JOLIET, Ill., Sept. 30, 2001 - Doug Herbert's goal coming into the inaugural NHRA Nationals was to match his Snap-on Racing Top Fuel dragster's Sunday performance with that of his June visit to Route 66 Raceway. He improved in one area but...
JOLIET, Ill., Sept. 30, 2001 - Doug Herbert's goal coming into the inaugural NHRA Nationals was to match his Snap-on Racing Top Fuel dragster's Sunday performance with that of his June visit to Route 66 Raceway.
He improved in one area but didn't emulate his showing in another in Sunday's eliminations. Herbert posted career-bests in elapsed time (4.542 seconds) and speed (325.69 mph) during qualifying but did not get past the first round of competition this time around.
Unexpected tire smoke struck against Tim Gibson and slowed Herbert to a 7.250 at 109.24 to Gibson's 4.727 at 251.77.
"We thought it would be a safe run," said Herbert, who advanced to the semifinals in the June race here. "We backed it down and thought it would run about 4.55 (seconds). It was weird. There was no warning that it was going to smoke. There was no quiver, shake or anything. The car was chugging along, then the tires started smoking."
Herbert also added a 4.550 at 322.73 during qualifying, prompting him to say, "Our car ran good and I think it should run that way the rest of the year with good tracks remaining at Reading (Pa.), Dallas (the Texas Motorplex), Las Vegas and Pomona (Calif.). We learned something again this weekend."
Herbert, crew chief Larry Frazier and the Snap-on crew will be ready when qualifying begins Friday at Reading, site of the delayed Pep Boys Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.
He remained solidly in seventh place with 1056 points.
Qualified: No. 5, 4.542 seconds at 325.69 mph
First round: Tim Gibson def. Herbert.
Race winners: Kenny Bernstein, Top Fuel; Whit Bazemore, Funny Car; Warren Johnson, Pro Stock