Reading: Doug Herbert pre-race notes

Jubilant after Win at Joliet, Herbert Goes for Two Straight at Reading, Pa. Snap-on Dragster Driver Likes Potential Displayed En Route to Victory READING, Pa., Oct. 7, 2004 - Doug Herbert said his "fun meter was pegged" Sunday afternoon...

Jubilant after Win at Joliet, Herbert Goes for Two Straight at Reading, Pa.
Snap-on Dragster Driver Likes Potential Displayed En Route to Victory

READING, Pa., Oct. 7, 2004 - Doug Herbert said his "fun meter was pegged" Sunday afternoon following his exciting victory over Tony Schumacher in the CarQuest Nationals final at Joliet, Ill.

It's the kind of feeling that comes with a win, and it's something Herbert believes will be coming around more often now - possibly as early as this Sunday at Maple Grove Raceway - for his Snap-on Racing Top Fuel team. It's the completion of the rain-delayed Lucas Oil Nationals, Friday through Sunday.

"We're really looking forward to getting to Reading to see if we can make it two wins in a row," Herbert noted. "We have three races to go and we'd like to win them all.

"I said last week before the race that we needed a spark, something to get us going as a team, and we definitely found it," he continued. "Ed McCulloch and Jim Brissette are working together and they have the car running good. We got better every round.

"McCulloch (team tuner) and Brissette (tuning consultant) have different views on the way things should be done, and that's good. We need two people to think differently. There's so much experience there . . . I'm lucky to have them."

It was more than just a spark that caused the celebration. It was a downright explosion, releasing the pent-up frustrations of season that hasn't been as successful as expected. And it came with bragging rights.

Herbert unleashed his quickest and fastest run in upsetting Schumacher, the Top Fuel point leader and eight-race winner this year. Herbert not only outran him on the track - 4.516 seconds at 329.75 mph to 4.527 at 329.18 mph - but he left the starting line first (.087 to .102 seconds).

"We might've surprised Ol' Sarge (Schumacher's nickname) on that one," added Herbert.

"We couldn't have picked a better time to get the win, either. We were already planning to take the car to Snap-on's headquarters in Kenosha, Wis., on Monday. They were really excited to see us. I gave the race trophy to Dale Elliott, Snap-on's CEO, to thank him for all the support the company has given us over the last 10 years.

While the Snap-on team will be savoring the win, they are serious about winning at Maple Grove, too. Herbert, now 8-17 in final round appearances, has won two in a row once, at Topeka, Kan., and Memphis in 1999, the year he won four times in six finals. Sunday's victory ended a 26-month winless drought. His last previous final was in April 2003 at Bristol, Tenn.

Herbert was able to solidify his hold on eighth-place in POWERade Series points. His No. 5 qualifying effort, coupled with Larry Dixon failing to qualify, put him sixth in the special Budweiser Shootout, scheduled Oct. 30 at Las Vegas.

This is the last race to earn qualifying points before the Shootout. Herbert has 2655 and is 10 points ahead of Cory McClenathan. The seven drivers with the most points automatically earn spots in the eight-car starting line-up that pays the winner $100,000. The final driver will come via a drawing from eighth through 15th finishers.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Cory McClenathan