Joliet II: Doug Herbert preview

Herbert Wants to Recapture Performance Edge at Route 66 Raceway JOLIET, Ill., Sept. 23, 2003 - One year ago there was a big goose egg behind Doug Herbert's name when the subject was NHRA career No. 1 qualifying positions. Herbert had race wins,...

Herbert Wants to Recapture Performance Edge at Route 66 Raceway

JOLIET, Ill., Sept. 23, 2003 - One year ago there was a big goose egg behind Doug Herbert's name when the subject was NHRA career No. 1 qualifying positions. Herbert had race wins, low 4.5-second elapsed times and 324-plus mph runs, but he'd never been the quickest qualifier.

All that changed when the POWERade Series made its second visit to Route 66 Raceway. His Snap-on Racing Top Fuel dragster bolted down the quarter-mile in 4.518 seconds and he earned his first Budweiser low qualifier award. He advanced to the semifinals during eliminations, running his fastest speed, 325.69 mph, along the way. That was one of four semifinal rounds he made in the last five 2002 events, and he added another No. 1 at Las Vegas the following month.

Herbert's team returns to Route 66 Raceway this weekend for the CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals hoping to see if lightning can strike twice. It's a jolt they would welcome. They've been struggling while trying to identify the cause of mechanical failures that slowed the racecar.

Tuner Wes Cerny has made major changes to the combination since joining the team four races ago but has been unable to isolate, and then fix, the elusive gremlin or gremlins.

"Wes has made a lot of changes," Herbert said. "I'm sure he's going to get everything straightened out by the end of the season. I just hope it's quite a ways before it."

This weekend might be nice, but new parts usually need a period of adjustment - runs down the track - before everything becomes a cohesive machine capable of 4.5-second elapsed times.

"Our first (qualifying) run Friday probably will be only to half-track to make sure everything is working right," added Herbert. "Our second run Friday night will probably be a Hail Mary."

Traditionally at this time of year, Friday night's cooler conditions are likely to be the best of the weekend. That was when Herbert ran his 4.518 in 2002.

Herbert remains in eighth place with 777 points. He still wants to win at least once and climb as high as he can in points before the season ends. He trails John Smith by 24 points, No. 6 David Baca by 104 and No. 5 Cory McClenathan by 110 with five races - and 20 rounds of competition - to go.

Qualifying Friday is set for 4 and 7 p.m. and Saturday at 12:30 and 4 p.m. Eliminations begin Sunday at 11 a.m.

Herbert to Give Away Racecar in Six Weeks

If you are looking for a different kind of conversation piece to have around the house, maybe you should enter Doug Herbert's Win This Car Contest. "This Car" is his current Snap-on Racing Top Fuel dragster, built by Murf McKinney, and it will go to one very lucky person on Nov. 9 in Pomona, Calif.

There are two ways to enter. Go to dougherbertperformance.com, print and complete the entry form and mail it to the address on the form or purchase performance parts from Herbert's business.

Three finalists will be announced at the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals Oct. 26. They will be Herbert's guests at the Auto Club Finals, Nov. 6-9 at Pomona, Calif. The winner will be announced Nov. 9.

The 25-foot dragster will be race-ready in every aspect. It is not street legal, but has run 320 mph on NHRA racetracks.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , David Baca , Cory McClenathan