Archive for Doug Herbert

Nothing fabricated about IndyCar’s championship

Posted in Column, IRL, NASCAR, NHRA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2009 by Martin Henderson

In a racing world where playoffs were created to ensure a close championship battle and maintain consumer interest, isn’t it ironic that the IndyCar Series may have the best championship of all?

Going into today’s final race of 2009 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Scott Dixon has the championship lead, teammate Dario Franchitti is five points off the pace, and Ryan Briscoe is eight points back. The series has averaged a new championship leader every other race this season.

There is nothing contrived about this battle for open wheel supremecy, nothing fabricated by artificial means or points. It will be decided in a 200-lap shootout on a 1.5-mile oval under the lights. One of those three men is going to win it, and he will earn it in the process.

Based on the whole season, not just a portion of it.

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NHRA: Kalitta’s legacy can be measured by 1,000

Posted in Column, NHRA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2009 by Martin Henderson

Has it been a year already?

It seems like yesterday that we were burying Scott Kalitta, acquiescing to the reality of auto racing. It’s a sport that is never completely safe, but shouldn’t be unnecessarily fatal. As followers of the sport, we agree to invest our feelings toward heroes that may not return to the trailer after the next round of competition.

Kalitta’s was the third NHRA professional fatality in five years when a series of events conspired to steal Connie Kalitta’s son from our presence. Top-fuel driver Darrell Russell (2004) and funny car driver Eric Medlen (2007) preceded Kalitta in death, tragically.

Kalitta’s was among the horrific crashes of the ages, a flaming fireball crashing into the end of the shutdown area at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., site of today’s United Association NHRA SuperNationals.

Doug Herbert likes to believe that “God takes over” in moments like those, grabbing the soul before any pain is felt. It’s a comforting thought, and I’m all for adopting it.

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NHRA: Herbert’s ‘championship’ season complete

Posted in Column, NHRA with tags , , , , , on November 20, 2008 by Martin Henderson

Doug Herbert said all the mandatory things after his two young sons were killed in an automobile accident a few days before the start of the 2008 NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series season.

He christened this the “For My Boys” tour and promised the media at the Winternationals in Pomona he would win the championship.

It was a pipe dream, of course.

But 24 races later, at the Auto Club Finals in Pomona, he made good on that promise.

No, Herbert didn’t take a trophy back to Charlotte, N.C. No, he wasn’t recognized in the NHRA Record Book. No, he won’t receive all the spoils that Tony Schumacher earned in the most remarkably dominant season in drag racing history.

But sometimes, championships are won by finishing the race. By digging deep against long odds. By powering forward when you want to give up. By keeping things together in your head, your family, your business, when it seems your world is falling apart.
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