GAINESVILLE, post-race: Doug Herbert was less than five seconds away from not qualifying for the 37th annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals on Saturday. But 24 hours later the 38-year-old driver of the Snap-on Tools dragster drove to his second ...
GAINESVILLE, post-race: Doug Herbert was less than five seconds away from not qualifying for the 37th annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals on Saturday. But 24 hours later the 38-year-old driver of the Snap-on Tools dragster drove to his second semifinal finish of the season, including an upset victory over the No. 1 qualifier.
After two days of sunshine during qualifying, cloud cover and cool conditions were in store for the racers and fans as the first round of eliminations began Sunday morning. Herbert, who qualified 16th on his final attempt, was set to duel it out against defending NHRA Top Fuel world champion and No. 1 qualifier, Tony Schumacher. 'Dougzilla' got the jump on the starting line with a .060 to .083 reaction time and never looked back. The Snap-on Tools dragster took the upset victory with a 4.614 at 323.27 mph, to a tire-smoking 5.578 at 174.48 mph. The win marked the third time in his career that Herbert has won from the No. 16 qualifying position.
Herbert's opponent in the second round was Cory McClenathan. With the clouds still hanging over the track the pair lined up for their run with the Snap-on Tools car once again in the left lane. Herbert remained consistent on the tree with a .062 reaction time and the Snap-on dragster roared to its quickest run of the weekend. Herbert advanced to his second semifinal appearance of the young season with a solid 4.577 at 320.97 mph to Cory Mac's 11.410 at 79.07 mph. The run gave Herbert lane choice in his final four show down with Melanie Troxel.
The clouds were gone and the sun was beating down on the Gainesville quarter-mile as Herbert rolled to the starting line for his semifinal match up with Troxel. Herbert cut another great light with a .051 to .102 reaction time, but the car lost traction several hundred feet down the track. Troxel drove by Herbert for the win with a 4.521 at 327.27 to a 6.057 at 154.74 mph.
"The main thing this weekend has been the great work by the crew on the Snap-on Tools dragster," said Herbert following the semifinals. "Wayne and the crew have really pulled together and began to jell and that's really important. Now we have some time to go to the shop in North Carolina and spend some time working on the car making sure that it will be perfect when we go to Houston and Las Vegas."