Doug Herbert Phoenix test preview

Doug Herbert Anxious to Begin Pre-season Testing at Phoenix CHERRYVILLE, N.C., Feb. 4, 2004 - Doug Herbert spent the last months of 2003 and the first 31 days this year overseeing the overhauling of his Snap-on Racing Top Fuel dragster The...

Doug Herbert Anxious to Begin Pre-season Testing at Phoenix

CHERRYVILLE, N.C., Feb. 4, 2004 - Doug Herbert spent the last months of 2003 and the first 31 days this year overseeing the overhauling of his Snap-on Racing Top Fuel dragster

The Murf McKinney-built racecar isn't the only new weapon in what Herbert definitely thinks is a beefed up arsenal of equipment and personnel that will enable him to challenge for the NHRA POWERade championship. At the forefront is new tuner/team manager Ed "Ace" McCulloch, who is returning to dragsters after spending three-plus years tuning Funny Cars.

Add to that the latest in sophisticated engine parts available and a crew dedicated to making 2004 as memorable as 2003 is forgettable, and Herbert's desire to rank among the category's top five could become reality.

It's all bench-racing talk right now, but that changes Friday when Herbert and crew roll out for their first testing weekend at Firebird Raceway in Chandler, Ariz. He leaves little doubt they will be ready.

"I'm ready to go racing," Herbert said. "I feel better about starting this year than I have for years. Everything we did since the Auto Club Finals (Nov. 9 at Pomona, Calif.) has been very positive, but the most important was hiring Ed. Everybody on the team is anxious to start racing and excited about the changes he's made since he joined the team."

McCulloch tuned Doug Kalitta to two wins and Scott Kalitta one before switching to Funny Car, where Ron Capps won five times and Tommy Johnson Jr. once. McCulloch, who was a pioneer in the Funny Car class, has 22 career wins, 18 in Funny Car and four in Top Fuel. Ironically, his last win - at the 1992 U.S. Nationals - came at Herbert's expense.

"I really feel pretty good about the direction we are going and where we need to start," McCulloch said. "Testing is testing, and the routine doesn't change. We'll start by making short squirts so we can get a feel for the motor, clutch and fuel system. We'll gradually work up to full passes.

"We changed a lot of stuff (in the engine), but we will be well-prepared," he continued. "I think all of us are pretty confident."

McCulloch planned to spend at least three and, if necessary, five days fine-tuning the dragster before packing up for another test session, this time at Tucson, Ariz., Feb. 13-15.

The goal is to be fully prepared when the curtain goes up and the chase for 2004 honors gets underway, Feb. 19-22, at Pomona, Calif.

-sor-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Ron Capps , Doug Kalitta , Tommy Johnson , Scott Kalitta