Pomona: Doug Herbert preview

Herbert more excited than ever to race: Scared yet? POMONA, Calif. -- When Doug Herbert gets excited, the whole world knows about it. The 6-foot-4 Top Fuel driver of the Snap-on Tools dragster stands above the other drivers in height, sure....

Herbert more excited than ever to race: Scared yet?

POMONA, Calif. -- When Doug Herbert gets excited, the whole world knows about it. The 6-foot-4 Top Fuel driver of the Snap-on Tools dragster stands above the other drivers in height, sure. But he stands out because of his enthusiasm too.

So get ready for this weekend's season opener. Herbert is a happy, happy man and he's ready to celebrate.

"I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone on this team can do," Herbert said about the Snap-on Tools crew. "I have felt so good about this team since we went testing. For years I have not had the kind of dedicated guys I have now. They want to win as badly as I do and they are willing to work to make it happen.

"It's amazing, but these guys have the same enthusiasm as I do. It's going to be a great year."

Herbert and the Snap-on team finished eighth in the 2004 NHRA POWERade point standings. He won the fall national event in Chicago, and was pretty fired up about the victory.

"Everyone couldn't believe how excited I got over winning that race," Herbert said. "But they just don't realize how hard it is to win in Top Fuel these days. There's a lot of good competition out there. I can't wait to get to Pomona to see where we stand. I think we are going to be the kind of team capable of going out and kicking butt.

"Our guys think we can do it and I'm with them. We know we have the right parts and now this team has the energy and dedication to make it happen too."

There will be one round of qualifying for the Winternationals on Thursday and Friday. Two sets of qualifying will take place Saturday before final eliminations start at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Herbert is clearly excited. But does he have any fears?

"There is only one thing that makes me nervous and that's losing," Herbert said. "I'm real scared of losing and I always have been. But I think that fear will go away sooner rather than later. I've got a great outlook for the '05 season."

Herbert and new tuner Rob Flynn will continue to have the veteran tuning advice for Jim Brissette. Herbert and Brissette have spent many years working together and Herbert was relieved by a recent comment made by the longtime tuner.

"Brissette has been around racing for 40 years and he said he can't believe how good these new crew guys are," Herbert said. "We thought it was going to be tough having to hire some new guys to complement a new crew chief, but we hit the jackpot with this group. We've gelled with each other very quickly."

Herbert and the new gang will have an important audience this weekend. Herbert has invited several U.S. Marines that are home from overseas deployment to be honorary pit crew members for the weekend. He will host seven active duty Marines and their guests for a weekend of behind-the-scenes access.

"These guys are so honorable and they are out there taking care of business, helping us stay safe and helping others be free," Herbert said. "We just want to give them a well-deserved welcome home. Heck, if we lived in China, we wouldn't be out here racing Top Fuel cars at all."

-gs-

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Series NHRA