Seattle: Herbert preview

KENT, Wash., July 24, 2001 - Doug Herbert is on the move . . . at a pace slower than his normal 300-mph runs.     Herbert is in the midst of what he believes will be a climb up the NHRA Winston Series Top Fuel standings.  His goal is to...

KENT, Wash., July 24, 2001 - Doug Herbert is on the move . . . at a pace slower than his normal 300-mph runs.

    Herbert is in the midst of what he believes will be a climb up the NHRA Winston Series Top Fuel standings.  His goal is to finish in the top five before the 24-race season ends in November.  And the veteran driver from Cherryville, N.C. realizes it may take the remaining 10 events to do so.

    The first stop will be at Seattle International Raceway for the Prolong Northwest Nationals, Friday through Sunday.  This is the second of three consecutive races in the traditional western swing that concludes next week at Sonoma, Calif.

    Herbert and his Snap-on Racing team have been on a hot streak.  He won the NHRA 50th Anniversary Nationals at Pomona, Calif. (July 7) and advanced to the semifinals of Sunday's Mile-High Nationals at Denver to move into seventh place with 753 points.  

    "We have a heck of a good western swing going and it will be nice to get back to Seattle where we can use one of our standard tune-ups," Herbert said about returning to sea level tuning conditions.  "With what we learned at Pomona and Denver - even though a lot of the tune-up things we used at Denver don't apply - what we did learn about the clutch and how to get the car down a hot track will help us at Seattle."

    The return to sea level is important because oxygen was lacking at the mile-high altitude last weekend.  

    "When you are at Seattle you are at sea level and there all those trees around the track that seem to do something to help the cars run well," added Herbert.  "We had to take power away from the engine at Denver, which is what we must do at hot, slick tracks, too. Seattle could be hot or cool.  A lot will depend on how good the track is."

    Herbert's first-round win Sunday ended a string of three consecutive opening-round setbacks at Denver.  Now he's setting his sights on doing the same thing at SIR.

 "I think over the last couple races that we're getting everybody's attention," said Herbert.  "I think if we keep running like we have been we can finish in the top five.  We have a car that performs pretty consistently in the top five and that's where we would like to finish.  But I will tell you what, that top five right now is a tough group."

Mike Dunn currently holds the No. 5 spot at 915 points and sixth-place Darrell Russell has 912.  Herbert is eight rounds behind Dunn and Russell.  Kenny Bernstein (1165) and Larry Dixon (1162) are locked in a close battle for the lead and Doug Kalitta is third at 988.            One of Herbert's race day highlights at Denver came in the quarterfinals when he defeated Bernstein, whose care smoked the tires.  Herbert won with a 4.998 at 281.83 mph to Bernstein's 5.227 at 263.92.  It was the eighth time Herbert had beaten Bernstein in 25 races. -30- Doug Herbert Facts: Age:  33     Hometown: Cherryville, N.C.

Career final-round record: 6/12      2001 wins/final rounds: 1/1 (7/7/01, Win at Pomona, Calif., )

Quickest 2001 time: 4.558 seconds (6/2, Joliet, Ill.); Fastest 2001 speed:  320.51 mph (6/3, Joliet, Ill.)

Career best time: 4.551 seconds (3/99, Gainesville, Fla.)  Career fastest speed: 321.65 mph (4/99, Houston

-Snap On Racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Kenny Bernstein , Doug Kalitta