Joliet II: Doug Herbert preview

Herbert looking forward to Route 66 Raceway. JOLIET, Ill., Sept. 25, 2002 - Doug Herbert, like most Top Fuel drivers headed for Route 66 Raceway this weekend, wouldn't mind seeing crisp, cool fall temperatures. The cooler, it seems, the...

Herbert looking forward to Route 66 Raceway.

JOLIET, Ill., Sept. 25, 2002 - Doug Herbert, like most Top Fuel drivers headed for Route 66 Raceway this weekend, wouldn't mind seeing crisp, cool fall temperatures.

The cooler, it seems, the better, because he likes the way his Snap-on Racing Top Fuel dragster performs in those conditions at the Chicagoland facility. A year ago, Herbert posted his career-best run - 4.542 seconds at 325.69 mph - here. And a few months earlier, he'd registered a string of 4.5-second times.

"We've run well there in the past and I think we can go there this time and do a good job," said Herbert. "I feel good, especially considering we ran 4.651 in the second round at Memphis Sunday on a track that's not nearly as good as Route 66's. That 4.65 was awesome. What we really need to do is pick up the pace by about a tenth (of a second) if we're going to run with the top cars."

Herbert is still chasing his goal of finishing at least as high as sixth in NHRA POWERade Series competition. He's currently seventh and, with four events remaining, trails Doug Kalitta by 38 points and is 57 behind fifth-place Darrell Russell. By battling his way into the semifinals at Memphis, Herbert was able to close the gap between the two drivers he's chasing. Kalitta and Russell lost in the first round.

After qualifying eighth (4.745 seconds) on a tricky Memphis track, Herbert came up with winning 4.729 and 4.651 numbers before his tires lost traction in the last 300 feet against Tony Schumacher in the semis.

"Wes Cerny, who played a major role in our Memphis tune-up, will be doing the same thing for us this weekend," added Herbert of the man who serves as the Snap-on team's tuning consultant.

Although the weather was much warmer in the series' first visit to Route 66 Raceway in early June, Herbert battled his way to the semifinals before losing to eventual winner Larry Dixon. Herbert's top time of the weekend was his 4.689 in qualifying, and that came at night. On race day, his best was 4.713 seconds.

"The track is definitely much better when it's cool and overcast," added Herbert. "It gets to be a lot trickier the more the sun is on it."

So Herbert and his Top Fuel cohorts will be looking for cooler temperatures with a cloud cover during the Craftsman 75th Anniversary Nationals. And the Cherryville, N.C. driver does have an edge in winning "anniversary races." He captured the NHRA 50th Anniversary event in July 2001.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta