Baytown: Doug Herbert preview

Consistency, race win still on Snap-On Team's to do list. BAYTOWN, Texas, April 9, 2003 - Whenever Doug Herbert returns to Houston Raceway Park, the memory of his 1999 visit comes rushing back. Herbert turned that March day into his most ...

Consistency, race win still on Snap-On Team's to do list.

BAYTOWN, Texas, April 9, 2003 - Whenever Doug Herbert returns to Houston Raceway Park, the memory of his 1999 visit comes rushing back.

Herbert turned that March day into his most rewarding at the races, winning the event and a special $100,000 bonus from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. At the time, the victory was his second in NHRA competition, although he added three more before that season was history. His total now stands at seven.

Since then, he's been to the winner's circle twice, including last year's race at Sonoma, Calif.

Herbert and his Snap-on Racing Top Fuel team are headed to HRP for the O'Reilly Spring Nationals, Friday through Sunday, intent on finding the consistency that's eluded them for much of the season. And, in turn, they hope it will take them to the race win.

Crew chief Ron Douglas and tuning advisor Jim Brissette believe they solved the tune-up trouble experienced at Las Vegas last weekend. According to the incremental times, Herbert was on a mid-4.5-second pace in Friday night qualifying when the engine expired, slowing him to 4.622 seconds at 284.62 mph.

When the engine didn't respond to the tune-up on Saturday, the crew discovered a faulty fuel pump. "Those things never seem to quit," said Herbert.

Crew chiefs usually like to steer clear of replacing a part as important as the fuel pump on race day, but Douglas knew it was the only way to go. He made the change and Herbert noticed it Sunday morning.

"The horsepower is there," Herbert said. "We found something we hope we can apply at Houston."

There is a need to do something quickly if Herbert wants to maintain his goal of winning the POWERade championship. Frontrunners Larry Dixon and Brandon Bernstein have pulled away from the rest of the field. Dixon has 403 points and Bernstein 344 with 19 races remaining.

Herbert has 193 points and is eighth. However, he trails third-place Doug Kalitta by 79 points while Kalitta is 72 behind Bernstein.

"The power is there, now we have to concentrate on being consistent and winning rounds," Herbert added.

He knows now is the time to start.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Doug Kalitta , Brandon Bernstein