Bristol: Doug Herbert preview

Herbert looks for another win at Bristol. BRISTOL, Tenn., April 21, 2003 - Doug Herbert used to "own" the old Bristol Dragway track. He won races there six straight years between 1992 and 1997, winning four IHRA Top Fuel championships along the...

Herbert looks for another win at Bristol.

BRISTOL, Tenn., April 21, 2003 - Doug Herbert used to "own" the old Bristol Dragway track. He won races there six straight years between 1992 and 1997, winning four IHRA Top Fuel championships along the way.

And then Bruton Smith tore up the old track and built modern Bristol Dragway and things haven't been the same since for Herbert.

"It seemed like we won races there every year," recalled Herbert, driver of the Snap-on Racing Top Fuel dragster. "We haven't done much there on the new track so I guess it's time for us to turn things around there."

Herbert gets another opportunity this weekend during the Thunder Valley Nationals, an event that begins a busy five races in six weeks part of the NHRA POWERade Series.

After reaching the semifinals at Houston two weeks ago, Herbert climbed to fifth (267) in the Top Fuel standings and he trails fourth place Cory McClenathan by 33 points. It's the highest the Cherryville, N.C., businessman-racer has been in points since 1999.

"Ron (Douglas, crew chief) and Brissette (Jim, the tuning advisor) and I are communicating much better," added Herbert. "We know what we need to do; now it's time for us to do it. I was pleased with the way we ran at Houston, but we didn't win the race, so it wasn't a perfect weekend. Maybe we'll have that at Bristol."

Herbert did accomplish one goal at Houston. He defeated series pacesetter Larry Dixon in the quarterfinals. Dixon and Brandon Bernstein (459 and 419) are running first and second respectively in points.

"We are getting closer to figuring out a consistent tune-up," said Herbert. "Once we get that, we should be able to win some races and put pressure on the leaders. Beating Dixon was awesome. We need to be able to take advantage of the schedule and gain ground on the guys ahead of us in the next few weeks.

"We discussed testing at Atlanta before we go to Bristol and decided against it," Herbert continued. "We think we learned quite a bit at Houston and are comfortable with the direction we're going."

There have been three winners in the first five races. Dixon and Brandon Bernstein have two apiece and Doug Kalitta one. Herbert is itching to reach that plateau . . . as soon as possible.

"Looking at it realistically, I think the only drivers we need to concentrate on beating right now are McClenathan (third, 300 points), Tony Schumacher (eighth, 231 points), Ill., and Darrell Russell (11, 206)," Herbert remarked. "Even though we beat Dixon this time, we aren't ready yet to take on Dixon or Brandon Bernstein one a regular basis."

As things continue to improve, that might become a reality.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Cory McClenathan , Brandon Bernstein