The Amer­i­can Dream on Steroids

Drag Racer - - CONTENTS - Text by Pete Ward Pho­tos by Ron Lewis


Prior to 2009, Josh owned a suc­cess­ful as­phalt paving com­pany in Fort Wayne, In­di­ana. Grow­ing tired of the va­garies of Mid­west­ern weather, he and wife Brit­tanie did a thor­ough search for a more hos­pitable cli­mate. Lo­ca­tion se­lected, the busi­ness was sold, and off they went to Ocala, Florida.

Once in Ocala, Josh be­gan par­tic­i­pat­ing in ex­tracur­ric­u­lar racing ac­tiv­i­ties, as he had in In­di­ana. New friend Gene Selby con­vinced him to go le­git and take his con­sid­er­able driv­ing skills and Ford Light­ning to NHRA’s fabled Gainesville, Florida, fa­cil­ity. What fol­lowed through­out the next five years was a suc­ces­sion of faster and faster race cars.

In 2013, Remo DiGen­ova re­lin­quished the seat in his S/C drag­ster to Josh, who, at the jump, bet­tered Remo’s per­for­mance. Soon he was the S/C’s owner, even­tu­ally con­vert­ing it to a big-block-pow­ered sev­ensec­ond Top Drag­ster.

Lust­ing for still more, in 2015 Josh be­gan his prepa­ra­tions for A/Fuel. A year later, he was wheel­ing a new 295-inch Dan-Page­built drag­ster pow­ered by an in­jected-ni­troburn­ing BAE Hemi. A shrewd judge of tal­ent, Josh re­cruited Gene Gal­lant as crew chief.

Gene, brother of renowned NHRA cham­pion Art Gal­lant, had la­bored in his brother’s shadow for years, and he proved to be up to the tasks re­quired of his new role. In his first sea­son, Josh missed fin­ish­ing in sec­ond place by one point in the ul­tra-competitive NHRA Divi­sion Two TAD competition. Josh and Gene are as­sisted by Gene’s brother, Donny, John Kohlweiss, Robert Mullins, Mike Marko, and most es­pe­cially, Josh’s wife of 15 years, Brit­tanie. Fly­ing the Ad­vanced Auto Parts col­ors this sea­son, Josh and team are mak­ing serious noise. As of this ar­ti­cle, they’re three for three in cap­tur­ing the #1 qual­i­fy­ing po­si­tion, in­clud­ing NHRA’s Nor­walk, Ohio, na­tional event.

What helped to make all of this pos­si­ble? Josh and Brit­tanie’s Burnyzz’s Speed Shop. What started as a mod­est 2,000-sq-ft op­er­a­tion, en­vi­sioned as a low key, low stress automotive busi­ness, has mor­phed into a 25,000-sq-ft com­plex with 10 full-time em­ploy­ees. Burnyzz’s staff will han­dle the sim­plest task, say, chang­ing your oil, up to restor­ing a clas­sic mus­cle car, or as their moto states: “If you dream it, we’ll build it,” con­struct­ing, from the ground up, your hot rod vi­sion. Ad­di­tion­ally, they scour the coun­try

for clas­sic Amer­i­can mus­cle and of­fer it up for sale in their show­room ca­pa­ble of hold­ing more than 50 cars. To fully un­der­stand the scope of their op­er­a­tion, you need to visit Burnyzz.com.

A fi­nal note: Josh swears, even though he’s a hard­core car drag racer, that he didn’t re­al­ize Ocala was also the home of, some might say, the King of Drag Racing, “Big Daddy” Don Gar­l­its. Sev­eral years ago, Don paid a visit to his new neigh­bor, and he and Josh quickly formed a friend­ship. Big en­listed Josh to as­sist on the Elec­tric Swamp Rat drag­ster, which ap­pears to be Big’s last project.

Josh Hart is in­deed liv­ing the Amer­i­can Dream.

Josh swears, even though he's a hard­core car drag racer, that he didn't re­al­ize Ocala was also the home of, some might say, the King of Drag Racing, 'Big Daddy' Don Gar­l­its. Sev­eral years ago, Don paid a visit to his new neigh­bor, and he and Josh quickly formed a friend­ship.

RIGHT. Brad An­der­son En­ter­prises pro­vided the build­ing blocks for Hart’s es­ti­mated 4,000-hp nitro-burner. BE­LOW. Check out BAE’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion of a 426-style Chrysler Hemi head.

Josh’s work en­vi­rons. Many driv­ers say A/Fuel­ers are more chal­leng­ing than an AA Fuel Drag­ster.

Josh’s words to live by are em­bla­zoned on his drag­ster.

LEFT. Josh chose Gene Gal­lant (brother of NHRA top tier per­former Art Gal­lant) as his crew chief. RIGHT. Josh’s busi­ness suc­cesses have al­lowed him to live the dream.

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