Josh Hart is one race away from wrapping up his first NHRA “Western Swing”. The 2022 season has had its ups and downs but this 2nd year driver refuses to have a “sophomore slump” and currently sits 5th in the NHRA Top Fuel points standings.
In 2021, Hart burst onto the scene by winning in his Top Fuel debut at the NHRA Gatornationals. He followed that up with another win at Charlotte while racing in only 12 events for the season.
Hart committed to run the entire 2022 season with his eye on the NHRA Camping World “Countdown to the Championship” and hasn’t looked back on that decision, even though there have been challenges along the way.
In a recent conversation, Josh spoke about his season and shared some thoughts about how things have gone so far. Just past the halfway point in the season, Hart still has plenty to show and feels like the team is ready to peak at the right time. They may just surprise when the Championship Wally is presented at the end of the year.
R+L Carriers has taken an expanded role with Hart and his team in 2022 as his primary partner for the bulk of the races for the schedule. Hart beams when speaking of the partnership and credits the owner for many changes both personally and professionally. When asked about the partnership and its value, Hart shared, “It’s absolutely priceless. I don’t want to say that I was on the wrong path, I was still a pretty solid dude but some things were quite different for me”.
You might be surprised at one of the major reasons for the strong connection? If you follow Hart or R+L Carriers, you may notice a shared interest in Faith and values that holds true to the core in everything they do, both on the track and off! Hart openly shares about how things opened up for him and much in his life changed when he accepted Jesus Christ as his savior. He equally credits marriage to his wife, Brittanie, and the birth of his daughter, Helen, for who and what he is today.
Hart continued to speak about the importance of the relationship and his commitment to do everything in his power to do anything for R+L Carriers. While speaking of the many career paths that R+L has to offer, Hart spoke about the principles of the company and how it brought him happiness to share about them, to recruit for them, to have a great partnership with them.
Before heading out for the Western Swing, Hart made a final round appearance at Norwalk right across the street from a large R+L Carriers depot. This may have been the turning point of the season that the team was looking for and a reminder to have some “fun” along the way. That reminder also came directly from the owner of R+L who reminded Hart about that as well.
“Fun” is something that Hart is trying to make sure he has more of in appreciation for what he is able to do as one of his many professions. “I am learning how to do a lot of new things in the car and trying some different ways of getting it done as well” Hart stated. “Running full time is that much more grueling so sometimes I have to remind myself to enjoy every minute”.
After the rapid success in 2021, I asked Hart if his expectations may have been too lofty coming into 2022. Hart confidently replied, “I don’t feel my expectations were too high or too lofty, we have had tried a lot of new things this year and up until recently, I never really realized how last year we were just trying to go out there and have fun”.
Hart admits that in running the full season, his team is taxed and working harder than even he had planned. “The real show is in the pits” Hart praised his team. “Everyone works so hard and I don’t know that we were prepared for everything that we would need to overcome this season. We have had some mechanical failures but we have worked through it. I am forever grateful to this team and all of the work they have put into this car and into me.”
With the first half of the season in the rear view, Hart is looking at the second half of the year like a brand new season. Hart joked, “I like to tell everybody that we were just testing things and sandbagging in the spring so I'm hoping that we can turn on the heat in the fall and I really want to take this team to the Countdown. I'm excited to remain in the top 10 in points as one of the fastest drivers on the planet as I represent my great partners”.
For Hart, one of the biggest challenges he is looking to solve in the near future is how to make sure his family can travel with him on a regular basis when he is at the track. He credits his wife for keeping everything together while he travels for races and speaks highly of her successful photography business. That being said, he also desires his family to be with him more frequently at the track. Getting emotional, Josh shared a story of a Facetime with daughter Helen. He mentioned how he told her he would see her in a couple of days and she replied with a stern, “NO” that pulled at his heart. “What am I doing” Hart expressed, just one of the many challenges drivers and teams face during the Western Swing when many do not not have the opportunity to travel home between events..
In talking with Josh Hart, you quickly realize what a likeable person he is and how easy it is to be a fan of his regardless of if he’s one of the fastest drivers on the planet or someone you might cross paths with in a hotel lobby. Josh doesn’t forget where he came from and shared, “I was in a trailer park and had nothing not too long ago. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it and are willing to work for it. As long as I am still driving, “Anything’s Possible” will proudly remain on the wing of my Top Fuel dragster”.
Strangely enough, looking around the pits at any NHRA event, you quickly realize that Josh Hart is now in a “different” type of trailer park, one jam packed with race haulers that sometimes resembles a traveling circus.
Josh Hart may not be the statistical favorite heading into this years “Countdown to the Championship” but don't be surprised when everything wraps up in Sonoma if Hart is lifting the championship Wally. Anything's Possible!
Photo's: Auto Imagery / Hart2Hart Photography
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