Sun coming up at the salt flats
Hi blog fans! We have had a few things happen since my last blog entry so let me try to bring you up to speed.
I continue to work really hard on funding to get the Top Fuel car back at the track full time. As I write this I am really close to finalizing a deal so stay tuned.
One of the most fun things I have done is I made a trip to Bonneville for Speedweek. If you have never been to Bonneville I would highly suggest adding a trip to your “bucket list.” My buddy and premier fabricator Pancho Weaver went out with me. He is the guy that is building the “Unlimited Streamliner” car that we are building to go after the world land speed record, hopefully next year we will have the car ready. I was actually planning on driving “Fast Freddie” Fred Dannenfelzer's Blow Fuel Lakester; unfortunately, Fred spun the car on his first attempt and that put his car out of competition for the rest of the week. Luckily, my friends Don & Donnie Stringfellow hated to see me not get a ride in his Plymouth; it was great and gave me a good chance to get some runs in on the salt flats.
I had a chance to see a bunch of my old racing buddies at Bonneville, I ran into Bret Kepner, Les Davenport, Jason Line (who drove his way into the 200 MPH club), Wayne Jesel , Eric Studor, Valerie Thompson, and even Olympic speed skater Allison Baver!
I have been going to several track meets lately. Jessie has been running on the Cross country team at her school. She is a great little runner! She asked me if I would do some running with her. I actually used to be a good runner! I had to tell her that I was like a 1 ton pick up built on a half ton chassis. At least I got a laugh outta her!
On the home front I am staying really busy here at Doug Herbert Performance Center. Especially the past couple weeks with the NHRA races and this week with the AutoFair at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Last weekend we had the NHRA O’Reilly Nationals here in my back yard at ZMax Dragway. In conjunction with the races we had some great BRAKES events going on here. I want to say THANK YOU again to all my friends that made last week’s B.R.A.K.E.S. with Doug Herbert Golf & Dinner events such a great success! Special thanks to Bob Frey, Mike Neff, Dan Hood, Clay Millican, Mark Pickens, Steve Torrence, and Shawn Langdon (who went on to win his first national event as a pro on Sunday), Tony Schumacher , Alexis DeJoria , Khalid alBalooshi and my Pro Stock Motorcycle buddy Steve Johnson.
Also my NASCAR friends two-time Nationwide champion Randy Lajoie, legendary NASCAR crew chief and engine builder Waddell Wilson, and multi-time Legends series champion, Clay Hair.
Also my MRN Straight line buddy Marty Hough and PRN’s Doug Rice; some of my local friends Kevin and April Locklear from the hit television series Outkast Customs; and my VIP’s Rodger and Karen Comstock, John Bickford , Tom and Joan Kalimanis, and Coca-Cola’s Mike Adams also took part in the festivities. Also a big thanks to Rudy Reuttiger for his inspirational message! I am sure I forgot some people on this list and I'm sorry in advance.
For more info on BRAKES please visit the charity web site www.putonthebrakes.org
We have schools this weekend at ZMax as we do every month. Special thanks to Bruton and Marcus Smith and the entire Smith family for allowing us to use this incredible facility to train teens on how to be more responsible drivers. More than 8,000 teens from 19 states trained so far!
I will keep everyone posted on my sponsorship progress! Until next time, be good!
Hello blog fans! Sorry for the delay in updating the blog, let me try to get you up to speed…
The sponsor search continues. I am confident that we will be able to announce a new sponsor to run the entire 2013 NHRA series in Top Fuel. Stay tuned for details, and I will release them as things transpire. The NHRA will be coming back to my home track next month, and we are working full time to try and finish up a sponsor for the race September 13-16 at the awesome zMAX Dragway! Also, don’t forget on September 14 BRAKES will be hosting a morning golf event that will be open to the public. Everyone will have a chance to play golf with their favorite NHRA and NASCAR drivers at Rocky River Golf Club, located next door to the zMAX Dragway. On the evening of the 13th, we will have our 5th annual BRAKES charity benefit dinner with all of our favorite NHRA racers. This event will also be open to the public and will feature Rudy Ruettiger from the Notre Dame movie “Rudy” as our guest speaker. Please come and join us for a great day and evening. For details please go to the BRAKES website, www.putonthebrakes.org
Congratulations to new winners Erica Enders and Courtney Force! I have known Erica for years, and she is a great person. I’m very happy to see the success that she is enjoying right now. And Courtney, WOW I am very impressed with her. She does a great job behind the wheel and in front of the camera. Great job by her and her crew chief and my old buddy Ron Douglas!
Even though I have not been racing I have been to some races! I took a ride up to Bristol and spent some time in the tower with all my NHRA buddies and even had the opportunity to commentate with Bob Frey. That was fun, and Bob is always a great guy to hang out with.
