After two days of torrential rain and plummeting temperatures defending Gatornationals winner Josh Hart and the R+L Carriers Top Fuel team narrowly missed advancing to the quarterfinals today at Gainesville Raceway. Friday’s qualifying action was cancelled, and each team only had one shot at the track on Saturday. Hart’s Ron Douglas tuned 11,000 horsepower Top Fuel dragster powered down a very cool race track yesterday posting a 3.783 second run at 306.88 mph which was quick enough to set him up as the No. 11 qualifier out of 20 Top Fuel dragsters attempting to race on Sunday.
“I am very comfortable in this R+L Carrier dragster,” said Hart. “I had a good reaction time. I think we are still learning the new car and working with all the new technology we didn’t have last year. This was a big learning event for us. That is the biggest take-away from this weekend.”
In the first round Hart was paired up with one of the other rising stars of the NHRA, No. 6 qualifier Justin Ashley and his Phillips Connect Top Fuel dragster. Each of these drivers are recognized as two of the best drivers off the starting line and Hart rose to the occasion getting the jump on Ashley with a nearly perfect .014 reaction time in front of Ashley’s respectable .066 reaction time.
“There is a lot of competition out here when it comes to reaction times,” said Hart, who coming into the Gatornationals had the seventh best reaction time average in Top Fuel. “When you go up against somebody like Justin you have to be on your game. I think about nothing else except cutting a good light.”
Both race cars were side-by-side for the length of the track as they accelerated past 330 mph. As the finish line closed in, Hart’s motor flashed and blew the super-charger loose, robbing him of much needed power. Hart’s R+L Carriers machine was on a much-improved run considering it crossed the finish line with a 3.759 second pass at just 305.42 mph.
“I have never run a full season before so we have a lot more races to go. We are getting a lot of laps behind us on the new car. We are learning every run,” said Hart.
In addition to the R+L Carriers branding this weekend Hart was also promoting the Shop Stoppers Car Auction coming up March 25-26 in his hometown of Ocala, Florida. Hart enjoys helping car collectors and enthusiasts add hot rods, high performance vehicles and iconic cars to their collections through his marketing relationship with Show Stoppers Collector Car Auctions.
“I love everything about cars from racing them to refurbishing them to helping them find the perfect home which is why I got involved with the Show Stoppers Collector Car Auction. They are a perfect sponsor for our team and our NHRA fans,” said Hart, a two-time Top Fuel national event winner. “There are a ton of interesting and unique vehicles in this upcoming auction in Ocala and I can’t wait for fans to see the variety of cars and trucks. They will be a major associate on our race car at the Gatornationals and we want to make sure everyone that is interested in finding their perfect collector car checks out the auction.”
Show Stoppers Collector Car Auction specializes in putting collectors behind the wheel of their dream iconic car. They specialize in facilitating classic and collector car consignment, purchasing and transportation. Their team has years of experience in making dreams come true. A listing of the wide variety of vehicles available at the auction can be found here.
Hart and the R+L Carriers Top Fuel team will leave Gainesville Raceway No. 7 in the NHRA Camping World Top Fuel standings.