ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. - It took almost two days to complete the Mopar Nationals at Raceway Park, but Doug Herbert didn't mind the wait. Oh, it could've been a little better, but the driver of the Snap-on Racing Top Fuel car was happy to leave...
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. - It took almost two days to complete the Mopar Nationals at Raceway Park, but Doug Herbert didn't mind the wait. Oh, it could've been a little better, but the driver of the Snap-on Racing Top Fuel car was happy to leave with a second-place finish Tuesday afternoon.
"We had to wait quite a while to finish the race," said Herbert, who watched, like the rest of the drivers still in contention, while it rained Sunday afternoon and all day Monday. Conditions finally improved Tuesday. "And then we had traction problems," he added.
Herbert had advanced to the semifinals before the rain came. Tuesday, he started the day with a tire-smoking victory over Gary Scelzi to advance to the finals for the third time this year and eighth time in his career. A clutch malfunction against Joe Amato prevented Herbert from even contesting for the win.
"The tires started smoking at the hit of the throttle," Herbert said, "and that usually means there was a problem in the clutch area. We were disappointed because we wanted to win, but we made up some ground in the Winston points race."
Amato won with a 4.614 at 313.58 mph while Herbert coasted through at 11.958, 89.17 mph.
The good showing during the long event lifted Herbert into second place with 525 points, 76 behind Mike Dunn's 601.
Crew chief Dick LaHaie had his tune-up dialed in before the rain. Herbert qualified fourth with a 4.576-second time at 318.09 mph. He also had runs of 4.620 and 4.594 seconds before eliminations started. Herbert then drove the Snap-on dragster to a first-round win (at 4.580 seconds) over Connie Kalitta and a second-round decision (at 4.594 seconds) over Bob Vandergriff Jr.
Herbert had a big lead on Scelzi right off the starting line, thanks to a .438 reaction time, and Herbert needed to pedal the throttle en route to a 5.900-second, 247.02-mph decision to Scelzi's 6.409 at 229.55.
Herbert will be ready to make a run at the leader during the Fram Route 66 Nationals, June 4-6, at Route 66 Raceway, Joliet, Ill.
Qualified: No. 4, 4.576 seconds at 318.09 mph. First round: Herbert, 4.580 at 320.74 def. Connie Kalitta; Second round: Herbert, 4.594 at 312.93 def. Bob Vandergriff Jr.; Semifinals: Herbert, 5.900 at 247.02 def. Gary Scelzi; Final: Joe Amato def. Herbert
Pro Winners: Top Fuel, Joe Amato; Funny Car, John Force; Pro Stock, Richie Stevens