HERBERT ANXIOUS FOR THE BIG SHOW IN INDIANAPOLIS LINCOLNTON, N.C. (August 29, 2005) -- Doug Herbert needed just 16 NHRA events in 2005 to match his round win total of the entire '04 season. Herbert and the Snap-on Tools team marched into the...
HERBERT ANXIOUS FOR THE BIG SHOW IN INDIANAPOLIS
LINCOLNTON, N.C. (August 29, 2005) -- Doug Herbert needed just 16 NHRA events in 2005 to match his round win total of the entire '04 season. Herbert and the Snap-on Tools team marched into the heat and humidity of Memphis Motorsports Park anxious to better the previous year's stat (17 round wins) and move forward from there.
The car, however, didn't cooperate. The team suffered a first-round loss and Herbert was beyond disappointed.
Now the team is headed to the biggest race of the season, the 51st annual NHRA U.S. Nationals. If there is any race to make a statement at, it's the U.S. Nationals.
"The first round loss in Memphis was so upsetting because we had just scored a final round appearance (Sonoma, Calif.) and semifinal appearance (Brainerd) and we felt like we did a real good job during qualifying," Herbert said. "But it didn't go our way on Sunday and that disappointed not just me and Wayne (Dupuy, crew chief) but the entire team.
"Maybe that first round loss will actually help us be more mentally prepared for Indy. I hope it helps us this weekend, because it hurt a lot last week. The good thing is that we have another race ahead of us and we just need to focus on qualifying , qualifying well and then getting back to winning during eliminations."
There are five rounds of qualifying for the U.S. Nationals, which starts with a night session on Friday at 6:15 p.m. followed by two sessions on Saturday (1:15 & 6:15 p.m.) and two more on Sunday (11 a.m. & 3 p.m.). Final eliminations are set for 11 a.m. on Labor Day.
"Indy is the big race because it's the oldest event on the NHRA tour," Herbert said. "It's been around for so long and everyone goes to Indy and they all try a little harder than any other race. We have an extra qualifying session and we race on the holiday. Everyone wants this race more because of the history and the hype."
Herbert has been the runner-up at the big race twice, earning a final round appearance in 1992 against Ed McCulloch and in 1993 against Pat Austin. Now, however, Herbert has more on the line.
"It's just time to get an Indy win," Herbert said. "We need to win this race for a bunch of reasons. I've been to the final twice, we want to improve on last year's stats and if you can't win the championship, winning Indy is right up there on making your season memorable.
"I know Wayne feels the same way and I think that's one of the biggest advantages this Snap-on Tools team has in our corner."
ESPN2 will televise the event throughout the weekend including special coverage. Qualifying can be seen on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. (ET), noon (ET) on Sunday and 10:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday. Two segments of NHRA 2Day will air this weekend, 11:30 a.m. (ET) on Sunday and Monday. Final eliminations will start at noon (ET) on Monday, continuing at 8 p.m. that evening.