Home Doug Herbert to be enshrined at NHRA Thunder Valley Spring Nationals this weekend

Doug Herbert to be enshrined at NHRA Thunder Valley Spring Nationals this weekend

Rod Mullins

One of the most dominating drivers in Bristol Dragway history, Doug Herbert, will join an esteemed group of individuals when he is inducted as a Legend of Thunder Valley at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, June 16-18.

doug herbertHerbert, a six-time IHRA Top Fuel winner at Bristol, will be inducted during night qualifying on Friday, June 16. He is the latest drag racing star to be inducted into Bristol Dragway Hall of Fame, joining such names as former track GM Jeff Byrd, Speedway Motorsports executive chairman Bruton Smith, NHRA legend Don Garlits, NHRA legend and current Funny Car driver John Force and NHRA team owner Don Schumacher.

Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of Bristol Dragway. Said of Herbert in announcing the forthcoming enshrinement, “Doug has one of the best resumes in Bristol Dragway history. Not only did he win a lot of races here, but he also recorded a number of significant firsts at Thunder Valley. In addition, his teen safety driving program has made a major difference in the lives of families all across this country, including right here in the Tri-Cities region.”

Herbert was always considered a favorite when he appeared on the card at Thunder Valley. The nitro pilot won six consecutive events from 1992-1997, solidifying his claim as one of Bristol’s best ever. Herbert consistently went up against names such as Shirley Muldowney, Del Worsham, Paul Romine and Jack Ostrander and according to Caldwell, “never faltered, adding to his Bristol lore.”

In addition to his numerous victories, Herbert also produced a number of firsts at Thunder Valley. In 1996, he was the first driver to break the four-second barrier at Bristol and followed that feat a year later with another first: by becoming the first driver in track history to clock a speed at more than 300 mph.

But Herbert’s biggest impact may have come off the racetrack. In the late 2000s, Herbert created B.R.A.K.E.S., a non-profit organization whose mission is to train and educate teen drivers and their parents about the importance of safe and responsible driving. Herbert founded the organization following the tragic loss of his two sons in a car crash in 2008. Since then, Herbert has made an amazing difference in the lives of numerous families through his comprehensive at-track driving programs, including at Bristol Dragway.

Herbert’s induction is scheduled for Friday evening at Thunder Valley.

Tickets for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, June 16-18, are still available by visiting BristolTix.com or calling 423-BRISTOL.

By Rod Mullins /Augusta Free Press

Rod Mullins

Rod Mullins

Rod Mullins covers NASCAR for AFP, and co-hosts the mid-week “Street Knowledge” focusing on NASCAR with AFP editor Chris Graham. A graduate of UVA-Wise, Rod began his career in journalism as a reporter for The Cumberland Times, later became the program director/news director/on-air morning show host for WNVA in Norton, Va., and in the early 1990s served as the sports information director at UVA-Wise and was the radio “Voice of the Highland Cavaliers” for football and basketball for seven seasons. In 1995, Rod transitioned to public education, where he has worked as a high school English, literature, and creative writing teacher and now serves as a school program coordinator in addition to serving as a mentor for the robotics team.