Sears Point: Herbert ready to win

SONOMA, Calif., Aug. 2, 2000 - Ask Doug Herbert about his most memorable moments at Sears Point Raceway and he has to pause and think. That brief time to reflect says something Herbert doesn't like to admit. He hasn't had many memorable...

SONOMA, Calif., Aug. 2, 2000 - Ask Doug Herbert about his most memorable moments at Sears Point Raceway and he has to pause and think.

That brief time to reflect says something Herbert doesn't like to admit. He hasn't had many memorable moments here. But, the driver of the Snap-on Racing Top Fuel dragster says, all that could change soon, as early this weekend during the NHRA's Autolite Nationals.

"The Sears Point track can be very unpredictable, especially when the sun beats on it all day," Herbert commented. "We made some good runs last weekend in Seattle on a track that is a lot like this one, so maybe things will start going our way. We're still looking for a little racing luck, too." Herbert also is searching for his first win in 2000. A four-time winner last year, he comes to town in eighth place with 537 points. A former Southern Californian now living in Cherryville, N.C., Herbert has a history with Sears Point Raceway dating back to the 1980s.

"The first time I raced at Sears Point was in 1987 when I was driving an alcohol dragster," Herbert, 32, said. "I guess we didn't do too well racing because the thing I remember most was how much fun we'd have on the return road because it was part of the road course. We'd go down there faster than normal.

"They've really improved the facility over the years and now I understand the track's going to change again," Herbert added. "(Track owner) Bruton Smith has given us new tracks in Bristol (Tenn.) and Las Vegas, so I would think this one will measure up to those." Herbert has won just one round of Top Fuel racing at Sears Point in five previous outings. "Our Snap-on Racing team hasn't done well there, but we'd like to turn it around this time. It would be nice to get our first win there in the last race on the old track," he said.

"I like going to California to race. I usually have a lot of relatives and friends come to see me. Heck, they'd probably get a kick out of watching me win." Crew chief Larry Frazier tuned Herbert to consistent qualifying performances at Seattle. His best of 4.724 seconds at 294.11 mph put Herbert eighth overall. In a first-round match Sunday against Kenny Bernstein, the Snap-on dragster suffered traction problems and Bernstein took the win. "It was disappointing, but we'll bounce back," Herbert said. "We'll be ready to go at Sears Point."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Kenny Bernstein