Herbert stays busy in Gainesville GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Doug Herbert was one of the busiest men in drag racing during the weekend's NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. Herbert did more than just race this weekend. The veteran racer ...
Herbert stays busy in Gainesville
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Doug Herbert was one of the busiest men in drag racing during the weekend's NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.
Herbert did more than just race this weekend. The veteran racer played host to a special group of Snap-on Tools employees on Thursday before he had a group of Marines visit the NHRA event Saturday morning. Just after qualifying was over Saturday afternoon, Herbert went to visit the AMA Supercross event in Orlando that evening.
Oh yeah, he also made a few passes in the Snap-on Tools dragster.
With varying weather conditions, the team was forced to use several setups during the three-day event. The team didn't chalk up a victory, but they still benefited from the race.
Herbert fell to Doug Kalitta in the first round of competition, maintaining his top 10 position in the Top Fuel points after three NHRA events this season.
"We struggled in qualifying so we had a tough draw in the first round," Herbert said about Kalitta. "I thought it was real good that we went down the track which shows that we got better as the weekend went on."
The Snap-on dragster went 4.621-seconds at 298.50 mph to Kalitta's 4.565 at 326.44 after Herbert fouled at the starting line.
"This is the first time we've lost in the first round this season and that's a big improvement over last year," Herbert said. "The driver won the race in Phoenix, but fouled out today. I still think we are ahead of the curve right now and that's a real positive."
Crew chief Rob Flynn said the team has one advantage leaving the Gatornationals.
"We didn't have a warm-weather setup until now," Flynn said. "Everything is going well and the team is coming together quickly. This group acts like a team that has been together for a lot longer than the three months that we actually have been teammates. We gain experience with every run and with that will come quicker numbers."
Snap-on and Herbert combine efforts before nearly every event, taking Snap-on guests to dinner in appreciation of their efforts on a local level. This time, Hebert treated a contest-winning Snap-on dealer from Orlando.
"It was a busy weekend and it all started out with a great dinner with some Snap-on guys from Orlando. We met them at the airport and I flew them to Hilton Head in South Carolina for dinner," Herbert said. "That's always fun because the people who go with us have done something to deserve a quick trip and a nice dinner."
For the third consecutive event, Herbert had a group of Marines take part in a behind-the-scenes tour. Herbert was joined by six local Marines home from active duty overseas. He gave them a tour of the pits, showed off the Snap-on dragster and took the group to visit several other teams competing in the Gatornationals. Gainesville Sun reporter Norm Froscher helped arrange the group of Marines.
"The best part about having those guys visit the track is their attitude," Herbert said. "They always have a good time and it makes us more than happy to have them. Norm did a great job helping us get in contact with some local heroes. Norm is a Marine too and he was proud to help out."
On Saturday, just minutes after he completed the fourth qualifying session, Herbert made the trip to Orlando.
"My son James is a huge Supercross fan and so is his friend Jake (son of Funny Car driver Bob Gilbertson) and we all went to check out a different form of racing," Herbert said. "They attract such a young crowd and the boys really loved the event. Those guys have to be tremendous athletes to be competitive.
"We love motorsports and with our busy schedule we don't get to see too much live, so this was a great chance to see those guys race."
Just when Herbert might settle down and enjoy two weekends off in the NHRA schedule, Herbert has a new project. Herbert and the rest of the team have a new car and want to get it ready for competition.
"We're going to stay and test in Gainesville," Herbert said. "We ordered a new car last year and it has just taken a while to get to us. We need to test it and see if we can't bring it to Houston.
"This new car is supposed to help us on the tricky tracks and warm weather and that's what we're headed for in the next few months. This team is doing a great job and I think the new car is going to help us stay consistently competitive."
The next NHRA POWERade drag racing event is the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park, April 8-10.