ROCKINGHAM, N.C., Sept. 15, 2000 - He's won more International Hot Rod Association Top Fuel races than all but one driver. He's a four-time IHRA season champion. He's won at least one IHRA race a year since 1992. And he only lives about...
ROCKINGHAM, N.C., Sept. 15, 2000 - He's won more International Hot Rod Association Top Fuel races than all but one driver.
He's a four-time IHRA season champion.
He's won at least one IHRA race a year since 1992.
And he only lives about a two-hour drive from Rockingham Dragway.
The description fits Doug Herbert, the Cherryville, N.C.-based driver of the Snap-on Racing dragster. Herbert will be seeking his 21st IHRA Top Fuel victory at the CARQUEST Autumn Nationals, Thursday through Saturday. This will be Herbert's first IHRA appearance of the season. He's also the defending race champion.
That 1999 Autumn Nationals win was Herbert's first at venerable Rockingham Dragway and his goal is to make it two straight. He wouldn't mind facing the same driver in the title round this time, either - Jim Bailey, driver of his IHRA Snap-on Top Fuel entry.
"I like to race at Rockingham," Herbert said. "Because it's the closest track to my business (Doug Herbert Performance Parts), the people who work there have an opportunity to come out and watch us run. We'd sure like to race Bailey in the finals again."
Herbert, IHRA champion in 1992, 1995-97, is a regular on the NHRA circuit. He's currently ninth in Winston Series points.
"Our goal is to get our Snap-on dragster to go down the track on every run," Herbert commented. "We won't be able to learn much, tune-up-wise, because IHRA and NHRA have different rules, but we should be able to get after it.
"We're actually going to run our back-up dragster at Rockingham because the NHRA and IHRA rules are so different Larry (Frazier, his crew chief) and I didn't want to make any big changes to our NHRA car," he continued. "Our car is too close to running good to be making a lot of combination changes. This will give us an opportunity to see how the new car performs in racing conditions. This will give it a good test."
Only Don Garlits (with 23 wins) is ahead of Herbert on the IHRA Top Fuel victories list.
"It would be nice to get that 21st win," Herbert added. "We want to see how good we can run. We hope the race is a confidence builder."
Bailey, meanwhile, is looking forward to the event. Sam Shockley, his Snap-on dragster crew chief, has the car running competitive elapsed times for the first time this season.
"We are running good," Bailey pointed out. "And we are capable of winning races, we're just about half a season behind the rest of the cars. We had some bad luck at Epping (N.H., site of the Parts Pro North American Nationals) with a fuel line. We've fixed that fixed and we're really looking forward to the race.
"There's a lot of good competition in the series this year. I think it's better than it has been in a long time."
Bailey will be attempting to improve on his No. 5 (539 points) position in the standings. Paul Romine leads with 826 with just three races remaining in 2000.