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Josh Hart Takes Aim At Sweeping Western Swing

Josh Hart has lived his personal and professional life with passion and drive following the belief that “Anything’s Possible.” This weekend the independent Top Fuel team owner and driver from Ocala, Florida, will bring his R+L Carriers Top Fuel team to Bandimere Speedway for the NHRA Dodge Mile-High Nationals looking to become just the sixth Top Fuel driver to sweep the Western Swing. The grueling three races in three weekends stretch does not intimidate Hart but rather he is leaning into the challenge with hyper-focus and intensity.

“I think the key to success is being prepared and keeping a positive attitude,” said Hart, who raced to the final round of the Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Nationals in Chicago. “This R+L Carriers Top Fuel team has been putting the pieces together to make a run for the championship and these summer months are where you can really make a move. I raced at Denver, Seattle and Sonoma for the first time in my career last year and now with more information and experience I feel really good coming back this year.”

Last year in Denver Hart qualified No. 9 and upset No. 8 qualifier Doug Kalitta in the first round before outrunning Brittany Force in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals Hart’s first Mile-High Nationals ended in a close race against Shawn Langdon. Competing for the first time on the mountain Hart was quick on the tree and his R+L Carriers Top Fuel dragster made consistently quick runs all day on race day.

“I was proud of our efforts last year at Bandimere,” said Hart. “There were a lot of unknowns and I think we really rose to the occasion. We are an independent team and thanks to the support from our sponsors and team co-owner Chris Armstrong we are investing in our team to compete at the highest level. The competition is very tough, but I love the challenge. I have overcome a lot of hurdles to get here and this Western Swing is a great equalizer.”

Following Denver the tour will immediately head to Seattle and then Sonoma. Those two national events are swapping positions from the 2022 schedule. For Hart and the R+L Carriers team the new line-up will not have an affect on their gameplan. Last year was their first full season attending every NHRA national event and halfway through their second full-time season the team is making strong improvements. They have more round wins in fewer races and they have fewer first round losses coming into this weekend’s Mile-High Nationals.

“We are making progress for sure but this whole team wants to get back into the winner’s circle,” said Hart. “We got a great start to the season winning the Pep Boys Allstar Callout at the Gatornationals and then we got close in Chicago, but I feel like we could get on a roll any time. This would be a great race to get the first win of the season. I love Dodge and to win the final Dodge Mile High Nationals would be cool.”

Hart and the rest of the Top Fuel class will have four qualifying runs beginning with two on Friday and two more on Saturday. The quickest 16 Top Fuel dragsters will battle it out on Sunday in front of a national television audience on FOX.

This story was originally published on July 11, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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