HERBERT RACES TO EMOTIONAL TOP FUEL VICTORY AT SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA NATIONALS T. Pedregon, Anderson and Arana also win at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park NORWALK, Ohio -- Doug Herbert raced to an emotional Top Fuel ...
HERBERT RACES TO EMOTIONAL TOP FUEL VICTORY AT SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA NATIONALS
T. Pedregon, Anderson and Arana also win at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park
NORWALK, Ohio -- Doug Herbert raced to an emotional Top Fuel victory Sunday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals and dedicated his first win of the season to the memory of his two young sons who were tragically killed in a highway auto accident in late January.
Tony Pedregon, Greg Anderson and Hector Arana also were winners of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.
Herbert, who has titled his season campaign "For My Boys," powered his SnaponFranchise.com dragster to a 4.636 second run at 311.70 mph to beat final-round opponent Brandon Bernstein, who posted a 4.611 at 313.58 in his Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster. It was Herbert's 10th career victory and first since the 2007 season.
"It's such an emotional day and I'm just happy to get the job done," said Herbert, who beat Troy Buff, David Grubnic and Rod Fuller in earlier rounds, and moved to eighth overall in the point standings. "Going up there (for the final round) I knew I was going to dig down and give it everything I had. I just wanted to do everything I could to win because I didn't want to have a mistake that I made cost us the race. Luckily I have my little lucky charm (daughter Jessie) with me, and we did a lot of thinking about her brothers (Jon and James) today, and I'm sure they were riding with me on that final-round win.
"Winning a race is important to me because that substantiates and justifies what we're trying to do. I set some real high goals for myself this year, and they haven't changed. I'm going to drive the wheels off that car every run, I guarantee you."
Pedregon drove his Q-Horsepower Chevy Impala to his third win of the season and moved to second in the POWERade Series points standings, by outrunning top qualifier Robert Hight in the final. Pedregon earned his 39th career victory with a performance of 4.882 at 306.26, while Hight trailed in his Auto Club Ford Mustang with a 4.903 at 304.74.
"We knew we had a tough opponent in the final round, it always is any time you race a Force car, and my crew chief (Dickie Venables) really nailed it for the conditions," Pedregon said. "We expected a tough race, and they were right there. Just to reach the winner's circle at any race is good, but this one puts us right back in the game, and I think every race from this point on is going to be very important."
Pedregon, who outran Jim Head, points leader Tim Wilkerson and Ron Capps in early rounds and moved to second overall in the points. He said his victory was in memory of Scott Kalitta, who died tragically in a crash in Englishtown, N.J. last weekend.
"I am dedicating this win to Scott's kids and his wife," Pedregon said. "I think it's important that everyone out here wants them to know we care about them. I think the time coming up we'll use to regroup and heal, and we'll never forget him."
Anderson earned his fourth win of the season and 55th of his career in his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP when local favorite Larry Morgan had a red-light start in the final in his Lucas Oil Dodge Stratus.
"We got 'er done and made amends for last night (runner-up in K&N Horsepower Challenge) and racked up some precious POWERade points and got a little bit of money to go with and probably made our sponsor fairly happy, too," said Anderson, who beat Mike Edwards, Jason Line and Greg Stanfield in the first three rounds. "I would love to have the No. 1 spot (heading into the Countdown to 1); it's worth 20 points. That's really the goal. We haven't done too well up until the last couple of weekends. We've got a great race team, and we've kind of been getting shown the way home this year, but it looks like we're making a recovery. It sure feels good to come to a race with a chance to win, and for the last couple of months, we didn't have too good of a chance to win and needed a miracle. I think we're back in the fight, and we're going to keep swinging out there, trying to make it better by the time we get to the Countdown."
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Arana won his first career race in his 18-year career with a performance of 7.027 at 187.60 on his Lucas Oil Buell, to hold off Team Tigue Suzuki rider Craig Treble, who finished in 7.061 at 187.83.
Arana said his team fixed a nagging problem that had held their bike back all season and the results showed today, as he upset some of the category's heavy hitters: Gatornationals winner Matt Guidera, defending POWERade champ Matt Smith and No. 1 qualifier Eddie Krawiec, before beating veteran Treble in the final.
"I have to thank Forrest and Charlotte Lucas for believing in me and believing I could do this job," Arana said. "I never gave up, and my crew guys never gave up, and I've met a lot of wonderful people who have given me a hand over the year and never stopped trusting in me, and I'm glad I was able to do it. It's an awesome, awesome feeling, and it hasn't sunk in yet, but it feels great to accomplish what I've been working for all these years."
The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series continues with the 29th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, July 11-13, at scenic Bandimere Speedway near Denver.