MORRISON, Coloâ€” Call it an interesting weekend for Doug Herbert and his Snap-on Racing/DougZilla Goes to Denver Top Fuel dragster at the Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.
He was the No. 1 qualifier for several hours and started fourth overall (4.757 seconds) in the 16-car field, and then he lost his brakes in a first-round win over Mike Strasburg and wound up going into the sand trap and safety net past the finish line.
The damage, fortunately, was minor and the Snap-on crew was able to get the car ready for the quarterfinal round against eventual race winner Scott Kalitta. Traction trouble and a broken blower belt ended Herbertâ€™s competitive day.
The crew was able to make the necessary repairs with time to spare before the next round. The damage was minimal to the front wing and spill plates. There was, as tuner Ed McCulloch pointed out, a pile of small rocks around the car after it was race-ready for the second round.
Herbert registered one of his best runs in the mile-high altitude (4.757 seconds) in Saturdayâ€™s first qualifying session. It was No. 1 at the time and wound up No. 4 overall . . . His speed was down (288.09 mph) because the engine dropped two cylinders near the finish line, so he shut it off a little early . . . The performance was satisfying because the team had only two qualifying chances after rain washed out Fridayâ€™s schedule . . . This was the first event in the annual NHRA Western Swing that features stops at Seattle (July 25) and Sonoma, Calif., (Aug. 1).
â€œWe were happy to get that first-round win. I pulled the first parachute and pulled on the brake. When I did, the brake pulled all the way back and I knew it wasnâ€™t working. I hit the second parachute and it came out, but it was too late. I knew I was getting closer to the sand. About then I wished I could be like Fred Flintstone and stick my feet through the floor boards.â€
â€œWe found out we had a broken brake line. We did pick up a lot of rocks . . . The first qualifying run was awesome because we made a lot of mechanical changes over the last two weeks and Ed made the right tuning choices.â€
Qualified: No. 4, 4.757 seconds at 288.09 mph. Eliminations: Round 1, Herbert, 5.062 at 297.29 def. Mike Strasburg, 6.141 at 159.93; Quarterfinals: Scott Kalitta, 4.875 at 300.53 def. Herbert, 5.934 at 162.65
CarQuest Nationals, Seattle, July 23-25
Top Fuel: Scott Kalitta
Funny Car: Phil Burkhart Jr.
Pro Stock: Greg Anderson
Top Fuel Top 10:
1, Tony Schumacher, 1021; 2, Doug Kalitta, 993; 3, Brandon Bernstein, 970; 4, Scott Kalitta, 721; 5, Larry Dixon, 752; 6, David Grubnic, 719; 7, Darrell Russell, 695; 8, Cory McClenathan, 692; 9. Doug Herbert, 719; 10, Scott Weis, 512
by Special to the LTN