Florida native Hart wins Top Fuel debut at the Gatornationals

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Burnyzz and Technet sponsored Josh Hart was making his Top Fuel Dragster debut in eliminations on Sunday at the 52nd annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida. Now, the young driver will have his name etched in the record books.

What Hart accomplished on Sunday is rare. He won the first Top Fuel race that he entered.

Burnyzz-sponsored Top Fuel Dragster pilot Josh Hart celebrates his win at the 52nd annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals
Josh Hart celebrates his win at the 52nd annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals (Photo by the NHRA/Twitter)

Darrell Russell was the last to accomplish this in 2001.

Hart defeated Shawn Langdon in the final round at his home track. The Ocala, Florida native went 3.826 at 323.66 mph to get the win.

Langdon — who resides in the Indianapolis area — went 4.244 at 219.08 mph. The DHL pilot had problems, as he smoked the tires at half-track.

“Don Garlits was here (after the race) and he said sometimes. It’s just your day,” Hart recalled. “I believe that was today. The guys and Ron Douglas did a fabulous job and it’s always good to have a good solid car underneath you. You focus on your lights and go rounds.”

The No. 8 qualifier had to go through Clay Millican, Steve Torrence, Justin Ashley, and Langdon to claim the Wally.

With Hart’s win, crew chief Ron Douglas has added another win to his résumé. Before Sunday, his last win came at the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals with Blake Alexander on July 29th, 2018, at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California.

“For us to be able to come out here and do it with Josh, it’s awesome,” Douglas said. “He and Brittanie are two of the best people you can ever meet. They’ve given us free rein to build this as we saw fit and they’ve been very supportive. Josh can truly drive the car. It’s been a tremendous amount of work for the entire team all winter, spending a lot of time in Ocala, Florida at Josh’s place putting this together.

“To be able to come out and string a few round wins together and get out of here with a win, it’s a real testament to the ownership and the team we were able to bring together here.”

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