JOLIET, Ill. - Doug Herbert is probably too young to remember the lyrics of a song that say "get your kicks on Route 66." It doesn't matter, though, because he can relate to it. Herbert will be trying to get his kicks at Route 66 Raceway, June...
JOLIET, Ill. - Doug Herbert is probably too young to remember the lyrics of a song that say "get your kicks on Route 66." It doesn't matter, though, because he can relate to it.
Herbert will be trying to get his kicks at Route 66 Raceway, June 4-6, during the NHRA Fram Route 66 Nationals. He has, in fact, been getting plenty of kicks during the 1999 season.
After eight of 22 Winston Series races, Herbert's Snap-on Racing Top Fuel team has been one of this year's surprises. Herbert, with one win (Houston, April 11, that was worth a $100,000 bonus) and two second-place finishes, is second in points with 575, 26 behind Mike Dunn's 601, in a tightly bunched field.
Crew chief Dick LaHaie's consistent tune-ups have enabled the Cherryville, N.C., driver to remain a solid contender. "Our entire team has been doing a great job of preparing the car," Herbert said. "I believe we have one of the better crews. We're looking forward to proving it to the fans at Joliet. It's a good track that should be getting better because this is our second race there."
Herbert arrives here following a second-place finish at Englishtown, N.J. (May 25). Rain delayed competition after the quarterfinals Sunday (May 23), and the event wasn't completed until Tuesday. Herbert advanced with wins over Connie Kalitta (4.580 seconds at 320.74 mph) and Bob Vandergriff Jr. (4.594, 312.92 mph) before it rained. On Tuesday, he beat Gary Scelzi in a race where both cars had traction trouble, then lost to Joe Amato in the final.
"We had a clutch malfunction against Amato," Herbert said. "The tires started smoking at the hit of the throttle. I know Dick doesn't like to lose. I don't like to lose either, but he works that much harder to get ready for the next race. The last time we were runner-up (to Dunn at Gainesville, Fla.), we won the next race. We hope the trend continues at Route 66 Raceway. Actually, that would be good because there is a large group of Snap-on people coming down (from Kenosha, Wis.) for the race.
"We were happy with the way things went at Englishtown, other than we didn't win the race. But there were 14 other drivers racing Sunday who wanted to be in our shoes Tuesday."
Some of those drivers likely were Kenny Bernstein, who is third in points with 493; Tony Schumacher, fourth at 491; Larry Dixon, fifth at 489; and Cory McClenathan, sixth at 462.
Noted - The team took delivery of a new Snap-on dragster from builder Murf McKinney. It will serve as the backup for now.
Quoted - "I don't have to worry about the car working right, thanks to Dick and (assistant crew chief) Larry Frazier, so I am so much more confident driving the car. It's a lot easier to drive better when you don't have anything to worry about," Herbert said.