Joliet: Doug Herbert Saturday summary

Engine Explodes on Final Qualifying Run; Herbert Fails to Make Route 66 Nationals Top Fuel Field JOLIET, Ill., May 31, 2003 - Doug Herbert's qualifying streak of 59 races came to a stunning end amidst a fiery engine explosion Saturday...

Engine Explodes on Final Qualifying Run; Herbert Fails to Make Route 66 Nationals Top Fuel Field

JOLIET, Ill., May 31, 2003 - Doug Herbert's qualifying streak of 59 races came to a stunning end amidst a fiery engine explosion Saturday afternoon at Route 66 Raceway.

Herbert's Snap-on Top Fuel dragster appeared to be on a run that would've easily put him into the 16-car field, but the engine boomed about half-track, taking with it any chance of running an elapsed time better than the 4.852 of No. 16 qualifier Luigi Novelli. Herbert coasted past the finish line with a 5.124 at 197.71 mph, which turned out to be his best of the abbreviated weekend.

"That's really disgusting," said a visibly disappointed Herbert. "We made small tune-up errors on the first two runs and we had a major catastrophe on the last run. We needed to get down the track on our first run Saturday but we didn't. We shouldn't have been in the position of needing to qualify on the final run . . . but that's the way it goes."

All Top Fuel and Funny Car competitors lost one qualifying run when Friday night's session was canceled due to tornadoes in the immediate area of the track.

Compounding Herbert's frustration is the fact that there will be 2000 Snap-on fans at the track Sunday.

This event ended the season's toughest part of the schedule - seven races in nine weeks - on a sour note for Herbert. The Snap-on team must wait until June 13-15 for another opportunity to go racing, this time at the Pontiac Excitement Nationals at Columbus, Ohio.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Luigi Novelli