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Josh Hart is proving that Anything’s possible on NHRA Top Fuel circuit

by Mike Haag | Posted on Saturday, April 23rd, 2022

Josh Hart. Photo courtesy of the NHRA.

 

By Mike Haag, Raceday San Antonio

BAYTOWN, Texas – Anything’s possible.

That is the message that NHRA Top Fuel driver Josh Hart has displayed on the back of his 11,000-horsepower dragster.

Josh Hart. Photo courtesy of the NHRA.

Hart, who drives the R+L Carriers Top Fuel drag, is competing this weekend in the final NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park.

After a stellar rookie season in 2021, Hart is back racing full time this season. Despite a few early-season setbacks, he still believes that “Anything’s possible” as he aims for his first NHRA Top Fuel championship this season.

Last year, the 38-year old driver found himself in the battle for the NHRA rookie title. He opened up his year winning the first event he entered in Top Fuel, which was the historic Gatornationals.  He followed that up with a second victory in the Countdown playoffs at the Carolina Nationals.

“Last season was awesome,” Hart said. “We never really planned on doing a full season last year and we did end up adding five races courtesy of R.L. Carriers. This year’s our first full season and it’s just nice to get the seat time.”

Hart said that his rookie season was a good learning experience.

“Moving from last year to this year of course we wanted to upgrade our expectations and go more rounds and win more races,” Hart said. “The main thing is we kept all our main people. It’s all the same team we just continuously trying to fill this program and it’s working out.”

Josh Hart. Photo courtesy of the NHRA.

Hart added, “I would say that the biggest learning experience for me was the people and the personalities. I was a fan for so long that I looked up to a lot of people and when you finally meet them, I was almost starstruck.”

Prior to moving to Top Fuel, Hart competed in the Top Alcohol Dragster class for several years. He said the move to Top Fuel was a big change.

“It was a night or day difference,” Hart said. “Everybody in this class is professional. They look professional, they act professional, they perform in a professional manner. I learned a lot and I feel very blessed to be competing with the fastest people on the planet.”

After a quick start in 2021, this season has not gone as expected as mechanical issues with the car have hampered his performance. After four races he is eighth in points and trails points leader Steve Torrence by 115 points.

“It’s been very turbulent this year,” Hart said. “We have a new car and I think we’ve tried to tackle every single issue very well. Time will tell. We’re getting ready to make a run tonight and that’ll be my first run where I think we actually fixed all the bugs.”

Hart is competing this season in one of the NHRA’s most competitive classes. There have been four races and four different winners so far this season. He opened the season with quarterfinal and semifinal finishes at the Winternationals and Arizona Nationals and is hoping for a win or a solid finish this weekend.

Last year at Houston Raceway Park, Hart did not have a good introduction to the track in Top Fuel competition. Rain washed away two of the three qualifying sessions and Hart had only one shot at qualifying. He qualified seventh and then suffered a first-round loss to Shawn Langdon.

“I did not have a good race at all last year,” Hart said. “We had a one-shot qualifier and then it was the largest explosion I’ve ever had on the starting line, actually in the first round. “It’s nice to be back. The weather is much better and I just hope that we will go rounds with our new car and you know we can put our own stamp on it.”

Josh Hart. Photo courtesy Elon Werner, Werner Communications.

Hart said his race team and sponsors are behind him as he looks forward to competing full time with a new car this season.

Since R+L Carriers has come on board as his primary sponsor, Hart has built a close bond and relationship with this company. At each NHRA race, R+L Carriers recruiters are trackside to meet guests and to speak to fans who might be interested in career opportunities with the company. R+L Carriers is a Global Freight Transportation and Logistics company that has been family-owned and operated since 1965.

“R.L. Carriers is easy to talk about,” Hart said. “It’s a company that I truly believe in.  Everybody uses them so there’s no smoking mirrors. Talking about them to anyone who is familiar with their service, whether acquiring about their service, they have a great program and they have a very great foundation. They take good care of their employees. Everybody seems to really like the connection.”

Hart added, “They wanted to make it very clear that they were not just giving me a bunch of money to run this race. It’s just strictly to build quality employees in their ever-growing workforce and that is 17,000 strong. It’s an unbelievable company, like a small-town touch and they treat all their employees like family.”

Win or lose this weekend in Houston Hart said he still has hope for another successful run at the NHRA Top Fuel championship.

“I think the thing that I want to accomplish the most is using this platform to get people to understand that they really can do anything,” Hart said. “I have a very humble background. I always wanted to do something like this and now I’m doing it. With hard work and dedication, that’s my real message, anything’s possible. That’s what we put on the back of the car.”

For Josh Hart, Anything’s possible.

About the Author

Mike Haag has covered motorsports in San Antonio and South Texas for more than 34 years. In addition to covering motorsports for the San Antonio Express-News for nearly 28 years, Mike also has co-hosted TrackSmack with Dawn Murphy for 17 race seasons. In addition to being a writer, Mike taught high school English and Journalism for 30 years before retiring in May, 2020.