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Herbert continues climb up Top Fuel standings; looks for win before hometown fans, COMMERCE, Ga., April 30, 2003 - Doug Herbert's performance parts warehouse is about a three-hour drive from Atlanta Dragway, site of this weekend's Summit Racing...

Herbert continues climb up Top Fuel standings; looks for win before hometown fans,

COMMERCE, Ga., April 30, 2003 - Doug Herbert's performance parts warehouse is about a three-hour drive from Atlanta Dragway, site of this weekend's Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals, and he expects to have a lot of fans in the stands.

Coming off a runner-up finish to Brandon Bernstein Sunday at Bristol, Tenn., Herbert believes his team may be treated to his first NHRA POWERade Series Top Fuel victory of the year.

He's experiencing one of his best starts in several years and he has utmost confidence in his Snap-on team, led by crew chief Ron Douglas and tuning consultant Jim Brissette.

"Everything seems to be coming together," said Herbert, who hired Douglas and Brissette after a disappointing 2002 campaign. "Our car is running better. We had the quickest time (4.565 seconds) in the third qualifying session at Bristol and we were the quickest in both the second and third rounds of eliminations Sunday. We know we are capable of running with the top two or three cars now."

If NHRA passed out quarter-season accolades, Herbert would be in the running for most improved after six races. He moved from fifth into fourth place in points with 361. He's 63 points (there are 20 points per available per round win) behind third-place Doug Kalitta. He's finished seventh in three of the last four years - 2001-2002, and 1999 - and was never higher than seventh last year.

"We had a lot of fans at Bristol, too. It's a good feeling to have that kind of fan support," Herbert noted. "A lot of them came by after the race to tell me to get that win at Atlanta. They also said there was nothing wrong with finishing second. The only problem finishing second is you do the same amount of work as the winner because you do what it takes to win.

"We made progress," he continued. "We went to the semifinals at Houston and then got to the finals at Bristol. That can't be all bad. We did break three superchargers during the weekend and that's not very good. We need to stop doing that. It cost us about $20,000 each time."

After running 4.610 and 4.661 seconds in rounds two and three respectively, Herbert's car was slowed by - he later found out - a broken fuel pump against Bernstein. Bernstein's best run before he met Herbert was 5.172 seconds. But he rallied with a 4.625 at 320.13 mph to Herbert's slowing 4.880 at 282.72 mph.

"We were feeling pretty confident going into the final," admitted Herbert, "but my Snap-on dragster spun the tires. I watched as he pulled away and then shut it off early. All I can say about the final is when Bernstein needed to get down the track he did.

Herbert finished second here last year in one of his three final rounds. He won at Sonoma and was runner-up at Columbus, Ohio.

Qualifying includes sessions at 2:45 and 6:45 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, setting the fields for Sunday's 11 a.m. start of eliminations.

-sor-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Doug Kalitta , Brandon Bernstein