Reading: Doug Herbert final report

HERBERT CLINCHES FINAL COUNTDOWN SPOT IN DRAMATIC FASHION MOHNTON, Pa. (August 22, 2007) Doug Herbert, driver of the Snap-on Tools Top Fuel dragster, raced his way into the Countdown to Four in dramatic fashion. The Countdown to the ...

HERBERT CLINCHES FINAL COUNTDOWN SPOT IN DRAMATIC FASHION

MOHNTON, Pa. (August 22, 2007) Doug Herbert, driver of the Snap-on Tools Top Fuel dragster, raced his way into the Countdown to Four in dramatic fashion.

The Countdown to the Championship, NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series' new points system, concluded its 17-race regular season today at the rain-delayed Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals in Mohnton, Pa., just a few miles from Reading. The top eight drivers after this race will have their points adjusted and move into the Countdown to Four, the second phase of the new playoff system.

Coming into this final regular season race in the No. 11 position, 53 points outside the top eight, Herbert and the Snap-on Tools team knew it would take nothing less than winning the event to bump David Grubnic from the No. 8 position.

Herbert kept his hopes of making the Countdown to Four alive on Sunday morning by defeating Doug Kalitta (4.52 seconds at 318.84 mph to Kalitta's 4.59 sec. at 325.85 mph) in first round of eliminations.

Then the rains began to fall, and Herbert had to wait until Monday to move on to round two.

Herbert faced Cory McClenathan in the second round of eliminations Monday morning. This colossal race would decide which of the two veteran drivers would continue their quest to make the Countdown, and a determined Herbert took the win. His 4.56-second pass at 313.15 mph bested McClenathan's 4.86-second pass at 301.54 mph and moved him into the semifinals.

Opposing Herbert in the semi-final round was Doug Foley. First off the line, Herbert took the early lead while Foley tried to bring an end to Herbert's Countdown hopes. Not to be deterred, Herbert and the Snap-on Tools dragster clocked another 4.56-second pass at 312.93 mph, while Foley passed through the lights with a 5.40 at 172.32.

Before the final round could commence, rains once again fell on Maple Grove Raceway. Tuesday brought more of the same, forcing NHRA officials to schedule the remaining elimination rounds for Wednesday morning.

With the rain finally gone, Herbert squared off against points leader Rod Fuller for the chance to move into the Countdown to Four. Calling this the biggest round of his career, Herbert launched the Snap-on Tools dragster first (.039 of a second reaction time to Fuller's .048) and never looked back. His 4.52-second pass at 323.43 mph beat Fuller's 4.70 at 324.98, and guaranteed his right to fight for the Championship.

"Wow, nothing like a little drama, huh?" Herbert said. "I was ready for this race. It was the biggest round of my life and I didn't want to have any regrets. I was ready, the Snap-on Tools team was ready, and we went out there and got it done. Everyone did a great job and there were no mistakes made. Most of my guys have never won so it's definitely a huge boost for all of us. The mood is sky-high over here.

"The Countdown to the Championship was designed to bring extra excitement to the sport and it's definitely done that. Grubnic is my buddy and I hated that it knocked him out but he already called me to say congratulations. Now if we can get our act together we can make a real run at the championship. There is no team as fired up as this one, I promise you that."

This marks Herbert's ninth career NHRA Top Fuel win and first of the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season. He will begin the Countdown to Four Labor Day weekend at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.

-credit: dhr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Doug Kalitta , David Grubnic , Cory McClenathan , Doug Foley , Rod Fuller