Lunch with Bobby Allison
One person who I always love to see is NASCAR legend Bobby Allison. He and my dad were friends from way back in the 1950s, and I am lucky enough to be friends with Bobby even today. He has come by this summer a few times as we are working on a Buick V-6 turbo engine project for him here in the engine shop. I will post the results of this as soon as they become available.
The BRAKES schools are doing great! We just finished up one of the Pomona schools that was presented by the NHRA. So far BRAKES has trained nearly 8,000 teens how to be more responsible behind the wheel. Every day we get letters and emails from parents and teens telling us how something they learned at the school saved them from being in an accident and may have actually saved their life! It’s pretty rewarding work!
I can’t believe that Jessie is already back at school! She just started 9th grade and is happy to now be a high school student. We had a fun summer. One of the best things we did was go up to West Virginia and visit my buddy Tony. He showed Jessie, Peyton and me some pretty fun places, including the good evening ranch where we camped out. What a fun place this was! Lions and Tigers (no bears) but a bunch of really awesome animals that were incredible to see. We also did the bridge walk over one of the tallest suspension bridges in the world. I did not see any jumpers, but apparently bungee jumping and parachute jumping is pretty popular… No thanks!
This week the Charlotte Motor Speedway and zMAX Dragway had their annual fall race season kick off starting with the “Parade of Power”. It was a fun event! I talked NASCAR fast guy Joey Logano into getting behind the wheel of the Top fuel car for a warm up complete with throttle hits! I am pretty sure he is now thinking that maybe driving a fuel car would be fun! I also had a chance to visit with some of my great NHRA pals, Erica Enders, Rickie Smith and Dave Connolly.
More updates coming soon! Stay tuned and I hope to see everyone at the zMAX race in September and at the BRAKES events on September 13.
Hi Blog fans, Sorry for not getting a blog up sooner after the Four-Wide Nationals. The sponsor search is still on. We are really close and good news will be along soon.
It was certainly a discouraging weekend at the 4 wide races at ZMax Dragway. Let me tell you about it. First of all I need to thank Rodger and Karen Comstock and Mail Terminal Services for their help and support and letting us run the BRAKES dragster for the race. Also thanks to Clevite/Mahle engine parts and Lucas oil for help and support of my team.
The first run: Because I don’t have a fulltime crew we really spent quite a bit of time getting the car together, so Scott spent the week before the race getting the car together. The car made a flawless run down the track that, according to the data recording, was between a 3.89 and 3.91. Now the bad news…. The NHRA timing system did NOT work, therefore we did not get a time for the run. This really hurt!
The second run: We had lane #3. No Funny Cars were running lane #3 because the track was peeling up. The Safety Safari worked on the lane and decided when the dragsters ran that the lane was good and we could go back to four-ide. After the burnout pieces of the track were stuck to my tires and looked like freckles all over the tires. Result: tire smoke.
The third run: During our pre-run warm up, the throttle cable got pinched and in a bind that no one noticed. When I went to do the burnout, I had to do a big leg press to get the throttle open. Stopping from the burnout I noticed that the fuel pressure was slightly off from normal. The throttle linkage was bent from having to mash the gas pedal so hard and caused the fuel metering valve to come out of adjustment. This caused the engine to “drop” a cylinder when I hit the throttle. Result: we ran a 4.01 on 7 cylinders and blew the engine up at the finish line.
The fourth run: We messed up the supercharger that we had been running and had to swap to another supercharger. We missed on the tune up and smoked the tires at the hit of the throttle. Result: the 4.01 ended us up in the 17th position and not qualified. Bummer, big time.
So that’s the race news. Now let’s talk about everything else!
BRAKES breakfast with John Force
Saturday morning of the ZMax race we held the BRAKES charity pancake breakfast and it was a huge success! Thanks to everyone for all the help and support for BRAKES.
So far, BRAKES has given more than 4,000 teens advanced behind the wheel driver training. There is no charge for this training; it is all funded through the help and support of everyone in our NHRA racing community! Especially thanks to everyone that supported the breakfast. Don Schumacher and the DSR hospitality crew for being gracious enough to let us use the NAPA team hospitality area for the fundraiser. Thanks to all of the drivers and my friends that made the time to come visit and make the event fun for the fans. John and Courtney Force, Antron Brown, Terry McMillen, Clay Millican, Ron Capps, Tony Schumacher, Jeff Arend, Shawn Langdon, Larry Dixon, Jack Beckman, Khalid alBalooshi, Dave Grubnic, Doug Kalitta, Dominick Lagana, Blake Alexander . For those of you that missed it, you missed a great stand-up comedy act between Antron and Force. Don’t miss it next year!
Jessie had her 14th birthday the weekend of the races and we celebrated at the BRAKES pancake breakfast by having a couple hundred of our best friends singing her Happy Birthday! She even got a kiss from our pal John Force. Jessie has really started being a health nut and she has actually got really into healthy eating. The other day she made Ginger and I a great dinner with quite a bit of creativity and good food!
