Even when you’re competing at an elite level, there is always more to learn and improve upon. Josh Hart and the R+L Carriers Top Fuel dragster team entered race day in the No. 10 spot at the Menards NHRA Nationals Presented By PetArmor. Despite making solid passes during qualifying, Hart was taken out early in the first round by points leader and eventual race winner Justin Ashley.
“We need to do a better job in qualifying, so we have more of an advantage on race day,” said Hart. “We got a little behind the eight ball. It is tough when everyone is a championship contender or a race winner, but we are right there with all our competitors. This R+L Carriers team did a good job this weekend and we will be ready to go in Brainerd.”
Hart’s quickest pass of the weekend came in round three of qualifying, when he made a 3.854 second, 319.90 mph run. And even though he was bested in round one in his battle against Ashley, he did have the quicker reaction time off the Christmas tree of 0.013 seconds.
“Justin is a great guy and we’ve had several matchups this season,” said Hart. “I know every time I go toe-to-toe with him I have to bring my A-game. And that’s what I love about this sport. It’s full of guys who push me to constantly be better.”
Race day came with the added challenge of a weather delay, but Hart did not let that affect his focus or attitude going into round one.
“The rain delay didn’t bother me,” said Hart. “I think the conditions were consistent with what we ran in qualifying, and everyone raced on the same track. I am feeling good in the car, and I like the direction my reaction times are going. We are working as a consistent unit over here and I know more round wins are right around the corner.”
The driver of the R+L Carriers Top Fuel dragster maintained his position as No. 9 in points for the fight for the championship and is now only five points behind Mike Salinas.
“We know what we need to do, and we’re going to keep improving round-by-round to work our way up,” said Hart. “At the end of the day, we’re here to represent ourselves and the good people at R+L Carriers, so we’ll do whatever we can to not let them down.”
The weekend came with several highlights for Hart, like competing in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge during qualifying and more time to interact with fans during the weather delay.
“The fans were so great all weekend, but it was especially cool today to talk with lots of young fans during the rain delay,” said Hart. “I gave a few kids some parts and belts. That is a big part of what we are doing out here; keeping the young kids interested in the sport.”