Seattle: Doug Herbert preview

Herbert hopes return to sea level will bring race win at Seattle KENT, Wash., July 23, 2003 - This Seattle-area city may not have as much to offer as Denver, but it does enjoy a better supply of good old oxygen. Oxygen helps engines run...

Herbert hopes return to sea level will bring race win at Seattle

KENT, Wash., July 23, 2003 - This Seattle-area city may not have as much to offer as Denver, but it does enjoy a better supply of good old oxygen.

Oxygen helps engines run better, including the 7,000-horsepower motor in Doug Herbert's Snap-on Racing Top Fuel dragster. It is vital part of the power-making process. Less oxygen going into the supercharger's air scoop equals slower performances, which is what the team got at mile-high Bandimere Speedway last weekend.

It will definitely be easier for crew chief Ron Douglas and tuning consultant Jim Brissette to tune Herbert's dragster for the CARQUEST Nationals, July 25-27, at Pacific Raceways than it was at Denver - and the entire team says hallelujah to that.

"We made a lot of changes going into Denver," Herbert said. "We weren't able to see any improvements last week and I think a big part of the problem was the altitude. You really can't learn anything up there."

"I think the changes we made should improve our performance and hopefully it will show at Seattle. We all are happy to be going back to sea level."

Making horsepower has never been a problem here, although Herbert is still seeking his first race victory in the Northwest. He's never advanced past the quarterfinals in eight races at the track formerly known as Seattle International Raceway.

This could be the winning one, should the new tune-up work as planned, and Herbert isn't about to quit trying. Last year, for example, Herbert left Seattle after a quarterfinal loss and went to Sonoma, Calif., the next week and won the Fram-Autolite Nationals for the first time.

Herbert could take a few giants strides in the standings should he string some round wins together at Pacific Raceways. He is eighth in POWERade Series points with 618, but he trails No. 5 Tony Schumacher by only 28 points which, at 20 points per round win, makes it a tight, four-way scramble for fifth place. Schumacher has 646 points, followed by injured Brandon Bernstein with 629, and John Smith with 621.

"We had high expectations when the season started," said Herbert. "We still could finish third, but time's running out. We need to start doing something right away."

With 10 of the 23 races remaining, Darrell Russell is third with 774 points. It's not an insurmountable advantage, but definitely a challenging one for Herbert.

"My racecar is better-prepared now than any car we've had before," Herbert added. "Now we have to tune it to get it running down the racetracks."

The Snap-on team will have four qualifying sessions to dial in the right combination, beginning Friday at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at noon and 3 p.m.

Herbert Gets a Softer Seat

The driver's seat in Herbert's dragster wasn't made for comfort, but that didn't mean he couldn't be comfortable while sitting in it.

Herbert, from Cherryville, N.C., noticed NASCAR drivers were using a formfitting seat made of liquid foam and decided to try it himself.

Herbert was fitted with the seat before the race at Denver and gave it a two-thumbs-up rating.

"The seat was a lot more comfortable. It gave me a lot more support and it's safer," he said. "It feels like I'm sitting in a lounge chair instead of in the uncomfortable race car. Several other drivers like the concept and are planning to get them, too."

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Tony Schumacher , Brandon Bernstein