Madison: Doug Herbert Saturday summary

ST. LOUIS, Mo.: For Doug Herbert it was supposed to be a celebration of the one year anniversary of the successful hiring of crew chief Wayne Dupuy. Instead the weekend turned into a forgettable one after Herbert failed to qualify the Snap-on ...

ST. LOUIS, Mo.: For Doug Herbert it was supposed to be a celebration of the one year anniversary of the successful hiring of crew chief Wayne Dupuy. Instead the weekend turned into a forgettable one after Herbert failed to qualify the Snap-on Tools/Doug Herbert Performance Top Fuel dragster for the 10th annual O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway. The DNQ ended Herbert's 58-race consecutive qualifying streak which had lasted nearly three seasons.

The Midwest Nationals, the traditional halfway point of the 23-race NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series tour, features both qualifying and eliminations rounds during the evening in an effort to beat the heat and improve performances. The weather at this year's Midwest Nationals was once again hot and humid and the Gateway quarter-mile racing surface provided a huge challenge for the crew chiefs on the fuel cars.

After overpowering the track on both attempts Friday, "Dougzilla" entered the final day of qualifying on the bump spot, last in the 16-car field. With an intermittent cloud cover helping to cool the track Saturday afternoon, Herbert pedaled his way to a 4.931 at 298.21 mph on his third attempt. Despite making his quickest run of the weekend, Herbert fell to No. 18 and entered the final qualifying session on the outside looking in.

Savvy veteran crew chief Wayne Dupuy and the determined Snap-on Tools crew were ready to step up to the plate on Herbert's final run, but their mechanized muscle was too much for the Gateway track to handle. Herbert succumbed to failure of a clutch pilot bearing during the final qualifying session, causing the Snap-on entry to experience severe tire shake right off at the starting line and his weekend was over.

"I can't begin to explain how disappointing it is for the entire Snap-on team to miss the show," said Herbert. "This team is used to racing on Sunday's. I'm really surprised with our outcome here in St. Louis, especially after we've been running so well at the last several races. We won't let this ruin our season. We're a championship caliber team and we still have a lot to prove. The Snap-on Tools team had a great last half of the year last season and we'll regroup for the upcoming western swing and come out fighting in Denver."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert