Karen Stalba, a two-time national event finalist, has announced a return to the Top Alcohol Dragster class in 2021, and in an effort to keep pace in a rapidly progressing category, Stalba and her husband, Tom, have purchased the entire operation of two-time U.S. Nationals winner Josh Hart. Hart, a Top 10 finisher in each of the last four seasons, is expected to announce his own 2021 plans shortly and they most likely include a long-anticipated move to Top Fuel.
As part of the move, the Stalba’s have also announced that crew chiefs Gene Gallant and Robert Smullen, who have guided Hart into the 5.1-second zone at over 280-mph, have agreed to remain as tuning consultants.
“When I said, ‘I’ll be right back’ it took me a little longer than planned,” said Stalba, who went to back-to-back finals in Atlanta in 2005-06 and last competed in the Alcohol Dragster class in 2018. “We sat out last year and I knew we had work to do in order to come back. I wasn’t coming back unless I could be all-in. This is our opportunity. I believe things happen for a reason and good things come to those who wait. I’m grateful to my husband, Tom, for his support and eagerness to see me back in the class. I had fun in Super Comp, but I want to go fast.”
Tom Stalba has won nine national events in Super Comp and Super Gas and is an eight-time Northeast Division champion. The couple’s two children, Paul and Emily, are both accomplished Jr. Drag Racers. Current plans call for a full 14 race season of national and regional events beginning at the Gatornationals in March.
Support for Stalba’s latest venture comes from AA Auto Salvage, Lucas Oil Products, JKR Racing Products, Simpson, VP Fuels, NGK, Mahle Motorsport North America, Burnyzz Speed Shop, and Chicks on Slicks.