Topeka: Doug Herbert preview

Topeka next stop as Johnny West searches for tune-up Snap-On Dragster will like. TOPEKA, Kan., May 22, 2002 - Johnny West, like every other tuner in Top Fuel and Funny Car, wants to take giants steps in his quest to find a winning combination.

Topeka next stop as Johnny West searches for tune-up Snap-On Dragster will like.

TOPEKA, Kan., May 22, 2002 - Johnny West, like every other tuner in Top Fuel and Funny Car, wants to take giants steps in his quest to find a winning combination. And West, like every other tuner, knows it can't be done.

"You have to make small changes to the tune-up . . . creep up on it," said West, crew chief/tuner on Doug Herbert's Snap-on Racing Top Fuel dragster.

West will continue his hunt for the tune-up capable of putting Herbert into the winner's circle when the O'Reilly Summer Nationals event unfolds at Heartland Park Topeka, May 24-26. It is the second of three straight races and the quick repetition may assist West's efforts.

"Back-to-back races help because you don't have to wait long to get back to work," said Herbert, who is coming off a first-round loss at Sunday's SuperNationals at Englishtown, N.J.

There were encouraging signs for Herbert and West in the first round despite the loss. His 4.717-second time was Herbert's best of the weekend and the incremental times before the wheel spin were competitive with those of Tony Schumacher, who was in the other lane and won with a 4.649 at 323.43 mph.

"We're going to Topeka planning to start where we left off in Englishtown," added Herbert. "We want to keep going in this direction."

"We're only a half a tenth (of a second) off where we need to be, but we have to keep nipping at it," said West. "We need to take little digits at a time."

Herbert's reply? "Don't tell me about the labor pains, just show me the baby."

Herbert, from Cherryville, N.C., has two memories of Heartland Park. The first was his Top Fuel win in 1999. The second came in 1993 and is the worst crash of his career. A tire problem sent the car into the guard wall. It bounced over the wall and rolled into a vacant television camera stand. Herbert was not hurt but the car was demolished.

That accident, along with Herbert's reactions nine years later, was featured on Fox Sports Net's "You Gotta See This" program Saturday, May 18.

Herbert is now eighth in NHRA Powerade Series points with 340. There are five drivers separated by 71 points, from No. 6 David Grubnic's 381 to No. 10 John Smith's 310. Rhonda Hartman-Smith is seventh at 343 and Darrell Russell ninth at 339.

The final race in the season's first three-in-a-row is the Chicagoland Dodge Dealers Nationals at Joliet, Ill., May 31-June 2.

-sor-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Tony Schumacher , David Grubnic