Doug Herbert earned the No. 1 qualifying position, set a track record, moved up two positions in the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel point standings and in general, enjoyed the O`Reilly Fall NHRA Nationals at the Texas Motorplex.
Oh yeah, he also earned another final round appearance. For the second consecutive weekend and fourth time this season, Herbert earned a runner-up finish.
Herbert drove his Snap-on Tools dragster to a 4.629-second pass at 320.05 mph, falling short of opponent Tony Schumacher`s 4.523 at 331.77.
“All in all, it was a great weekend,” Herbert said. “We had a great race car and there was only one team on the property that did better today. I think moving up into fifth place in the point standings was such a huge accomplishment.
“When we hired Wayne (Dupuy, crew chief) in June, we were in ninth place. Now we`re fifth. That is cool. That was one of the big season goals to accomplish and we`ve done a great job moving up.”
Herbert beat Bill Ancona in the first round with a 4.551 run at 324.28 over Ancona`s 4.774 at 281.48 in the first career meeting between the two racers. In Round Two, Herbert beat Doug Kalitta, going 4.567 at 321.81 to Kalitta`s 5.663 at 190.54.
The semifinals, however, weren`t as easy. Herbert took the round victory over Rod Fuller in their second matchup of the season, but the results were a little difficult to handle.
Herbert went 5.237 at 253.14 to Fuller`s tire-smoking 12.709 at 77.04. Herbert`s car, however, hit the retaining wall twice and caused a lot of work for the crew between rounds.
“The steering wheel came off and all I could do was sit there,” Herbert said.
“The car was still moving pretty quick when the steering wheel came off, so it hit the wall and we just tore up some pieces. We had to change a lot of parts and I think that threw us off a little for the final round.”
Dupuy`s brother, Jim, is the crew chief for fellow Top Fuel racer Morgan Lucas. Jim brought his crew over to Herbert`s pit area and helped get the car ready for the final round matchup.
“We had to change the rear end because when the car hit the wall, it bent the axel,” Wayne Dupuy said.
“We had a lot of other things that needed to be changed and while our team did the normal service to the car, Jim`s crew helped put the car back together with the new pieces.
“We never would have made it back up to the starting line without Jim`s help. All of those guys, Scott, Swifty, Shannon, Bob, Eddie, Wop and Bennie were just awesome.”
He didn`t get the victory this time, but Dupuy is happy with the way the weekend went and the way the car is running.
“It was a great weekend,” Dupuy said. “We are getting so close to a victory and it`s disappointing to earn the top qualifier, the Full Throttle Award (given to the most consistent team in qualifying) and in general run so well without winning the race, but we`re getting close.
“Schumacher won today was because that car is just running a little better than ours right now. But we`re making progress and they all know we`re a threat to win rounds and races and that makes us feel good about the progress we`ve made.”
Herbert earned the top qualifying position with a track record 4.441 run at 328.06. It is Herbert`s third career top qualifying position and first since Las Vegas 2002. The run is the fourth quickest pass in NHRA Top Fuel history.
“We have a quick car that can win,” Herbert said. “We had to thrash today and we still made it up to the starting line and turned in a decent pass. We`re close to winning a race and that`s a tribute to how well this team has come together. Wayne`s got a lot of great things planned for this Snap-on team and I`m excited about everything.”
by Special to the LTN