Millington: Doug Herbert preview

Herbert to try something different at Memphis while chasing goal to finish higher than seventh. MEMPHIS, Sept. 19, 2002 - He's not Harry Houdini or David Copperfield, but Doug Herbert promises to have a trick or two up his sleeve as he and the...

Herbert to try something different at Memphis while chasing goal to finish higher than seventh.

MEMPHIS, Sept. 19, 2002 - He's not Harry Houdini or David Copperfield, but Doug Herbert promises to have a trick or two up his sleeve as he and the Snap-on Racing Top Fuel crew prepare for the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park.

This is the second of three races in three weeks and it is imperative that Herbert do well if he's to reach his goal of finishing at least sixth, and perhaps fifth, in the NHRA POWERade standings this season. He's never been higher than seventh - where he was in 1999 and 2001 - and he's tantalizingly close with five races to go.

"That would be great if we could get up there to fifth place," the Cherryville, N.C. driver said. "But we have to get after it. We need to win some races and get to at least the semifinals at all of them if we want to catch (Doug) Kalitta and (Darrell) Russell."

Herbert enters the Friday through Sunday Mid-South Nationals in seventh place with 974 points following Monday's Lucas Oil Nationals at Reading, Pa. His task became more difficult when he lost in the quarterfinals and sixth-place Kalitta won the event and pushed his total to 1053 points. Russell is fifth at 1072.

"I have something in mind for Memphis, but I'm not saying what it is," Herbert said, referring to his method of winning rounds on Sunday. "We need to make a move now or we won't be able to close the gap between us and the two guys in front of us."

Herbert's chances of catching Kalitta and Russell diminish with each round they win, so he needs a little help from his peers, too.

Herbert's performance has been consistent lately. He's won at least one round of eliminations in his last nine outings. Included in that streak is a win at Sonoma, Calif., in August. He also has two runner-up finishes (Atlanta and Columbus, Ohio) in 2002.

In 10 previous races at Memphis Motorsports Park, Herbert has one win (1999) and two quarterfinal finishes among his top performances.

"We should be competitive this time," he commented. "Our performance has improved, but we haven't reached the levels we wanted to reach. I go to every race thinking we are going to win, and I'm ticked off when we don't."

-dhr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert