Joliet: Doug Herbert ready for Route 66

JOLIET, Ill., May 30, 2001 - Doug Herbert doesn't mind saying he's tired. Competing in six NHRA races in the last seven weeks can do that to you. As the last event in that string - the Lucas Oil Products Nationals, Friday through Sunday...

JOLIET, Ill., May 30, 2001 - Doug Herbert doesn't mind saying he's tired. Competing in six NHRA races in the last seven weeks can do that to you.

As the last event in that string - the Lucas Oil Products Nationals, Friday through Sunday at Route 66 Raceway - looms, Herbert sees some good things happening with the performance of his Snap-on Racing Top Fuel dragster. Something that could make the racing grind much more invigorating for his team.

Herbert and crew chief Larry Frazier have been searching for a race-day combination equal to that of their qualifying efforts. And, on a weekend when his qualifying results dipped to a season low, they might have discovered a combination that will go down hot, slippery tracks.

Herbert gets an opportunity to test his theory at Route 66 Raceway.

"It would be nice to go to the Chicago area and do something good to end this three-race string," said Herbert. "The weather conditions at Topeka (Kan., site of last weekend's Advance Auto Parts Nationals) changed from qualifying to race day. We changed a lot of stuff Saturday night."

The Cherryville, N.C. competitor had run a best of only 5.511 seconds in his three qualifying attempts. His fourth was aborted due to a faulty clutch lever. So he began eliminations in 14th position and raced Gary Scelzi (who ran 4.569 at 318.54 mph, which was third quickest). The starting spot was just the second one outside the top eight in nine events for Herbert.

The Snap-on dragster responded to the changes by running 4.716 at 285.65 mph, one of Herbert's best Sunday times all season. Scelzi didn't give Herbert any opportunity to win, however, registering Sunday's top time, 4.587 seconds, and speed, 322.58 mph.

"It was hot Sunday and our car went down the track. That was good," Herbert commented. "It could've been a little bit better but the engine dropped a cylinder down track and the (blower) belt came off. The run was encouraging.

"We'll take a good look at what we learned last week and go to Chicago and see if we can run stronger on Sunday. We need to start winning some rounds," Herbert added.

He is eighth in Winston Series points with 407, 73 behind Tony Schumacher and 36 ahead of David Grubnic.

-SR

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , David Grubnic