ROCKINGHAM, N.C. - Doug Herbert found a way to turn a test session into a $25,000 payday Sunday when he won the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) CarQuest Autumn Nationals Top Fuel title at Rockingham Dragway. It was a battle of...
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. - Doug Herbert found a way to turn a test session into a $25,000 payday Sunday when he won the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) CarQuest Autumn Nationals Top Fuel title at Rockingham Dragway.
It was a battle of Snap-on Racing dragsters in the final, Herbert racing Jim Bailey, who drive's Herbert's IHRA entry. Herbert won his 20th career title with a 4.702-second, 312.06 mph run to Bailey's 4.866 at 293.82. The 312.06 mph was the weekend's top speed.
"We decided before the final that we would just go up to the starting line and race. Whatever happens, happens," said Herbert, a four-time IHRA Top Fuel champion (1992, 1994-96). "The win really pumped up (crew chief) Larry Frazier and the team. We needed that."
Herbert, competing in his first IHRA event this year, hadn't planned to race at Rockingham, "but we had some things we needed to look at and it was an opportunity for us to make a few runs on a good track," said the Cherryville, N.C. driver. "We'd had some clutch problems at the last NHRA race, but the clutch worked perfectly all weekend. We made five runs and learned something on every run."
Herbert has two wins and two runner-up finishes in NHRA competition this year. The Snap-on team has fought mechanical troubles during a string of seven straight first-round losses.
"We're looking forward to going to Topeka (Kan., site of this weekend's NHRA Advance Auto Parts Nationals)," he commented. "I told the crew the last time we won a round (at Columbus, Ohio), we won the NHRA race. I think the winning feeling will carry over to Topeka. When you have a good weekend, I think it's easier to get up for the next race."
Herbert qualified third at Rockingham while Bailey was No. 1. He defeated Don Lampus and Paul Romine before squaring off against Bailey, who stopped Luigi Novelli and Bruce Litton to reach the finals.
Qualified: Jim Bailey, No. 1, 4.698 seconds; Doug Herbert, No. 3, 4.824.
First round: Bailey, 4.931, 280.20 def. Novelli; Herbert, 4.760, 306.95 def. Lampus; Semifinals: Bailey, 5.400 at 264.47def. Litton; Herbert, 4.750 at 307.27 def. Romine; Final: Herbert, 4.702 at 312.06 def. Bailey, 4.866 at 293.82.