Ennis, Texas, Oct. 31, 2000 - The days are dwindling to a precious few . . . if one is counting the number of days remaining in this 2000 NHRA season. Doug Herbert is. The Snap-on Racing Top Fuel driver has just six days left on his Winston...
Ennis, Texas, Oct. 31, 2000 - The days are dwindling to a precious few . . . if one is counting the number of days remaining in this 2000 NHRA season.
Doug Herbert is. The Snap-on Racing Top Fuel driver has just six days left on his Winston Series work schedule and he'd like to make the most of them, starting with the completion of the rain-delayed O'Reilly Fall Nationals, Friday and Saturday at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas.
Drivers will be busy with three qualifying sessions Friday - 10 a.m., 2 and 6 p.m. - that will set the field for Saturday's 11 a.m. eliminations.
"Getting three qualifying runs in one day doesn't bother me," said Herbert, who solidified his hold on ninth place in points with a quarterfinal finish Sunday in the SuperNationals at Houston. "I'd just as soon do that as sit around waiting to run like we did the last time we were at the Motorplex."
Rain two weeks ago in the Dallas area kept Herbert, crew chief Larry Frazier and the Snap-on team sidelined. They wanted to try different engine and clutch combinations but were forced to wait until the Houston race. The mechanical results were very encouraging.
"We ran good all weekend without hurting any parts," said Herbert. "We should be able to pick up the performance at the Motorplex. We'd like to finish the season on a high note and get a win before it's over."
Herbert and Frazier were pleased because their times improved in his last three qualifying runs at Houston (4.764, 4.696 and 4.663 seconds) without any parts failures.
On race day, good fortune smiled on Herbert in his first-round match against Larry Dixon, who'd beaten him five consecutive times this year. The parachute on the Snap-on dragster shook loose early in the run, billowing behind the car as Herbert pedaled the throttle and headed toward the finish line. He won with a 5.643 at 215.89 while Dixon's car lost traction.
"I didn't know the 'chute came out until I got to the finish line," said Herbert, who was happy to get the win. But he wasn't as fortunate against Baldwin.
"We were disappointed we couldn't get past Baldwin Sunday," he added. "I had him at the starting line (.485 to .552) but the tires started to shake. I reached for the brake but the clutch (application) came in and the tires started smoking. Baldwin came by me about the same time and that was it."
Baldwin won with a 4.860 at 264.60 to Herbert's 5.748 at 185.23.
The Auto Club Finals, Nov. 9-12, occupy the last four days of the season. That event also hosts the annual Budweiser Top Fuel Shootout, a special event for the eight drivers earning the most qualifying points during the year. The winner takes home $100,000.
Herbert is eighth going into the Fall Nationals with 2495 points, 60 ahead of Don Lampus in the last event before the Shootout. If Herbert qualifies among the top eight Friday he'll clinch the position no matter what Lampus does.