Sonoma: Doug Herbert preview

Herbert takes search for Top Fuel win to Infineon Raceway. SONOMA, Calif., Aug. 1, 2002 - When the National Hot Rod Association's annual Western swing - a three-week trek from Denver to Seattle to Sonoma - began, Doug Herbert wanted to improve...

Herbert takes search for Top Fuel win to Infineon Raceway.

SONOMA, Calif., Aug. 1, 2002 - When the National Hot Rod Association's annual Western swing - a three-week trek from Denver to Seattle to Sonoma - began, Doug Herbert wanted to improve last year's performance of five round wins.

Now, as he heads into the Fram/Autolite Nationals, Friday through Sunday at Infineon Raceway, formerly Sears Point Raceway, the driver of the Snap-on Top Fuel dragster finds himself three round wins short of accomplishing his goal.

He did advance to the quarterfinals at Denver and Seattle and managed to pull within six points of sixth-place Doug Kalitta in the process (707-701), but Herbert still hungers for a race victory. He's been to two finals - finishing second at Atlanta and Columbus, Ohio - but close doesn't count.

"I want to win races," Herbert said. "Johnny (West, crew chief) has been working with (tuning consultant) Wes Cerny and the car's performance is improving. We're getting closer to the leaders but we aren't quite there yet."

And, like every other Top Fuel driver in this POWERade Series event, he'll be running on a new racing surface. The old drag racing track at Infineon Raceway was replaced by new concrete and asphalt a few feet from where it once was. It's no longer part of the track's road racing course and it boasts a long concrete starting pad instead of what was one of the shortest on the 23-race schedule.

"That should improve our times and speeds," added Herbert. "The old track had bumps in it, too."

Herbert's two round wins here last year were two more than he'd won in his seven appearances at this event. His only other round win came in 1992 and he didn't race at Sears Point from 1994-97.

Herbert defeated Tony Schumacher Sunday in the opening round of the Northwest Nationals at Seattle and was forced to wait until Monday for his second round when rain postponed the competition. His day ended when he lost to eventual race winner Darrell Russell in the quarterfinals.

"Our Snap-on dragster ran better than it did on Sunday, but we didn't have enough to beat Russell," Herbert said.

He also qualified seventh, marking the sixth time he's started in the top half of the 16-car field.

-sor-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta