LINCOLNTON â€“ Doug Herbert spent the first weekend off from NHRA POWERade Drag Racing in a month doing what he knows best: Working.
Herbert and his Snap-on Tools team were the feature attraction at Saturdayâ€™s 30th annual Snap-on Tools Night of Thrills at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J.
The exhibition match races he held against Doug Foley and the data his group gained made the extra effort worthwhile.
â€œI thought the team did a great job making the car get down the track and that was a great thing because we race in Englishtown in a couple of weeks and next time there will be points and prize money on the line,â€ Herbert said. â€œThis time it was to show off for the fans and as usual, I was impressed by how many thousands of people came out to watch all the action. It was a great weekend for Snap-on.â€
Now Herbert and the team can make their way to Route 66 Raceway for this weekendâ€™s CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals in Joliet, Ill. Herbert won the fall event in September 2004.
â€œWe won the last time the NHRA was there and Iâ€™m looking forward to going back and trying to make it a winning streak,â€ Herbert said. â€œWeâ€™re not going there for a car show or a tea party; weâ€™re going to win rounds.
â€œWeâ€™ve had a tuning alliance with Joe Amatoâ€™s team from the beginning of the year and I think it is starting to pay off because our car is coming around and itâ€™s on the edge of being a consistently competitive dragster.
Joeâ€™s crew chief Wayne Dupuy and his brother Jim, and clutch guy Scott French came to Englishtown to help our car match their dragster in performance. We made a lot of progress.â€
Herbert will be joined by a VIP group of Marines that have recently made their way home from overseas combat duty: Cpl. Patrick Hilty of Park Ridge, Ill.; Sgt. Kevin Perez of Alsip. Ill.; LCpl. Joseph Ochoa of Woodridge, Ill.; LCpl. Christian Ramirez of Chicago; LCpl. Jose Maldonado of Chicago; Cpl. Eric Weber of Rockford, Ill.; Cpl. James Tucker of River Grove, Ill.; Cpl. Lee Cannon of Naperville, Ill.; Cpl. Mark Gannon of Chicago and LCpl. Chris Bay of Joliet.
If Herbert had his way, he would have the special guests at every event.
â€œWe like to make sure the Marines are local men and woman because the last thing we want to do is make someone travel when they have just returned home from war,â€ Herbert said.
â€œLogistically, we like to have Major Philip Toretti on site because he is one of the big reasons why we are hosting this program. But Major is a full-time Marine and itâ€™s difficult for him to join us at every race.â€
Herbert is looking forward to making the trip south of Chicago.
â€œThe Route 66 Raceway facility is great and I think it might be better this time around because of the time of year,â€ Herbert said.
â€œI have a great feeling about this race and I canâ€™t wait to get there.â€
Final eliminations will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday.
ESPN2 will air coverage of this weekendâ€™s event starting with qualifying at 6 p.m. (ET) on Saturday. Final eliminations will start at 3 p.m. (ET) on Sunday. NHRA 2Day can be seen at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday on ESPN2.
by Special to the LTN