Top Alcohol Dragster pilot Josh Hart has announced his transition to the Top Fuel ranks, competing in NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series’ quickest class beginning with the season opener at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway March 11-14, 2021.
Hart was previously announced as a Top Fuel dragster driver for Bob Vandergriff Racing in January 2019. However, after earning his Top Fuel license, the COVID-19 pandemic happened in March.
“We decided to put everything on hold until now. Owning an operation was a way to have the flexibility of my own schedule. It’s amazing. You always think about it if you’re an avid drag racer, or even if you’re a fan. You think, ‘Man, what would it be like to drive one of these things.’ I have achieved the goal.”
Hart plans to compete in 12 to 14 races on the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.
“I would say realistically, I’d think we’ll shoot for 12 to 14 races,” he said. “It depends on how the year goes. We’ll focus on the Northeast area with races from Dallas to Indianapolis and east.”
Two of the events that Hart is excited about attending is the Gatornationals and the U.S. Nationals. But he also wants to get a Norwalk monkey off his back with the new operation.
“I’m super excited about Gainesville,” he said. “I don’t know why, but I’ve always wanted to win Norwalk, Ohio. I’ve never done well there with any car. That’s the track for me. I need to conquer it.”
One of the races that Hart at which be competing with this new operation is the historic U.S. Nationals. He has previously had a lot of success there, including winning the event twice in Top Alcohol Dragster.
“It’s going to be very emotional to qualify,” Hart said. “I would get to come out on that podium, where they do the driver introductions. You always think about it and what it would be like. I’m not a very outgoing person. I stick to myself. I’m going to have to get over that with this move. It’s going to be a special moment.”
However, Hart’s dream will finally come true at the Gatornationals. Every one of his first competitive passes has come at the historic venue.
“When I first went to the dragstrip, I went on a test and tune night,” Hart said. “I was using my daily driver, which was a Ford Lightning pickup truck. I ran like 13.90s. Brittanie and I had just started Burnyzz at the time and we didn’t have a whole lot of money. I was like, ‘Wow, I just went down the dragstrip.’ After that, we built a 2003 Cobra, which was for the 10.0 class. Next came Super Comp, Top Dragster, A/Fuel Dragster, and now Top Fuel. Gainesville has always been in our backyard. At first, it was convenient, but now it’s sentimental. That was also where we got our first Wally. It wasn’t for a win, but it was a Wally for the Best Appearing Crew.”
With this new venture, Hart will have more responsibilities than he previously had with his Top Alcohol Dragster pilot.
Hart and his wife Brittanie are the owners of Burnyzz’s Speed Shop in Ocala, Fla. Burnyzz’s Speed Shop is a new and classic car restoration shop, detail shop, service center, and speed shop.
“Burnyzz runs like a well-oiled machine,” Hart said. “We have three divisions. We have the storage end of the company, we have the service end of the company, and the sales end of the company. We have really good managers and really good people in place, who have been with me for 10-years. They do a great job and they watch out for the house to make sure that everything runs smoothly. I’m very proud of those guys.”
When Hart is out there on the track, he’s going to face a variety of drivers, from multi-car teams to independent teams. Steve Torrence -- the three-time world champion -- has proven over the last several years that an independent team can compete at a top-level with the multi-car teams.
“Steve Torrence is bad-ass,” Hart said. “You have to respect what they do. They’re self-funded and they have a strong family, business, and race team. They have an awesome racing program. It’s a dynamite package. I look forward to competing against him -- and maybe even learn some things from him. All of the people who operate at this level are so professional.”