mph run.
“This was a big win for the R+L Carriers TechNet Brakes for Breasts team,” said Hart, from the top end. “My crew chief Ron Douglas and all the guys have been busting their butts trying to figure this thing out. It’s peaks and valleys and we’re hopefully on the upswing out of one of our valleys. This is a strong team. We’re not going anywhere. We’ll get through it together.
Hart gave up lane choice in the second round to Doug Kalitta who was also in the top three in points. It was another chance for Hart to impact the championship Countdown with two races left in the playoffs. Once again Hart used his driving skill to grab a starting line advantage and his team gave him a solid race car. Hart’s reaction time advantage was .046 to .071 and his elapsed time of 3.734 seconds was enough to outpace Kalitta’s quicker 3.710 second run.
“Doug is one of the toughest drivers out here and I knew I needed to bring my A Game,” said Hart. “It was another big win and I can’t wait to get to the semifinals. I am glad to see these win lights because our team has been working very hard.”
The semifinals featured two successful businessmen who have a huge passion for Top Fuel with Hart squaring off with Mike Salinas. Both teams have had success this season but winning today would be a huge boost for both their programs. In the third rounds for Hart today he had a starting line advantage, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Salinas’ stout 3.663 second pass. Hart slowed just a few hundredths of a second to 3.745 seconds in the semifinals and bowed out of the Nevada Nationals sitting eleventh in points.
“Today was a good day but we want to have a great day before the season ends,” said Hart. “We got a couple win lights against some tough competitors but our goal every race is to see four win lights come on. This was an improvement and we will get ready for Pomona in two weeks.”

This story was originally published on October 31, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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