Brainerd: Herbert want to keep moving up

Herbert, Snap-on Racing team want to continue move up top fuel standings at Brainerd, Minn. Brainerd, Minn., Aug. 13, 2001 - Doug Herbert finds himself in an upwardly mobile position when it comes to NHRA Winston Series Top...

Herbert, Snap-on Racing team want to continue move up top fuel standings at Brainerd, Minn.

Brainerd, Minn., Aug. 13, 2001 - Doug Herbert finds himself in an upwardly mobile position when it comes to NHRA Winston Series Top Fuel competition.

It is one he wants to continue, starting with the Colonel's Nationals, Friday through Sunday, at Brainerd International Raceway.

Herbert's performances in the Snap-on Racing dragster in the last four races enabled the Cherryville, N.C. driver to move from eighth into seventh place and start reeling in Darrell Russell, who is sixth.

"The car is running better and it's going down the race track," Herbert said. "The last four races have been pretty good to us. We started with a win (Pomona, Calif.) and we went to the semifinals twice (Denver and Sonoma, Calif.) and the quarterfinals (Seattle). We keep making changes (to the combination) and they are working."

Herbert was mired in eighth place with 567 points before making his charge. Now he's seventh with 880 and 117 points (six rounds of racing) behind Russell. The 313 points Herbert earned in the last four events was exceeded by only three drivers - Gary Scelzi (349), Larry Dixon (323) and Kenny Bernstein (320) - exceeded the 313 points Herbert earned in the last four events. It happens the other drivers rank first (Bernstein), second (Dixon) and third (Scelzi) in points going into the BIR race.

Coincidentally, Herbert lost to each of the top three in the races following his win, Dixon at Denver, Scelzi at Seattle and Bernstein at Sonoma. Each driver went on to the win that event.

"We have a competitive racecar now. It's sure a lot more fun the way the car is running now," Herbert commented.

He hadn't won a round of racing at Denver, Seattle or Sonoma in the three years prior to his latest visits.

Herbert's goal is the finish in the top five and he has eight more races to go. He's been to the quarterfinals twice in six previous visits to BIR. The first-round wins came in 1992 (in his first visit) and last year.

We need to do well there," he said. "My Snap-on guys in the Brainerd area have been some of my biggest supporters, so I want to have a good outing for them . . . and me."

Herbert hadn't won a round of racing on the traditionally tricky track at Sears Point Raceway (Sonoma) in four previous tries. This time (Aug. 5), he defeated John Smith and Scelzi before squaring off against Bernstein in the semis. The Snap-on dragster's engine dropped a cylinder at the hit of the throttle and Bernstein won with a 4.700 at 312.86 to Herbert's 5.144 at 209.46.

"I think we would've been closer to him if we hadn't dropped the cylinder," said Herbert, who was happy to knock out friendly rival Scelzi in the quarterfinals. "I told him I was going to lay one on him for beating us in Seattle."

-SOR

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Gary Scelzi