POMONA, Calif– There is just one race left this season. That means there is just one more Wally trophy to be claimed in the Top Fuel category.
Doug Herbert wants nothing more than to walk away from historic Pomona Raceway with the final piece of racing hardware.
Herbert and the Snap-on Tools team will start qualifying for the 41st annual Auto Club NHRA Finals on Thursday. Herbert wants to make the last race of the NHRA POWERade season the biggest motivational tool for the offseason.
“What I am looking forward to the most is going into Pomona and turning in some great performance runs and getting the team fired up for the offseason,” Herbert said.
“We were the runner-up there at the first race of the season so we need to do just a little better than that race to get the win.
“What`s even better is that our team is 100 percent better now than we were at the first race of the season.”
Herbert earned the Pomona Raceway victory during the 2001 summer event celebrating the NHRA 50th anniversary.
He was runner-up to Scott Kalitta at the first of 23 events this season.
But now he has Wayne Dupuy. The tuner has helped guide Herbert to three final round appearances and five semifinals in just 11 races so far.
“Wayne had turned this team around and made us a top contender for elimination round and race wins,” Herbert said.
“We`ve earned 778 points since Wayne came on board the team (since St. Louis) and that`s second only to Tony Schumacher (1,052 points). That says a lot about what Wayne has provided this team. He`s shown us how to win round consistently.
“Who knows where we would be in the points chase if we had started the season with Wayne?”
Speaking of pointsâ€¦.
Herbert is in fifth place going into the season finale.
The highest Herbert has ever finished is seventh (1999, 2001-`02). When Herbert and Dupuy joined forces, they agreed on several goals. Making a jump in the point standings was just one thing on the list.
“I`ve never finished higher than seventh and there is still a chance we can move up to fourth place if we do well this weekend,” Herbert said.
“We`re going to Pomona to win the race and if we do that, we`ll move up. We have accomplished a couple of goals and it`s just going to get better. We`re going to work our tails off this winter so we can come out ready to compete and win races next season. But first, we want to win Pomona. If we can do that, we`ll be real happy.”
Pro qualifying begins Thursday at 2 p.m. and will continue Friday with another 2 p.m. session.
Qualifying wraps up with two sessions (11a.m. and 2 p.m.) on Saturday. Final eliminations will start at 11 a.m. Sunday.
All the action can be seen on ESPN2 starting with the qualifying at 10 p.m. (ET) on Saturday. NHRA 2Day will air at 11:30 a.m. (ET) on Sunday followed by the eliminations at 7 p.m. (ET) that evening.
by Special to the LTN