Joliet II: Doug Herbert eliminations summary

Herbert reaches semifinals at Route 66 Nationals. JOLIET, Ill., September 29, 2002 - It was the third straight weekend of NHRA POWERade series racing and, as far as Doug Herbert is concerned, it was nearly perfect. If perfect is winning the ...

Herbert reaches semifinals at Route 66 Nationals.

JOLIET, Ill., September 29, 2002 - It was the third straight weekend of NHRA POWERade series racing and, as far as Doug Herbert is concerned, it was nearly perfect.

If perfect is winning the race, nearly perfect in this case was qualifying No. 1 for the first time in his NHRA career while running his quickest elapsed time and advancing to the semifinals of the Craftsman 75th Anniversary Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

Simply put, Herbert's Snap-on Racing Top Fuel dragster was as consistent as it's been all year. His 4.518-second time at 324.59 mph continued his impressive performances at this Chicago-area track. His worst run in seven trips down the track was his last one, a cylinder-dropping 4.673 at 303.78 mph.

The dropped cylinder, in fact, kept him from defeating Doug Kalitta in the finals. Herbert had better incremental numbers until just past half-track when the cylinder went out and Kalitta won with a 4.662 at 322.19 mph.

"We had a great racecar all weekend," said Herbert. "We need to get our cylinder-dropping problems figured out. The only run we made all weekend that it didn't drop a cylinder was the 4.518."

Herbert knocked out Luigi Novelli and Rhonda Hartman-Smith before meeting Kalitta.

In qualifying, Herbert's times were 4.651, 4.518, 4.650 and 4.624.

Included in the Cherryville, N.C. driver's outings here are a handful of 4.5-second times, so it's now wonder he likes racing here. "This whole facility is incredible," he said. "They've done an excellent job putting this race together, and the conditions are awesome. When you don't have to figure out how to run on a tricky, slippery track, well, it's not hard to run in the 4.50s."

Despite his run to the semifinals, Herbert was not able to make up any ground on the drivers just ahead of him in the POWERade standings. Herbert remained seventh with 1125 points. He trails new No. 6 Cory McClenathan by 60 points and fifth-place Darrell Russell by 73 with three races remaining.

The next event is the O'Reilly Fall Nationals, Oct. 11-13, at Ennis, Texas.

Qualified: No. 1, 4.518 seconds at 324.59 mph; First round: Herbert, 4.638 at 298.54 def. Luigi Novelli, 7.556 at 99.92; Quarterfinals: Herbert, 4.636 at 307.44 def. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, 4.771 at 306.40; Semifinals: Doug Kalitta, 4.662 at 322.19 def. Herbert, 4.673 at 303.78.

Pro Winners: Doug Kalitta, Top Fuel; Tony Pedregon, Funny Car; Jeg Coughlin Jr., Pro Stock

-dhr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Tony Pedregon , Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Doug Kalitta , Luigi Novelli