Sonoma: Doug Herbert finals summary

Herbert beats Kalitta in Fram/Autolite finals for seventh NHRA Top Fuel victory. SONOMA, Calif., Aug. 4, 2002 - Doug Herbert won his seventh NHRA national event and first in Northern California Sunday when he defeated Doug Kalitta in a battle of...

Herbert beats Kalitta in Fram/Autolite finals for seventh NHRA Top Fuel victory.

SONOMA, Calif., Aug. 4, 2002 - Doug Herbert won his seventh NHRA national event and first in Northern California Sunday when he defeated Doug Kalitta in a battle of tool-sponsored Top Fuel dragsters in the finals of the Fram/Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway.

With the victory, his first in three final-round visits in the season's 15 NHRA POWERade Series events to date, the Cherryville, N.C.-based driver moved into sixth place, 11 points ahead of Kalitta, 815-811, with eight races remaining.

Herbert's Snap-on Racing dragster had to come from behind, but he managed to eke out the win with a 4.727-second time at 308.85 mph to beat Kalitta's 4.766 at 305.56 in the Mac Tools dragster.

"This was great!" Herbert exclaimed of his first victory since July 2001 at Pomona, Calif. He defeated John Smith, Melanie Troxel and Darrell Russell en route to the finals. Russell had won the last two races - two weeks ago at Denver and last Monday at Seattle - in this three-race Western swing.

"It was tough," Herbert continued. "We were lucky in the first couple rounds, but the competition is so tough. In the finals, I saw Kalitta's car at half-track and thought, 'oh my,' but then he disappeared. Winning keeps up the morale of my Snap-on team, our sponsors . . . and my morale.

"This was a satisfying win. I hope we don't have to wait a year before we get another one."

Herbert qualified fifth and ran 4.956 at 294.75 mph to beat Smith and 4.990 to eliminate to eliminate Troxel. He won a close once against Russell by leaving the starting line first, .504 to .511. The winning time was 4.744 to a 4.743.

Herbert's two final rounds this year came at Atlanta (May 5) and Columbus, Ohio (June 16).

Herbert and the Snap-on team have a few days to savor the victory.

The next NHRA event is scheduled at Brainerd, Minn., Aug. 16-18. kkk -thr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Doug Kalitta , Melanie Troxel