Gainesville: Doug Herbert Gatornationals preview

Herbert'S Goal For Gatornationals Is To Continue Moving Up In Nhra Powerade Standings GAINESVILLE, Fla., March 19, 2002 - There's nothing like a good elapsed time in drag racing. Especially when it comes unexpectedly and results in a round win...

Herbert'S Goal For Gatornationals Is To Continue Moving Up In Nhra Powerade Standings

GAINESVILLE, Fla., March 19, 2002 - There's nothing like a good elapsed time in drag racing. Especially when it comes unexpectedly and results in a round win during eliminations.

Doug Herbert and his Snap-on Racing Top Fuel team weren't smiling Sunday morning prior to first round of the Checkers Schuck's Kragen Nationals at Phoenix on Feb. 24. Herbert, expecting to qualify among the leaders, was 15th instead and just a few ticks from not even making the starting line-up.

But co-crew chief and tuner Johnny West's combination worked perfectly in the opening round. Herbert registered his quickest run of the young NHRA Powerade Series season, upset reigning Top Fuel champion Kenny Bernstein, the No. 2 qualifier, and bringing grins to the crew.

"That was a good start," Herbert recalled. "Johnny's been working with some new parts and ironing out some kinks in the tune-up since then. I think he's starting to feel confident with the way things are going."

And perhaps all of that will put Herbert, his car and crew into the Gatornationals winner's circle on Sunday, March 17, at Gainesville Raceway.

"We need to do well so we can move up a few more spots in the standings," added Herbert, who joined the top 10 after his quarterfinal finish at Phoenix. He's 10th with 83 points and 21 races remaining on the schedule. But his goal is to win the championship, so he's been putting a little more pressure on West, co-crew chief Larry Frazier and the Snap-on crew to improve.

"We need to keep moving up in the standings to get to where we want to be. And that's at the top of the heap," continued Herbert.

Only six points separate the Cherryville, N.C., driver from seventh spot, but he's 132 behind first-place Larry Dixon, and he doesn't want that gap to grow.

"I think Johnny has a better handle on the tune-up and I think we have something to work with now," said Herbert, who was timed in 4.622 seconds at 322.88 mph in beating Bernstein. The time was third-best in the round while the speed was second-fastest. "Gainesville has a good track. We should be able to go fast there."

Herbert was the Gatornationals runner-up in 1999. He has only one round win in six other races at the track.

Paul Romine, driver of Herbert's Carquest dragster, also is entered. Romine, who will compete for the IHRA Top Fuel title again this season, started one position ahead of his boss at Phoenix but lost his opening-round match against eventual race winner Tony Schumacher.

Gatornationals qualifying is scheduled Friday and Saturday, March 15-16.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Paul Romine , Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Tony Schumacher