Englishtown: Doug Herbert preview

Herbert Happy with Car's Performance; Looks for More at E-town ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., June 18-20, 2004 - With his Snap-on Racing Top Fuel dragster running better than it has in more than a year, Doug Herbert is anxious to move on to the next stop:...

Herbert Happy with Car's Performance; Looks for More at E-town

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., June 18-20, 2004 - With his Snap-on Racing Top Fuel dragster running better than it has in more than a year, Doug Herbert is anxious to move on to the next stop: Englishtown, N.J., site of the K&N Filters SuperNationals this weekend.

Even New Jersey's expected high heat and humidity - something the NHRA POWERade Series hasn't dealt with since 1992 - doesn't dampen Herbert's enthusiasm.

"We know it will be hot and humid at Englishtown this time of the year, but the difference between that track and some of the others we race on it that Raceway Park's racing surface is usually very good in those conditions," Herbert said. "And we'll be ready."

Herbert's confidence increased with low elapsed times and a career-best speed during the Pontiac Nationals last weekend at Columbus. He experienced his quickest and most consistent elapsed times in qualifying in more than a year and advanced to the quarterfinals before being knocked out by a broken blower belt pulley.

"All-in-all, we didn't win the race but we had a pretty good weekend," added the Cherryville, N.C. driver, whose 327.43-mph qualifying speed Saturday was a career best. "The main goal was to be competitive and I think we're at that point. Now it's just a matter of fine tuning the thing and winning some races . . . and that may be coming pretty quick. We're looking forward to getting to Englishtown."

The elapsed times were excellent, too - 4.540, 4.520 and 4.530 seconds. Herbert had the second-best times in the first two sessions and was tops on his third trip down the tricky National Trail Raceway asphalt. The 4.520 was two-thousandths slower than his career best elapsed time.

"If we didn't have the best car during qualifying, we had one of the best cars," Herbert said.

He beat Josh Starcher in the first round and was leading Doug Kalitta in the quarterfinals when the tires began spinning. "I pedaled it and then the belt came off," Herbert recalled. "It was a bad deal because I didn't see him until he passed me."

"We made adjustments for that round and the early numbers on the run were good, but we didn't make enough adjustments," said tuner Ed McCulloch.

Kalitta had traction trouble of his own, but won when Herbert's car lost the blower belt and momentum.

Herbert, runner-up at Englishtown in 1999, McCulloch and the Snap-on team believe more positive results are in the future - starting Sunday Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

Qualifying takes place Friday at 5 and 8 p.m. and Saturday at noon and 3 p.m. Eliminations begin at 11 a.m. Sunday.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Doug Kalitta , Josh Starcher