Englishtown: Doug Herbert SuperNationals preview

Snap-On Racing Report Herbert, revitalized Snap-On top fuel team looking forward to Supernationals. ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., May 10, 2002 - Now that Doug Herbert's found his way to the final round of a 2002 NHRA Powerade Series event, he'd like ...

Snap-On Racing Report

Herbert, revitalized Snap-On top fuel team looking forward to Supernationals.

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., May 10, 2002 - Now that Doug Herbert's found his way to the final round of a 2002 NHRA Powerade Series event, he'd like to make it a habit.

Herbert and crew chief/tuner Johnny West shrugged off a season of sub-par performances en route to second place in the Southern Nationals (at Commerce, Ga., May 5), and their next goal is to maintain the consistency and keep winning rounds.

The Cherryville, N.C.-based Snap-on Racing Top Fuel team not only won three more times on that Sunday at Atlanta Dragway than it had all year, but Herbert posted his fastest 2002 speed (323.74 mph) and equaled his best elapsed time (4.622 seconds) during the weekend.

The run to the finals, where he lost to Larry Dixon, this season's pacesetter, provided the infusion of enthusiasm and confidence Herbert's team needed. His only previous round win came in the second race, a 4.622-second upset of Kenny Bernstein.

"Johnny and I were staying away from sharp objects before that race," Herbert said jokingly. "It was a good time for us to run well because it got us ready for the three races in row that are next. I didn't think we'd be ready for them before that weekend, but we learned quite a bit. I think we are on the right track with the tune-up.

"From first-round losses to the final round is quite a change in tempo."

The next stop with be at Raceway Park for the SuperNationals, May 17-19, followed by the O'Reilly Summernationals in Topeka, Kan., May 24-26, and the Dodge Dealers Route 66 Nationals, May 31-June 2, in Joliet, Ill.

"Englishtown has always been a good place to go fast," commented Herbert, who was runner-up at the track in 1999. "And Topeka and Route 66 Raceway are good, fast tracks, too."

Herbert stayed to test Monday after the race and came away satisfied. "We didn't get the elapsed times we wanted, but we are improving," he added.

The Snap-on dragster was on the right track during much of the cold, wet Southern Nationals. Rain washed out one qualifying session Friday but Herbert assured himself of a No. 6 starting spot with a 4.629-second run Saturday.

His 4.622-second time in the opening round beat Andrew Cowin. Herbert added a 4.710 to edge Cory McClenathan and a 5.021 to stop Don Sosenka and bump his way into his 13th career NHRA final.

Herbert left first against Dixon (.456-.482) and held the lead until his car's tires began smoking, enabling Dixon to collect his fifth win in seven events this season, 4.637 at 318.09 to 5.039 at 231.87. Herbert, meanwhile, was able to move into seventh place with 309 points, 40 behind David Grubnic and 74 behind Doug Kalitta.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Doug Kalitta , Andrew Cowin , David Grubnic , Cory McClenathan