Dallas Doug Herbert Proving He's For Real in Title Chase

HERBERT PROVING HE'S FOR REAL IN NHRA TOP FUEL TITLE CHASE ENNIS, Texas - Doug Herbert and his Snap-on Tools Top Fuel team have been working hard all year long to earn a little respect. With four victories in six final round appearances, the...

HERBERT PROVING HE'S FOR REAL IN NHRA TOP FUEL TITLE CHASE

ENNIS, Texas - Doug Herbert and his Snap-on Tools Top Fuel team have been working hard all year long to earn a little respect.

With four victories in six final round appearances, the Cherryville, N.C. driver is enjoying the best season of his career. Yet, he feels like he needs to win the NHRA Winston championship in order to solidify all that he's accomplished in 1999.

Herbert, a winner of four International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) championships this decade, has proved with back-to-back victories at Topeka, Kan. and Memphis, Tenn., that his team's gameplan is for real. Top Fuel Fluke? His competitors better think again.

"I've always thought that was kind of funny -- all the TV interviews and newspaper stories that I've read this season," Herbert said. "They all mentioned everyone in this deal except me. Even when I was second in the points they were talking about everybody else. That kind of makes me mad. I'm going to have to go out there and do everything I can do to win this (championship)."

Herbert will try to move one step closer to accomplishing his championship goal when he tries to extend his current winning streak to three-in-a-row at the upcoming 14th annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec, Oct. 21-24 at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas. The $1.8 million race is the 20th of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. "No matter what happens, we're going to be racing as hard as we can, trying to win it," Herbert said. "We're not planning on giving up, that's for sure. I know that's the way everybody else is looking at it too, so it's going to be a good fight."

And everybody else includes some time-tested talent. Five-time NHRA champions Joe Amato and Kenny Bernstein are in that all-star group, as well as two-time defending series champ Gary Scelzi. Tony Schumacher, who has yet to win a race, leads the point standings behind the wheel of his potent 330 mph Exide Batteries dragster.

"We'll see what happens after Pomona," Herbert said. "There's no use to start counting points right now. We're going to keep racing as hard as we can and see what happens."

And if Herbert, currently fourth in the standings, 75 behind leader Schumacher, and crew chief Larry Frazier can continue to find the magic to be consistent for three more Sundays, he may just walk away with his first NHRA Winston championship.

"We don't want to change a whole heck of a lot with our program," Herbert said. "We probably need to pick up our performance a little bit, but we don't want to lose any of our consistency while trying to do that."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Kenny Bernstein , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi