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Fri, 2 Sep 2005, 02:51 PM

Herbert to Play Host to RFC Auction Winner
Courtesy of Gabrielle Stevenson

CLERMONT, Ind. -- Doug Herbert and the Snap-on Tools team will have a lot of special guests in the hospitality trailer this weekend at the 51st annual NHRA U.S. Nationals.

Not only will Herbert play host to a select group of local Marines that have served overseas duty recently, but he will have one particular guest that is hoping to learn as much as possible from the veteran Top Fuel driver.

Tom Henley of Thompsonville, Ill. participated in one of several auctions that benefited one of the newest projects supported by Racers For Christ (RFC) - The RFC Garage. The program is geared toward providing a safe, clean environment for children and young adults that want to learn more about motorsports, rodding and car restoration. Volunteer mentors work with the kids and provide the materials.

"When you have kids you look at things completely differently," Herbert - a two-time Indy runner-up - said. "Anytime I can help a program that is geared toward keeping kids safe and educating them about cars and racing, I'm all for it. I'm glad that we are going to have Tom with us this weekend and I hope we can do this again before the season is out."

Henley will join the crew on Saturday, helping the team prepare for the second and third qualifying sessions. The program will hold another auction - this time on Ebay - for a pit crew position on Herbert's team for the Sept. 29- Oct. 2 race at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill.

"We had several people bidding on the chance to get behind-the-scenes access to Doug's pit area this weekend, but Tom is a big Herbert fan and every time someone else put an offer in, Tom and his wife came right back," RFC's Scott Williams said. "This is just a great thing for everyone involved. We are trying to open an RFC Garage in other cities and the funding all goes toward the kids. We want to keep providing a place where children can learn in a good Christian environment."

There are five rounds of qualifying for the U.S. Nationals, which starts with a night session on Friday at 6:15 p.m. followed by two sessions on Saturday (1:15 & 6:15 p.m.) and two more on Sunday (11 a.m. & 3 p.m.). Final eliminations are set for 11 a.m. on Labor Day.

ESPN2 will televise the event throughout the weekend including special coverage. Qualifying can be seen on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. (ET), noon (ET) on Sunday and 10:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday. Two segments of NHRA 2Day will air this weekend, 11:30 a.m. (ET) on Sunday and Monday. Final eliminations will start at noon (ET) on Monday, continuing at 8 p.m. that evening.

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