Houston Doug Herbert Goes to Semis

BAYTOWN, Texas, April 16 - Doug Herbert enjoyed his best outing of the young NHRA season Sunday, advancing to the semifinals of the O'Reilly Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. The performance also put Herbert and his Snap-on Racing Top...

BAYTOWN, Texas, April 16 - Doug Herbert enjoyed his best outing of the young NHRA season Sunday, advancing to the semifinals of the O'Reilly Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.

The performance also put Herbert and his Snap-on Racing Top Fuel dragster into eighth place with 225 points, five behind Cory McClenathan.

"It was a good weekend," said Herbert, who defeated Kenny Bernstein, the No. 1 qualifier, in the quarterfinals. "We did get to the semis and the car made more consistent runs to show we are going in the right direction with our tune-up."

After beating Rhonda Hartman-Smith in the first round, Herbert outran Bernstein with a 4.749 at 314.61 mph to Bernstein's troubled 4.928 at 268.60. It was the 20th meeting between the two and Herbert's eighth win.

In the semifinal, Herbert squared off against his 2000 nemesis, Larry Dixon. It was the third time the two raced this year . . . and the third time Dixon won.

"We got after the tune-up before the semifinals," Herbert said. "We'd dropped a cylinder in the round before, but we did a little too much changing."

Crew chief Larry Frazier tuned the car to three consistent qualifying runs - 4.718, 4.681 and 4.667 (which put him eighth to start eliminations).

The Snap-on team gets a few days off before back-to-back races at Richmond, Va. (April 28-30), and Atlanta, May 5-7.

Qualified: No. 8, 4.667 seconds at 317.05 mph

First round: Herbert, 4.692 at 318.39 def. Rhonda Hartman-Smith; Quarterfinals: Herbert, 4.749 at 314.61 def. Kenny Bernstein; Semifinals: Larry Dixon, 4.627 at 320.58 def. Herbert, 7.735 at 110.98.

Pro Winners: Larry Dixon in Top Fuel; Bob Gilbertson in Funny Car; Jeg Coughlin Jr. in Pro Stock.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Bob Gilbertson , Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Cory McClenathan