Denver: Herbert preview

Race Win Gives Herbert, Snap-On Top Fuel Team Confidence Going Into Mile-High Nationals DENVER, July 12, 2001 - There's nothing like a win to change a driver's outlook. Or a team's, for that matter. Ask Doug Herbert. He knows firsthand just...

Race Win Gives Herbert, Snap-On Top Fuel Team Confidence Going Into Mile-High Nationals

DENVER, July 12, 2001 - There's nothing like a win to change a driver's outlook. Or a team's, for that matter.

Ask Doug Herbert. He knows firsthand just how exhilarating a victory makes you feel. His win at the NHRA 50th Anniversary Nationals (at Pomona, Calif., July 7) was his first in 38 races going back to October 1999.

"We'd been struggling," said Herbert, driver of the Snap-on Racing Top Fuel dragster. "We'd been qualifying a lot in the top half of the field (10 times in 13 races this year) but we couldn't seem to put things together."

Herbert, crew chief Larry Frazier and the team did put it together during eliminations at Pomona, securing Herbert's sixth career title. The win provided a needed confidence boost as they begin the traditional "Western swing" portion of the 24-race Winston Series schedule. It consists of back-to-back races at Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif.

The goal of Herbert and Frazier is to come back and get to the winner's circle again, as early as July 22, elimination day at the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.

"The crew's enthusiasm is so high now I think it will make a difference (in his team's performance)," Herbert commented. "It was nice to get the win. The guys were probably wondering if we were ever going to win. Then, all of the sudden we win and it picks up everybody's outlook. I hope this gives us a little bit of momentum.

"It's tough racing in the altitude at Denver because basically everything you learn there you throw out for the other tracks. You have to change the (engine) compression and some teams may change the cam shaft," Herbert continued. "Just about everybody's in the same boat."

The Cherryville, N.C.-based driver thinks the race win could provide a little extra incentive during the three-race swing. "I haven't really done anything lately on this tour," he remarked. "But I'll tell you we are ready to get something going. If nothing else, it makes me feel good about our chances now."

Herbert has not won a round of racing at Bandimere Speedway since 1997, when he went to the semifinals. "I think we know what we need to do. The team's enthusiasm is so high I think this is going to make a difference," Herbert added.

The Snap-on squad has four qualifying runs (two each Friday and Saturday) to prepare for Sunday's competition.

No matter what happens, Herbert will still be savoring his victory at Pomona Raceway, which came on his home track before friends and family. He grew up in nearby Villa Park, Calif., but did not have a win at that track on his resume.

"We got a little bit of luck during eliminations and the car ran good," said Herbert, who saved his quickest two competitive runs for the semifinals (a 4.64-second win over Darrell Russell) and finals (a 4.600-second, 320.58-mph blast to beat Gary Scelzi). The 320.58 was his fastest run in two years.

Herbert, 33, now has six victories in 12 final rounds. He remained eighth in Top Fuel points but now trails Tony Schumacher by just nine points, 690-681. <pre> Doug Herbert Facts: Age: 33 Hometown: Cherryville, N.C.

Career final-round record: 6/12 2001 wins/final rounds: 1/1 (7/7/01, Win at Pomona, Calif., )

Quickest 2001 time: 4.558 seconds (6/2, Joliet, Ill.) Fastest 2001 speed: 320.58 mph (7/7, Pomona, Calif.)

Career best time: 4.551 seconds (3/99, Gainesville, Fla.) Career fastest speed: 321.65 mph (4/99, Houston)

-SO-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi