Reading: Doug Herbert preview

Herbert, Snap-On Team aim for top five finish with six races remaining. READING, Pa., Sept. 10, 2002 - Mathematically speaking, it's feasible for Doug Herbert to enjoy his best finish in NHRA POWERade Series Top Fuel competition this year. As...

Herbert, Snap-On Team aim for top five finish with six races remaining.

READING, Pa., Sept. 10, 2002 - Mathematically speaking, it's feasible for Doug Herbert to enjoy his best finish in NHRA POWERade Series Top Fuel competition this year.

As he and his Snap-on Racing team prepare for the Lucas Oil Keystone Nationals, Friday through Sunday at Maple Grove Raceway in nearby Mohnton, Herbert finds himself in seventh place with 922 points. Doug Kalitta is sixth with 939 and Darrell Russell is fifth with 1000.

Six races remain on the docket and, figuring 20 points per round win, Herbert trails Kalitta by less than one round and Russell by four rounds.

"We need to win some rounds at each of the remaining races if we're going to catch Russell," said Herbert, who has not placed higher than seventh in his NHRA career. He's done that twice, in 1999 and 2001. "We need to get to at least the semifinals in the rest of the races for us to have a chance of passing of Russell. I think we can get up there. That's our team goal right now, but we'd better start soon. We're running out of time."

Herbert, a four-time IHRA champion (1992, 1996-98), has seven NHRA victories, including one (at Sonoma, Calif., in August) this season. He's also finished second twice in 2002, boosting his NHRA career final rounds to 15.

"Maple Grove is a fast track," Herbert continued. "We know we can run good there. Our car's performance is going in the right direction. Johnny (crew chief Johnny West) is on the right track with this tune-up. I think we're running better now than we have at any other time this year, so we will be competitive. We need to be running good, at least in the middle of the pack."

Herbert has qualified in the top half of the 16-car field in seven of the last eight events. His 4.616-second qualifying time during the U.S. Nationals, Labor Day weekend at Indianapolis, was his quickest run of the year.

Herbert's visits to Reading have resulted in only two round wins in six races, and they both came in 2000.

At Indy, Herbert defeated Rhonda Hartman-Smith in the opening round before losing to eventual race runner-up Larry Dixon.

-dhr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Rhonda Hartman-Smith