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Josh Hart leads TAD qualifying after first session

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By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Atco, NJ – In the first qualifying round for the Top Alcohol Dragster, Josh Hart, a Florida native, had the fastest run at 5.277 at 272.01 mph at Atco Dragway. Hart is in his first-year racing his car – and picked up the top spot when he was in the second-to-last pairing.

Daniel Page is second after he went 5.319 at 270.05 mph in his dragster and was the early leader before Hart came up. Jackie Fricke – whose racing without her teammate John Finke this weekend – is currently third in the 12-car field, as she went 5.324 at 280.37 mph.

John Deere-sponsored Josh Hart leads qualifying at Atco Dragway

Josh Hart racing at Atco Dragway in 2016 (Photo by Anthony Caruso III)

Canadian Dan Mercier is fourth after going 5.360 at 271.24. Rich McPhillips – who won last year’s Atco event – is currently qualified fifth following his 5.392 at 277.50 mph.

Earl Nichols is sixth with his 5.464 at 263.00 run, while 23-year-old Ben Dier is seventh with his 5.817 at 242.98. Tom Fox Jr., whose from Shamong, N.J., is currently qualified eighth with his 6.104 at 248.52 in his father-and-son race team.

Frank Schuster, another local driver from Chesterfield, N.J., is ninth with his 6.248 at 25149 run. Karen Stalba, whose from Hammonton, N.J., is tenth with a 6.915 at 255.05 mph showing.

Duane Shields – last year’s Northeast Division Champion – is 11th at the moment with another session to run later. He had problems and shut it off with a 7.301 at 124.00. Rich Bourke is the final qualifier after going 11.781 at 95.48.

McPhillips is looking to sweep the competition once again as he won the past two-years at this facility. He’s looking to make it three-in-a-row.

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