NASCAR & Auto Racing

Doug Herbert diary | Our aim has been higher, but we'll get ready to race

National Hot Rod Association Top Fuel team owner/driver Doug Herbert is keeping a diary over the Carolina Nationals race weekend and sharing it with readers of The Charlotte Observer and ThatsRacin.com:

My Thursday started about 7 a.m. I went to Rocky River Golf Club for our golf tournament to raise money for BRAKES. That stands for Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe. We started that after my boys, Jon and James, were killed in an automobile crash on Jan. 26. The kids at their school came up with the name for that.

We had a great turnout and had a lot of fun. Windstream made a big donation and they've partnered with BRAKES going forward. Nationwide Insurance is also helping us. What has happened is with Bruton Smith showing the dedication to build the zMax Dragway @ Concord here, that sends the message that this is serious business. He didn't built that because he had some empty land across the street from Lowe's Motor Speedway. He built it because he thinks it's a great deal and because drag racing is growing and doing something. That sends a message to these other companies that now is a good time to get involved.

I got to play and my team actually did really well. But Randy LaJoie's team cheated like crazy. We got pencil-whipped. They won, but they donated all of what they won back to BRAKES.

Thursday night we had a charity dinner at the Speedway Club. Speedway Children's Charities helped us with that and they have just been unbelievable. They have done so much to help us, and we could not have done all we've done this week without them.

I really appreciated all of my friends in drag racing, people like John Force, Dave Grubnic, John Force, Kenny Bernstein and Steve Johnson, coming to the dinner. They all knew Jon and James growing up, so I think it's personal to them. They're doing a favor to me, but they're also doing it to help the charity and support our cause. We're doing something that's valuable.

The crew was getting the car ready. I kept checking with them. We have a special car dedicated to my boys. Our sponsor, Snap-On, has been great to work with us on that.

The bad thing about this week is the good thing. I am going to have hundreds of my friends here, so there's a lot of pressure. I want to win this race. The only race my daughter, Jesse, went to this year was at Norwalk and it's the only race we've won. She's coming out here, so I'll have my lucky charm with me.

We got to race our own cars at the drag strip Tuesday night at a special opening party that Bruton had. The track is so smooth. It's going to be a fast, fast race track.

The way the weather looks, it's going to be much hotter Saturday than Friday. Friday evening is going to be the run for qualifying position. We need to go down the track in the first run and get a decent run. That will give us a decent position in the lineup for the later run. That's when we'll swing for the fence.

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