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Josh Hart Talks Final Quad Appearance at zMax Dragway

For the third consecutive year Josh Hart and the R+L Carriers Top Fuel dragster raced to the final quad at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Racing against Steve Torrence for the third time on race day as well as eventual winner Austin Prock and runner-up Leah Pruett, Hart secured his second consecutive semi-final finish of the season in four-wide national events. zMax Dragway holds a special place in Hart’s racing career when you consider the success the third year Top Fuel driver has had at the facility located 30 minutes north of Charlotte.

“Charlotte was my first final ever even in alcohol dragster,” said Hart, who had a successful career in the Lucas Oil Series before moving to the pro ranks in 2021. “It’s been a good track to us. It’s the Bellagio of drag racing. Our team always seems to have the right tune up. We just fell a little bit short this weekend in the final. All I will say is on to the next one and we have a year to plan for the next four-wide.”

Circle K NHRA Four Wide Nationals

In the first quad Hart and the R+L Carriers Top Fuel dragster picked up right where they left off in qualifying posting a 3.702 second pass at 326.79 mph a near mirror image of their final qualifying pass, a 3.704 second run. Hart didn’t post the quickest run of the round, that honor went to Torrence who ran 3.697 seconds, but Hart did get to the stripe first winning the quad and moving on for the third consecutive year at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. The R+L Carriers Top Fuel team has never lost in the first round of the four-wide races contested at zMax Dragway.

Squaring off with Torrence again along with journeyman Doug Foley and reigning Top Fuel world champion Brittany Force the R+L Carriers Top Fuel dragster was once again up to the task. Hart was first off the starting line and never trailed in the race, getting to the finish line first over Torrence on a hole shot with his 3.706 second pass getting the win over Torrence’s 3.705 second run. Force lost traction early and Dakin made a respectable pass to finish third in the quad.

In the final quad Hart was first off the line again with a .034 second reaction time but as his R+L Carriers race car surged to the finish line Prock and Pruett began to close the gap. The duo of dragsters got around Hart finishing 1-2 and relegated Hart to third place and another semifinal finish. Hart had taken the top spot in the previous two quads, but his luck ran out in the final quad.

“I personally like the head-to-head races better,” said Hart. “There’s a lot going on up there on the starting line when you race four-wide. We got a couple win lights today and just missed it a little in the final quad. We got a lot of experience in Vegas and now I know what I need to do moving forward. I think that showed this weekend.”

Hart will head to Chicago sitting in ninth place in the Camping World Top Fuel point standings. His semifinal finish moved him up from tenth and he is less than a round out of eight place after five national events.


This story was originally published on April 30, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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