Herbert overcomes tricky conditions to qualify 10th at the Fall Nationals DALLAS, TX, qualifying: Doug Herbert overcame an unusually tricky racing surface at the Texas Motorplex on Saturday to qualify for the 21st annual O'Reilly NHRA Fall ...
Herbert overcomes tricky conditions to qualify 10th at the Fall Nationals
DALLAS, TX, qualifying: Doug Herbert overcame an unusually tricky racing surface at the Texas Motorplex on Saturday to qualify for the 21st annual O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals. The driver of the Snap-on Tools Top Fuel dragster endured the heat, wind and a long delay for rain to make two solid runs and qualify for Sunday's eliminations.
The conditions were extremely hot and windy when professional qualifying began late Friday afternoon at the Fall Nationals. The all-concrete quarter-mile at Texas Motorplex proved to be extremely tough to navigate and most of the fuel cars made sub-par runs on their first two attempts. Herbert, who set the track elapsed time record at last year's event with a stunning 4.441, lost traction on both of his runs on Friday. The veteran driver expertly pedaled the car and made it to the finish line on each pass, but his best of 5.413 at 217.25 mph was only good enough for the 17th qualifying position after Friday.
The hard working Snap-on Tools team had two chances on Saturday to attempt to make the 16-car field. The weather remained hot and windy and there was a threat of rain in the area as Herbert and the team prepared for the third qualifying session. Just as the Top Fuel cars pulled into the staging lanes it began to rain. The Snap-on team returned to the pit area and serviced the car and racing resumed after a two hour delay. Herbert laid down a conservative 4.784 at 294.63 mph to move into the No. 13 spot with one qualifying run remaining.
The rain delay moved the final Top Fuel qualifying session into the early evening. As the sun was setting in the West, Herbert rolled to the starting line looking to improve. At the flash of green the Snap-on dragster hiked the front wheels off the ground and Herbert thundered to a 4.641 at 306.88 mph to temporarily move into the No. 6 position. With most of the Top Fuel cars improving during a strong final session, "Dougzilla" ended qualifying in the No. 10 position and will face Brandon Bernstein in round one of eliminations on Sunday.
"Our backs were against the wall and the Snap-on Tools team responded," said Herbert with confidence at the end of qualifying. "We went up there and made a good run when we had to and that's the sign of a good team. It shows when you can make a good run when the pressure is on. There's nobody here that we can't beat if everything goes right and that's what we're looking for tomorrow."
The Snap-on Tools team welcomed Doug Herbert Performance VIP Contest winners Lindsay and Jason Cech at the Fall Nationals. Suanne Giddings was the original winner but she opted to give the tickets to her daughter, Lindsay. Also joining the team on Saturday was Janette Chase and her husband John, who won the Racers for Christ Garage "Crewmember of the Day" auction. The winners each had the opportunity to ride with Herbert in the tow vehicle during qualifying. The also received Snap-on Tools merchandise and were given a full behind the ropes tour of the pit area. They also had lunch with the team and enjoyed the comforts of the Snap-on Tools hospitality area.