HERBERT DRIVES INTO SEMIFINALS AT U.S. NATIONALS Herbert sails past 2004 results INDIANAPOLIS (September 5, 2005) -- Doug Herbert drove his Snap-on Tools dragster to a semifinal finish Sunday at the 51st annual NHRA U.S. Nationals after a ...
HERBERT DRIVES INTO SEMIFINALS AT U.S. NATIONALS
Herbert sails past 2004 results
INDIANAPOLIS (September 5, 2005) -- Doug Herbert drove his Snap-on Tools dragster to a semifinal finish Sunday at the 51st annual NHRA U.S. Nationals after a career-best performance weekend at Indianapolis Raceway Park.
With crew chief Wayne Dupuy and tuning consultant Jim Brissette making the calls, Herbert produced two of the best quarter-mile performances of his career. During the second day of qualifying Herbert turned in a 4.463-second time at 326.56 mph -- the quickest E.T. of his career.
He followed that up Sunday during the final round of qualifying with a 4.492 pass at 325.92 for the second 4.4-second run of the weekend and just the third of his career (4.999 in Gainesville this year was the first).
"If this isn't the best car I've ever had, it's real close," Herbert said. "My dad built me a little dragster when I was a kid and that car never lost, that might be a close second. This car is just awesome. Wayne and Brissette make a great team and we're picking up momentum every weekend and it's just exciting to be driving this car right now."
Herbert won two rounds before falling to Larry Dixon in the semifinals at the biggest NHRA event of the season. The Snap-on Tools dragster smoked the tires early, slowing to a 6.238 pass at 141.58 to Dixon's 4.548 at 326.00. Herbert beat Dixon off the line, turning in a .078 reaction time to Dixon's .098.
"Wayne thought we needed to go up there and run a 4.50 flat," Herbert said. "Wayne set it up for the run that he thought we needed to win and we have to think like that. We were too aggressive that time and we overpowered the track, but Wayne made the right decision.
"The day was OK. On a scale of 1-10, it was a seven. The weekend was awesome. That's at least an eight and it's going to get better before the season is out."
Herbert had fellow drag racer Paul Romine in the pits cheering him on and mentally preparing Herbert for the starting line.
"I really think Romine helped me with my reaction times this weekend," Herbert said. "He reminded me of what we used to do in the old days and that was drill the Christmas Tree. There were a few years that I had the best reaction time average over the course of the season and I've gotten away from that. Romine helped me and I'm happy with the times today and I'm going to be all over that tree for the rest of the year."
Herbert beat Joe Hartley in the first round going 4.575 at 321.50 over Hartley's tire-smoking 11.386 at 83.19. It was the first time the two drivers faced each other in eliminations.
In Round Two action, Herbert moved past Melanie Troxel for the second time this season, improving the overall series between the two drivers to 4-1. Herbert drove to a 4.599 at 318.32 to beat Troxel's red-light foul at the starting line.
In 2004 Herbert lost in the first round to T.J. Zizzo. The semifinal finish as well as the best qualifying position since his No. 1 qualifier in Las Vegas in 2002 was a welcomed turnaround at the U.S. Nationals.
"We have more confidence in the car now and that's a great thing," Herbert said. "The team is working well together and we're going to get back to the shop as soon as possible so the guys can work on the car some more before we head up to Reading (Pa.).
"This U.S. Nationals was one of the best I've had and I'm disappointed that Wayne and I and the rest of the team aren't walking out of here with trophies in our hands, but we're going full speed ahead and we'll be in winner's circle soon."
ESPN2 will televise the final eliminations of the U.S. Nationals tonight at 8 p.m. (ET).
The next NHRA POWERade drag racing series event is the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., Sept. 15-18.