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HERBERT WANTS TO TAKE SNAP-ON DRAGSTER UP A FEW NOTCHES IN STANDINGS READING, Pa. - Doug Herbert is the first to admit his Snap-on Racing Top Fuel team is in a rut. The flip side is that despite losing in the first round at the last...

HERBERT WANTS TO TAKE SNAP-ON DRAGSTER UP A FEW NOTCHES IN STANDINGS

READING, Pa. - Doug Herbert is the first to admit his Snap-on Racing Top Fuel team is in a rut.

The flip side is that despite losing in the first round at the last six races, Herbert remains one of 10 drivers still in the running for the Winston Series championship. That's right, everyone in the top 10 is a contender.

"It's unbelievable," Herbert said. "Nobody is doing anything to take control of the championship race."

Herbert goes into the True Value Keystone Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway (Sept. 17-19) hopeful he and new crew chief Larry Frazier - who took over two weeks ago - will be able to win their third race of the year and climb closer to the front of the pack. Herbert, in second place after winning at Columbus, Ohio, in June, is now ninth with 889 points, 106 behind Tony Schumacher. In-between are Mike Dunn (983), Gary Scelzi (966), Doug Kalitta (962), Joe Amato and Kenny Bernstein (942 apiece), Cory McClenathan (933) and Larry Dixon (914).

"We haven't had much success at Maple Grove," said Herbert, "but then I never had any luck at Houston either until April." That's when Herbert won for the first time in 1999, and took home a $100,000 Winston No Bull bonus, too.

"Larry and the crew are going through all the parts and pieces with a fine-tooth comb, checking to eliminate the source of gremlins that have been plaguing us," Herbert added. "It's preventative maintenance. You know what they say? There are a million ways to do it wrong and only one way to do it right."

Frazier was searching for more clues as to why a push rod broke in the engine during the first round of the U.S. Nationals (Sept. 6 at Indianapolis). "The push rod broke but we don't know what caused it," said Herbert, from Cherryville, N.C. "So many things broke that it's hard to find what started it all."

Herbert, who'd qualified ninth (4.656 seconds at 308 mph), also had an opportunity to win another No Bull bonus if he won the race. But the engine soured against Randy Parks and slowed to a 4.787 at 296.50 to Parks' 4.729 at 303.23. "That was a bummer. We could've used the round win and the bonus," Herbert lamented.

"We'll keep plugging away," he added. "All the work I've been doing to improve my driving has been paying off. Now we must concentrate on getting the car back into winning form.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Kenny Bernstein , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Cory McClenathan