MEMPHIS, Oct. 3, 2000 - With the 20th of 23 NHRA national events due this weekend at Memphis Motorsports Park, Doug Herbert remains hopeful that some good fortune will come his way. Murphy's Law says, roughly, that whatever can go wrong, will go...
MEMPHIS, Oct. 3, 2000 - With the 20th of 23 NHRA national events due this weekend at Memphis Motorsports Park, Doug Herbert remains hopeful that some good fortune will come his way.
Murphy's Law says, roughly, that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, and that just about sums up the season Herbert and his Snap-on Racing Top Fuel team have endured.
Unfortunately, it follows his finest year in the sport. Herbert won four times in 1999, including the AutoZone Nationals here.
That event marked his last final-round appearance and, obviously, his last win.
"I think we're about due to have something good happen," Herbert said, just a few days before he returns to Memphis for the AutoZone Nationals, Friday through Sunday. "The car has been going down the track and not really hurting a lot of parts. It's just that we aren't running quick enough sometimes, and at other times something breaks. We know something good is bound to happen, we just hope it happens soon . . . like this Friday, Saturday and Sunday."
Herbert and crew chief Larry Frazier have made progress in the performance department and he showed some consistency last weekend at Topeka, Kan. He qualified 11th after running 4.723 and 4.735.
In his first-round match against Larry Dixon, Murphy's Law struck again. Herbert got a good jump off the starting line (.458 to .499) and was leading until a fuel line broke two seconds into the run. The result was a head gasket in the engine was pushed out and the car's performance dropped. Dixon won with a 4.663 at 301.00 to Herbert's 4.714 at 303.16.
"Until all that happened, we were in front," said an exasperated Herbert. "If we'd had any kind of good luck at all we would've been OK."
Now, as Herbert prepares for the AutoZone Nationals, he is certain of one thing. "I will guarantee you that we will be doing the best we can. Our Snap-on crew will keep their heads up. There are still four races to go. We'd like to win at least one of them."
Herbert is ninth with 797 points. He should be able to finish no worse than ninth because he leads 10th-place David Grubnic by four rounds and only 16 rounds remain. Herbert only trails eighth-place Bob Vandergriff Jr. by 33 points.