Good test results provide Doug Herbert, Snap-On Top Fuel team with positive outlook as 2003 season begins. POMONA, Calif., January 31, 2003 - Always optimistic as he prepares for the beginning of a new NHRA POWERade Series season, Doug Herbert...
Good test results provide Doug Herbert, Snap-On Top Fuel team with positive outlook as 2003 season begins.
POMONA, Calif., January 31, 2003 - Always optimistic as he prepares for the beginning of a new NHRA POWERade Series season, Doug Herbert believes there's substance in his positive outlook this time around.
His Snap-on Top Fuel dragster had two very positive test sessions, and new crew chief Ron Douglas and tuning consultant Jim Brissette worked quite well together. Adding the team's strong 2002 finish to the mix should, Herbert says, enable them to run among the top three or four cars during the 23-race campaign.
They get their first competitive look at the rest of the Top Fuel field in the K&N Filters Winternationals, Feb. 6-9, at Pomona Raceway. And if it isn't enough just to get the 2003 season underway, there's additional incentive with the running of the Budweiser Top Fuel Shootout. Rain during November's Auto Club Finals at Pomona Raceway forced NHRA officials to reschedule the event for Saturday. The winner takes home $100,000.
"We definitely feel good about our test results and our chances of winning the Winternationals," said Herbert, who finished seventh last year, winning one event and placing second twice. "We should be competitive. I definitely feel better about our team than I have in a long time."
He overhauled his crew in November, promoting Douglas, hiring Brissette, a longtime friend and respected tuning consultant, and naming Sam Shockley assistant crew chief.
Buoyed by good incremental times during the testing stay at Phoenix - he didn't keep the throttle down the entire 1320 feet on any run, at Douglas' request - Herbert registered three consistent runs at the practice in Tucson, Ariz. His elapsed times of 4.648, 4.654 and 4.684 seconds in one day were the most consistent of the weekend, as were his 4.723 and 4.754 times during a windy Sunday.
"The team did well in testing, too," added Herbert. "We were good and consistent. Ron and Brissette looked over the computer readings, going over the tune-up changes, and worked well together while Sam did a good job supervising the crew. And I was included in all their discussions."
Ten years ago, Brissette was Herbert's crew chief and the duo stunned the Pomona Raceway crowd with the sport's quickest elapsed time (4.880 seconds) and its second 300-mph run (301.60). Now their sites are set on getting a good start to what the long season. Herbert, a semifinalist at the Auto Club Finals, is hoping to add one more round win to that total this time.
Then there's the quest for the $100 grand, which is to be contested in conjunction with Saturday qualifying. Herbert admits to having a formidable first-round foe in Larry Dixon, the 2002 Top Fuel champion who won nine times in 14 final rounds. "He's a tough draw for a first-round opponent, but we might as well start with him.
"We'll be revved up when we get to Pomona. We're ready to start the season," Herbert concluded.
In other Shootout first-round matches, Brandon Bernstein, replacing his dad, Kenny, meets Darrell Russell; Doug Kalitta vs. Andrew Cowin; and Tony Schumacher vs. Cory McClenathan. It's the Herbert-Dixon winner vs. Schumacher-McClenathan winner and Bernstein-Russell winner vs. Kalitta-Cowin winner in the semifinals.
Top Fuel drivers line up for their first qualifying sessions Thursday and Friday at 3 p.m. Saturday's two sessions are at noon and 4 p.m.