Bristol: Doug Herbert preview

Doug Herbert's Goal at Bristol: Return to Winner's Circle Veteran Top Fuel Driver Had Six Victories at Old Dragway BRISTOL, Tenn., April 23, 2004 - Doug Herbert was once known as "Mr. Automatic" when it came to winning races at Bristol ...

Doug Herbert's Goal at Bristol: Return to Winner's Circle
Veteran Top Fuel Driver Had Six Victories at Old Dragway

BRISTOL, Tenn., April 23, 2004 - Doug Herbert was once known as "Mr. Automatic" when it came to winning races at Bristol Dragway.

He won a race each year for six years (1992-97) at the venerable facility while he competed in International Hot Rod Association events. He also tacked on four series Top Fuel championships. His last trip to the Bristol winner's circle came in the fall of 1997.

But much has changed since then, most noticeably the construction of a new, much improved Bristol Dragway over the old site and Herbert's racing in the NHRA POWERade Series since 1999.

Herbert and his Snap-on Racing team almost rekindled some of that old winning feeling at the new track a year ago when he marched into the final round in strong fashion only to see Brandon Bernstein drive off with the win.

Now Herbert gets another chance during the fourth annual O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals, April 30, May 1-2.

"I look forward to going to Bristol. We ran really well there last year," Herbert recalled. "We had the opportunity to win. We had the quickest times in the second and semifinal rounds while Brandon Bernstein struggled, but won his rounds. In the final, he came up with a good run (4.625 seconds at 320.13 mph) and we didn't (4.880 at 282.72)."

Intent on improving its final-round record at the new track, the team tested at the facility on Thursday.

"There's no place better to test than the place where we race next," said Herbert. "We learned more testing at Bristol. Our performance definitely keeps getting better. We qualified fifth (4.576 seconds) at Houston (April 18) and we're in the top 10 (ninth, 224 points), but we really are only four rounds (20 points per round) out of fourth (David Grubnic with 298).

"We lost to Scott Kalitta in the second round at Houston, but only Kalitta and Larry Dixon had quicker times than our 4.735 in that round," Herbert continued.

While Herbert isn't entirely pleased with his performances, he is encouraged by the progress made in the past few races.

"We aren't where we want to be yet, but we're going in the right direction," he commented. "We'd like to be among the top five finishers when the season ends. That's 18 races away and gives us plenty of time to reach that goal."

The Bristol experience begins with qualifying sessions Friday at 5 and 8 p.m., followed by Saturday runs at 1 and 4 p.m. Sunday eliminations begin at noon.

-jls-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , David Grubnic , Scott Kalitta , Brandon Bernstein