Doug Herbert Eyes Move to Second Place at Houston

BAYTOWN, Texas - Doug Herbert will always remember April 11, 1999, not only as the day he won his second NHRA Top Fuel race, but because it came with a $100,000 bonus from Winston. Herbert had waited almost six years between victories...

BAYTOWN, Texas - Doug Herbert will always remember April 11, 1999, not only as the day he won his second NHRA Top Fuel race, but because it came with a $100,000 bonus from Winston. Herbert had waited almost six years between victories and the No Bull award only made the day much more rewarding and memorable. Fortunately, the Cherryville, N.C. driver of the Snap-on Racing dragster hasn't had to wait another six years before earning another win. He comes to Houston Raceway Park this weekend (Oct. 29-31) with three more wins to his credit - two coming in his last three outings. This has been a roller coaster-like season for Herbert, 32. His second title came at Columbus, Ohio, in mid-June and put him second in the championship hunt. But seven consecutive first-round losses saw him plummet all the way to 10th. Along the way, crew chief Dick LaHaie was replaced by former assistant crew chief Larry Frazier and Herbert rebounded, winning his third and fourth races (Topeka, Kan., and Memphis) in, ironically, Frazier's third and fourth events as crew chief. That streak ended Sunday in a quarterfinal loss to point leader Tony Schumacher at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis. The setback, coupled with Schumacher's race win, effectively doused Herbert's 1999 title hopes, so he and Frazier are now setting their sights on overtaking No. 2 Joe Amato at the Matco Tools SuperNationals. Herbert is third with 1198 points to Amato's 1257 with only the Auto Club Finals, Nov. 11-14, at Pomona, Calif., remaining. "We did the best we could against Schumacher," Herbert said, "but it wasn't quite good enough. We really wanted to get by him. Maybe we'll get another chance Sunday." Herbert left the starting line first (.452 to .476) but couldn't hold off Schumacher's closing charge. Herbert stopped the clocks at 4.639 seconds at 315.45 mph to a winning 4.591 at 319.94 mph. "We need to pick up our 60-foot times," Herbert remarked. "We'll look at what (times) we were running in April and try to repeat the performance. That sure sounds easy, but it's not. We definitely want to make sure we stay ahead of the drivers behind us." Gary Scelzi (1187), Mike Dunn (1172) and Doug Kalitta (1160) are right on Herbert's heels. "We've been very happy with the way our Snap-on dragster has been running," Herbert noted. "Obviously we wanted to be number one but we'll go out there and do the best we can do. No matter what happens, we've still had a heckuva year."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Mike Dunn , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Dick LaHaie