Bristol: Doug Herbert preview

Herbert looking for success on the links and the track in Bristol BRISTOL, TN -- If there is any one race that Doug Herbert is looking forward to most, it's the April 29- May 1 NHRA POWERade event at Bristol Dragway. The O'Reilly Thunder Valley...

Herbert looking for success on the links and the track in Bristol

BRISTOL, TN -- If there is any one race that Doug Herbert is looking forward to most, it's the April 29- May 1 NHRA POWERade event at Bristol Dragway. The O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals is in Herbert's backyard and he's ready to make the hometown crowd proud.

Herbert, a resident of Lincolnton, N.C., makes the quick two-hour drive to Bristol each year hoping to return to his old habit: Winning. Herbert took the Top Fuel victories at Bristol Dragway for six consecutive years (1992-97) in his IHRA days and has since been a runner-up once in NHRA competition (2003).

With a new crew chief, a new group of crewmembers and a new attitude, Herbert is aiming for the top honors at Bristol again.

"My first career Top Fuel win came at Bristol and I was lucky that was the site of my first victory because the setting at Bristol is amazing," Herbert said. "It really is a Thunder Valley and it's a great place to race."

Before he aims for the victory on Sunday, Herbert will be aiming for a low score at the 2nd annual Speedway Children's Charities NHRA Celebrity Golf Tournament at The Ridges on Thursday, April 28.

The teams will be playing for the Darrell Russell Cup, renamed for the late Darrell Russell. In eight years the Bristol Chapter of the Speedway Children's Charities has raised more than $2.3 million.

"Bristol has always been a classy organization and they have raised a ton of money for the kids and I'm excited to play this year," Herbert said. "We have a great team already and we're going to go out and win the Cup and have a great time."

Once the tournament is over, Herbert and the Snap-on team will be aiming for another prize. Herbert is determined to return to his champagne celebrations at home.

"We won every year for a while and we need to get back to our winning ways at The Dragway," Herbert said. "My business (Doug Herbert Performance Parts) is not far from Bristol and we always have a lot of customers as well as friends and family who make it out to Bristol. This year we want to make them stay for the very last race of the day and have something to celebrate."

Herbert is also happy to be showing off the new and improved version of Bristol Dragway. The Thunder Valley Nationals was a sellout in 2004 and the track has made room for more speed enthusiasts in 2005 as they added 5,000 new seats for this year's race.

"Every year we go to Bristol and it gets better and better," Herbert said. "There are some tracks that we have been going to for 20 years and there hasn't been one improvement. But Bristol makes every improvement possible, whether they have to or not. It's a Bruton Smith track and it shows.

"Jeff Byrd and his staff continue to amaze the drag racing crowd. They are so dedicated to drag racing even though they host two of the most popular and successful NASCAR Cup events on the schedule. But Jeff loves drag racing and they provide us an incredible place to race at more than 330 mph. They are always just as excited to have us as we are to race there."

Herbert and the Snap-on team are currently in seventh place after the first five events of the season. They have earned one runner-up finish (Pomona, Calif.) and have plans to make a return visit to the finals.

"We want to make Bristol fun for this team again and the best way to do that is by winning." Herbert said. "It's as close to a home track as I will ever have and I have some great memories of racing at Bristol. It's time to add to the list of great memories."

They have even tested some new parts for the Snap-on dragster.

"We tested on Monday just trying out some new parts," Herbert said. "The new parts showed promise and I think we are still making progress. At this point there isn't any one big thing we can do to make the car any better than it is. Now it is a matter of making a bunch of little changes that will eventually make a big difference.

"We're going to keep chipping away at this thing and hopefully we can sneak up on the rest of the pack soon."

-gs-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert