Dallas: Doug Herbert preview

Herbert likes positive performance of Snap-on Dragster ENNIS, Texas, Oct. 8, 2003 - Doug Herbert didn't get the birthday present he wished for Sunday, but Wes Cerny and the rest of the Snap-on Racing Top Fuel crew will have another opportunity...

Herbert likes positive performance of Snap-on Dragster

ENNIS, Texas, Oct. 8, 2003 - Doug Herbert didn't get the birthday present he wished for Sunday, but Wes Cerny and the rest of the Snap-on Racing Top Fuel crew will have another opportunity to make good Sunday at the Texas Motorplex.

That's the site of the O'Reilly Fall Nationals, Friday through Sunday - that officially ends NHRA's longest string of consecutive weeks of racing at seven - and the place where Herbert would like to claim his first NHRA POWERade Series win of the year.

Usually Herbert enjoys racing each week, but the month of September was chock full of races and, as things turned out, rain. While Cerny was making critical changes to the tune-up and needed to get as many qualifying runs as possible, Mother Nature was shortening the weekend's competitive days with inclement weather.

Herbert made just two qualifying attempts at Joliet, Ill., Sept. 27, and did not qualify. He made two attempts in different months in the Lucas Oil Nationals at Reading, Pa., a race that began Sept. 12 and concluded Saturday and Sunday, but not before one of two Saturday sessions was washed out.

"We'd just like to go to the Motorplex and get four qualifying runs," Herbert said. "That will help us a lot. Missing those qualifying runs has been hard on Wes and the crew because we need to get down the track so we can fine-tune the new combination."

The car's performance at Reading provided positive proof the new parts are capable of low elapsed times despite a lack of seasoning.

Herbert, for example, opened eliminations with a 4.592-second, 288.33-mph win over Darrell Russell. It was the Cherryville, N.C., driver's first sub-4.60-second run since mid-May and brought smiles to Herbert, Cerny and the crew.

Even two shutoff runs, including a 900-foot pass on Saturday's only qualifying run and Sunday's quarterfinal loss to Tony Schumacher, couldn't dampen Herbert's enthusiasm.

"Our computer's incremental times showed we were on a pace to run 4.50s both times," he said.

"Because the Motorplex is an all-concrete track, we know the racing surface will be fast when we get there," Herbert added. "With any luck at all the weather will be good - and we could sure use it - this weekend. Wes is getting things worked out. We have three races to figure it out and get ready for 2004."

Herbert had a better view than he wanted of the sport's quickest run against Schumacher, who ran away with a 4.441-second elapsed time. "I shut off early because there was there wasn't much else I could do," he commented.

The Snap-on Racing driver goes into the Fall Nationals in eighth place with 839 points and he's only five behind John Smith. Sixth-place David Baca is 108 points ahead with 12 rounds of racing to go and 20 points available for each round win.

Qualifying is on tap at 3:30 and 7 p.m. Friday and 12:30 and 3:30 Saturday. Sunday eliminations begin at 11 a.m.

Only stops in Las Vegas (Oct. 26) and the Auto Club Finals in Pomona, Calif. (Nov. 9) remain on the 2003 schedule.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Tony Schumacher