CONTINUING SNAP-ON DRAGSTER'S QUICK PERFORMANCES, WINNING RACE HERBERT'S GOALS FOR FALL NATIONALS ENNIS, Texas, October 8, 2002 - Doug Herbert has a potent hot rod, a nickname (DougZilla) and a new attitude as he looks forward to the O'Reilly...
CONTINUING SNAP-ON DRAGSTER'S QUICK PERFORMANCES, WINNING RACE HERBERT'S GOALS FOR FALL NATIONALS
ENNIS, Texas, October 8, 2002 - Doug Herbert has a potent hot rod, a nickname (DougZilla) and a new attitude as he looks forward to the O'Reilly Fall Nationals, Oct. 11-13, at the Texas Motorplex, south of Dallas.
It is, he says, a very good time to be at the controls of is Snap-on Racing Top Fuel dragster. Herbert went for the quickest ride of his career two weeks ago at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., and that 4.518-second clocking not only boosted his confidence going into the season's final three races, it provided his first No. 1 qualifying position after 190 NHRA national events.
Not only that, but Herbert recently signed a three-year contract extension with Snap-on Tools that goes through the 2005 season.
"Every run we made (at Joliet) was a good one," said Herbert, "and I believe we can run better at the Motorplex. It has one of the best surfaces we run on and with the tune-up we had at Joliet, we could see some low numbers (elapsed times). How well we run will depend a lot on the weather. If it's cool, the conditions should be excellent.
"This track is different than the one at Joliet," continued Herbert, who turned 35 on Oct. 5. "The engine dropped a cylinder on every run we made there except the 4.51. We were spinning the tires at the top end of the track. The Motorplex's all-concrete track has traction all the way down. It has teeth at the top end."
Herbert's previous lowest time was 4.542 seconds, also run at Route 66 Raceway (2001). That could change again this weekend, if it's cooler.
"It wouldn't surprise me if we ran in the 4.40s," he commented. "I think we can because the Motorplex track is always good."
Despite that, the Cherryville, N.C.-based driver has not fared well here. He's advanced to the quarterfinals only three times in 10 races. This, however, is a different year and Herbert remains excited about his potential.
"I think we can be competitive in the last three races," he said, "and, with the car running the way it is, I wouldn't be surprised if we win at least one more race this season."
Following the Fall Nationals in the 2002 POWERade Series are the AC-Delco Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Oct. 25-27, and the Auto Club Finals at Pomona, Calif., Nov. 7-10.
Although Herbert's dragster did spin the tires in the semis at Route 66 Raceway, he left Illinois with one of his most consistent outings in recent years. His worst qualifying run was 4.651 seconds. On race day, he had winning times of 4.638 and 4.636 seconds. His slowest, ironically, came in his semifinal loss to Doug Kalitta - 4.662 to 4.673.
Kalitta won the race and moved into fourth place. Herbert remains in contention for a spot between seventh and fourth. He is seventh with 1125 points but is only 75 points (approximately four rounds) behind Kalitta (1200) with 12 rounds to go. Between them are Cory McClenathan in sixth (1185) and Darrell Russell (1198).
DougZilla for a Good Cause
Herbert's new nickname comes from a cartoon-like character designed for his new souvenir t-shirt. Herbert is donating the proceeds from that shirt's sales to the Billy Williams Fund. Williams, a longtime friend of Herbert, suffered serious injuries in a racing accident earlier in the year. He remains hospitalized.