NASCAR & Auto Racing

Herbert made to wait for potential windfall

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Michigan is not the only rainy place in the motorsports world.

Rain also has pushed completion of the National Hot Rod Association's event in Reading, Pa., to today, and Doug Herbert has a big race waiting for him.

Herbert, whose Top Fuel team is based in Lincolnton, is in the final round against Rod Fuller. If Herbert wins, he's into the final eight in the NHRA's new Countdown.

The top eight drivers in each division after this event will keep contending for the championship.

If Herbert advances, it would be a heck of a comeback since he came into the weekend 53 points behind eighth-place David Grubnic.

Grubnic lost in the quarterfinals to Morgan Lucas, so if Herbert wins today, he will wind up two points ahead of Grubnic to snatch away the final spot in the top eight.

"I guess this could be the biggest round of my career," Herbert said by telephone Monday. "That would put us ahead of a lot of good cars if we can make the top eight."

Herbert beat Doug Kalitta in the first round, Cory McClenathan in the quarterfinals and Doug Foley in the semifinals. Herbert's runs in those rounds were in 4.529 seconds, 4.560 seconds and 4.566 seconds -- remarkable consistency.

"The guys on the team just aren't making mistakes right now, and that's what it takes," said Herbert, whose team got off to a tough start this year. Three times he failed to make the top 16 during qualifying to get into the elimination rounds.

He said he would rather have seen the rain hold off long enough so he could have faced Fuller on Monday. But today works, too, he said.

"I am going to dig down deep," Herbert said. "He's going to have his hands full."