Seattle: Doug Herbert preview

Herbert happy to return to sea level. Herbert hoping for improved performances, better racing conditions at Northwest Nationals KENT, Wash., July 24, 2002 - Sunshine and clouds, temperatures in the mid-70s and enough oxygen in the air to run ...

Herbert happy to return to sea level.
Herbert hoping for improved performances, better racing conditions at Northwest Nationals

KENT, Wash., July 24, 2002 - Sunshine and clouds, temperatures in the mid-70s and enough oxygen in the air to run excellent elapsed times and speeds make up ideal racing conditions at Pacific Raceways.

Those prospects bring a smile to Doug Herbert's lips. He and his Snap-on Racing Top Fuel team are looking forward to the Seattle-area environment and the 15th annual Lucas Oil Northwest Nationals, this weekend at the track formerly known as Seattle International Raceway.

"After dealing with the heat and lack of oxygen in the air at Denver last week, it's going to feel good to go to a track where the engines can make the power it takes to run in the 4.50s and 4.60s (seconds)," said Herbert. "It seems like that track is always fast."

Herbert, from Cherryville, N.C., set the track record at 297.71 mph here in 1992 and held it until 1994. If Herbert wants to reset it, he'll have to run faster than 322.65 mph, the latest record that was set last year.

It's not so much speed that Herbert craves, but race wins. He's been to two finals in the first 13 NHRA POWERade Series events and is seventh in points (648). This stop - the second of three straight events - just might provide his seventh career victory.

"I think Johnny (West, crew chief) and Wes (Cerny, tuning consultant) will be able to use some of what they learned during races at St. Louis and Columbus (Ohio) at Seattle," added Herbert, who qualified second and fourth, respectively, at those two outings in June. "I think it's going to be a good weekend for us. We need to do well so we can keep up with the guys ahead of us in points."

Herbert is 25 points behind No. 6 Doug Kalitta's 648. Darrell Russell, who was sixth going into Denver, won the race and is fifth with 735.

After qualifying 12th at Denver with a 5.105-second run, Herbert beat Andrew Cowin in the first round and gave McClenathan a good race with his weekend best of 4.915 seconds to a wining 4.886. Herbert's time would've beaten the other six drivers in the quarterfinals.

"Running that 4.91 was good, and that should give us something to tune from for next year up in the high altitude," Herbert said. "Now I hope we can come out strong during qualifying at Seattle and get in some good runs early so we aren't qualified in the bottom half of the field."

There will be two qualifying sessions Friday and two more Saturday before Sunday's eliminations.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Doug Kalitta , Andrew Cowin