The shop is doing good. The new location that is less than a mile from ZMax Dragway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway has been great! Next weekend, Saturday, May12 we will have our 20th annual car show and open house. If you are anywhere in the area please come see the shop, check out all the cars and performance parts and at noon we will fire up the Top Fuel dragster. We will actually pick a fan to sit in the car while we fire it up and hot the throttle to shake the ground! Bella, the Akita, will be in the house and Dr. Ginger will be here doing green juicing demonstrations with her new juicer package!
One of the other advantages to being here in Concord is that we are at the center of the racing universe and we are able to take advantage of all the events at the Speedway. Last week they had the annual Auto Fair and we had a booth set up with guys on hand to talk with customers and let them know that our performance parts store was just across the street. It was a great event and after the event Vic Edelbrock invited us to lunch at the Speedway club and that is always great! Very cool talking to Vic and hearing some of his wisdom.
There is a lot going on with BRAKES. Kyle Busch has really been helping us with the charity by doing several appearances with me at schools. Kyle and I just finished a PSA announcement at Speed channel that will be used to promote teen safe driving. I thank Kyle for his help and support!
As hard as I try to get my daughter Jessie into racing, she really likes horses. So last weekend we went to a horse show and she won a blue ribbon in a class of about 30 others! She really did great! Thanks to her trainer and friend, Anna Lisa and Churchill Stables farm.
Since the beginning of the year, I have been co-hosting a radio show with Marty Hough on MRN-NASCAR radio every Wednesday at noon called “The Straight-line”. We talk to the winners and news makers each week. It’s a great show and if you get a chance listen in to the show or download the broadcast afterwards or a Podcast! http://www.motorracingnetwork.com/MRN-Radio/Shows/The-Straightline.aspx
If I get some racing news NHRA will help me get the word out. In the meantime stay safe and strait and come see us May 12 in Concord, N.C.
Talking to Pancho and Larry while testing at zMax
Hello fans! We are only one week away from the Four-Wide Nationals at ZMax Dragway at the "Bellagio of Drag Strips" here in Concord, N.C., which coincidently, is only a stone’s throw from my shop, Doug Herbert Performance Center. So, if you are in town for the drag race, please stop by and say hi!
We are planning to race my Top Fuel car at the Four-Wide race and we are doing some testing to make sure we have a good outing. I am still looking to secure sponsorship support, if any one hears of anything, please let me know!
For everyone attending the Four-Wide race, be sure to NOT miss our annual Pancake Breakfast fundraiser for B.R.A.K.E.S. Saturday morning at the Four-Wide race at the Don Schumacher Racing hospitality area. I have all the pro racers coming to serve breakfast and talk to fans. The food is great and priced cheap, so don't miss it. What the heck, you have to eat breakfast anyway, so you may as well come have fun at the same time!
Congrats to my sister, Heather, for being promoted to Major in the U.S. Army. She has been in the Army for about 10 years now, spent a year in Iraq and has really done a great job! I'm very proud of her, in case you can't tell!
A couple weeks ago, Ginger took her first passes in my Super Comp dragster. She loved it. She thinks this may be something that she wants to get serious about. Maybe it will be easier to find her a sponsor than me?!?
Earlier this week we made a BRAKES presentation to the teens at Pine Lake Prep School in Mooresville, N.C. Kyle Busch joined us and related his driving and learning experiences to the teens. I think he did a great job telling his story. It is always better if we are able to learn from someone else's mistakes and Kyle did a good job letting them know that he has made some mistakes and hoped that they could all make better decisions, after hearing of all the trouble making bad decisions behind the wheel can cause.
This last weekend Jessie won two blue ribbons at a local horse show riding with help from Anna Lisa! How cool! I'm so proud. Thanks, Anna Lisa.
Shirley visited us last week and while she was here we went to look at the progress on the Land Speed Car. She decided that she wants to drive and be the fastest woman on earth!
In preparation for our annual Doug Herbert Performance Mother's Day Car Show & Sale, (May 12, the Saturday before Mother’s Day) we are getting together some of our customer's best cars. One of the best is a Richard Petty car that they brought by for us to look at. Be sure to come to the show Saturday morning May 12 and see some great cars and get some great deals on hot rod parts!
Scott Gaddy, my crew chief, brought in a fun picture! His dad brought him to Bristol way back in 1993 and took a picture with me; we won the race that day, coincidently. Now, he works for me.
Twitter is really picking up. If you are not on Twitter yet you might think about becoming a member-- after all it’s free! When you are a member, you can follow @NHRA and of course follow me! @dougherbert. The easiest way to explain Twitter is to just think of it like sending a short text message to all of your friends at one time. It’s pretty cool!
If you know anyone that would like to sponsor a top fuel dragster please get a hold of me! I'm ready to roll!
Until next time!