READING, Pa., Sept. 11, 2000 - During a particularly galling streak of first-round losses last year, Doug Herbert refused to let the circumstances interfere with his love of the sport. This season, with 17 of 23 races already in the books, ...
READING, Pa., Sept. 11, 2000 - During a particularly galling streak of first-round losses last year, Doug Herbert refused to let the circumstances interfere with his love of the sport.
This season, with 17 of 23 races already in the books, Herbert finds himself struggling to remain in the NHRA Winston Series top 10 Top Fuel drivers. It hasn't been, he says, as much funs as it could've been, but he isn't about to surrender.
So, when Herbert and his Snap-on Racing team begin qualifying Friday for Sunday's Keystone Nationals at Maple Grove, he'll resume his quest for a race win and a solid position in the standings.
"This has been frustrating," Herbert said. "On the plus side, the engine looks good and is making good power. We're still looking for consistency."
Herbert has qualified among the top eight in four of the last five races, but he's only won one round in that same time frame. "You can't move up in the standings if you can't win rounds," he says.
The Cherryville, N.C., driver hasn't had much success winning rounds at Maple Grove, going out in the opening round all four times he's qualified. "I guess that means it's time to change our luck," he commented.
He didn't have much good fortune Saturday at Englishtown, N.J., in the completion of the Spring SuperNationals. Herbert entered the event, delayed by inclement weather from May 21, as the No. 5 qualifier. His opponent, Doug Kalitta, has been one of the hottest Top Fuel drivers on the circuit lately. Kalitta only qualified 12th.
Herbert did leave the starting line first and the Snap-on dragster was running well when it moved to right, got out of the groove and smoked the tires.
"It was hauling until it made the move to the right," Herbert recalled. "Maybe it was going to run good; I don't know. This is discouraging."
Kalitta took the win in 4.683 seconds at 309.70 mph. Kalitta went on to win for the third time this season.
"We broke the right steering arm Friday night before our first test run and I don't know if that had anything to do with the car steering to the right," Herbert added.
At least he doesn't have to wait long to return to competition. He'll be hoping to strengthen his position in the top 10 this weekend. He's ninth with 691 points, 25 behind Bob Vandergriff Jr.