2023 Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout winner Josh Hart. (NHRA Photo)

Hart Added To Top Fuel All-Star Callout In Gainesville

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Top Fuel standout Josh Hart will have the opportunity to defend his victory in the Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout, which takes place on March 9 as part of the 55th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at legendary Gainesville Raceway.

Hart, the defending event winner in the big-money specialty race, moved into the final spot after Leah Pruett opted not to compete in the Callout. A year ago, Hart won out of the No. 8 spot in the Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout, and he’ll try to repeat that effort at his home track to kick off the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season.

“I have always believed ‘Anything’s Possible’ and this turn of events proves that you have to stay ready because anything can happen,” Hart said. “I am excited to get to mix it up with these other seven drivers. We won from the No. 8 spot last year and we will try and do it again. This R+L Carriers Top Fuel team learned a lot at the end of the season and over the off-season. We will be ready.”

Both Antron Brown and Shawn Langdon will move up one spot to sixth and seventh, respectively, with Hart jumping into the final position in the marquee specialty event. Four-time Top Fuel world champion Steve Torrence is the top seed in the big-money specialty race and has the first pick to call out his opening-round opponent.

Doug Kalitta, Mike Salinas, Brittany Force and Justin Ashley make up the next four positions. If Kalitta isn’t called out, the veteran picks next, going down the line until all four first-round matchups are set. Then, the driver who makes the quickest winning run that round selects their semifinal opponent, locking in the other matchup.

With Pruett not racing in Gainesville, her husband and team owner Tony Stewart, who is making his NHRA Top Fuel debut at the Gatornationals, is expected to compete in both qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday leading into Sunday eliminations.

The Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout, which started in 2022 and pits eight standouts against each other in a unique specialty shootout, includes a total purse of $130,000, a special Callout trophy and belt, and plenty of bragging rights. It’s also a field that includes five world champions, with Torrence, Kalitta, the 2023 world champion, Force, Brown and Langdon owning 11 combined world titles.

Last year, Hart, who won the Gatornationals in 2021 in his first career Top Fuel start, beat Austin Prock, Force and Salinas from the No. 8 position to win the Callout.