By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
ATCO, N.J. — It seems like Advance Auto Parts Top Alcohol Dragster driver Josh Hart cannot be beaten at Atco Dragway. In fact, Hart has not lost in the past three years at the facility.
Hart won for the third straight year at the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series in the Northeast Division on Saturday night at Atco Dragway. He defeated Jackie Fricke in the final round.
The Ocala, Florida native went 5.224 at 273.94 mph in the final round for the win. Fricke, the Flemington, New Jersey native, went 9.532 at 84.90 mph.
“This was the place that I got my very first Wally,” Hart said. “It’s awesome. The car likes the track here and you guys always put on a good show. I’m just happy to be here.”
This is the second challenger for Hart in the final round during the three year span. He defeated Dan Page in 2016 and 2017 in the final round.
“I actually sponsor her (Jackie Fricke’s) nieces dragsters,” he said. “It was epic. We had identical reaction times, but we just had the better hot rod. It’s always fun to race her, because there is an internal grudge there. It’s good.”
Hart picked up his NHRA Northeast Division win of the season. Yet, he’s won races outside of the Division this season. He won the Indianapolis regional along with the NHRA Southern Nationals national event in May.
“This division definitely has a lot more competition,” he said. “It’s better and you have to be on point. You cannot underestimate the person on the other side.”
In addition, this is the first-time he won in the NHRA Northeast Division since winning at Atco Dragway last year. When he won at Atco Dragway, he had won three straight races, as he also won at Lebanon Valley Dragway and New England Dragway.
He’s just the fourth different Top Alcohol Dragster driver to win in the NHRA Northeast Division this season. Duane Shields has two wins, while Justin Ashley won the season-opening event at Virginia Motorsports Park in April.
Hart is the first three-time winner at Atco Dragway in the five-year history of the event. Rich McPhillips won the inaugural event in 2014 and again in 2015.