*Photos courtesy Cheri Herbert Carter




Part 1: A Photo Album (staged shots) of Raynor/Herbert
by Mike Bagnod (1972)


The first Raynor-Herbert RED built by Don Long as it looked when it debuted in the spring of 1972. The was the first day they brought the car home from Longs. It was painted in SoCal and assembled there. This was the first day it arrived in Sacramento, and they unloaded it in the Togonotti's Speed Shop parking Lot at their 19th and T Street location.


Cheri Herbert Carter still has the horizontal support brace for the rear wing. These mono-wings were Don Long's idea (he is big into airplanes) and was used on two cars Herbert's and that of Cerny & Moody. Slick as they were, the more conventional wings proved to be more effective. Cerny changed over early on, but Herbert ran it through the 1974 season.


Jim Herbert was a die hard Donovan man and both of his REDs used Ed's blocks for power.


One of the obvious differences between the early and the contemporary REDs is the size and height of the rear wing.


Note the Tognotti's Speed Shops acknowledgement on the wing support; soon to be Jim's serious business rival.


The Raynor-Herbert top fuel dragster also appeared on the face of Tognotti's business checks.








Part 2: 1972


Chris Raynor and Jim Herbert completed the construction of their first rear-engine top fuel dragster in the spring of 1972. It had all the best pieces: Don Long chassis, 417 cid aluminum Donovan block, Enderle injectors, Danekas supercharger, Hays clutch, and Crower cam.


The team debuted the car at the Frank Pitts Benefit Race at Sacramento Raceway in April 1972; Pitts had been seriously injured in the crash of the famed Warlock AA/FA in 1971. Though Shorty Leventon posted low e.t. and top speed (6.86-218.45), Raynor-Herbert also dropped into the sixes with a 6.98-206.90. R-H would be a frequent participant at Sacramento Raceway that year. Many of those appearances were a two-out-of-three match against friendly rival Gary Ormsby.



Match Race against Gary Ormsby at Sacramento (1972).


A pair of burnout shots from Sacramento in 1972.



Judging from the fact that the trailer and tow vehicle are comfortably situated at the edge of the track, this would have to be a testing session; Sacramento Raceway; 1972.





Part 3: 1973


The first real test of the car's potential came at Sacramento Raceway in February 1973. This race, a traditional warm-up for the Bakersfield March Meet, was loaded with quality teams including Don "Big Daddy" Garlits. Tampa Don was still smarting over a loss to 17 year old John Stewart at Irwindale's Grand Premiere in January and wanted to race the kid again. The rematch never occurred because Jim Herbert sent "Big Daddy" back to the trailer in the semifinals. In the all Sacramento final, the youthful Stewart, an El Camino High School senior, got off the line first and just managed to hold off the hard charging Raynor-Herbert team for the win. That final round appearance was a promising start to the season, but the real litmus test lay ahead the following week at the Bakersfield March Meet. After barely slipping into the show at #31, Sunday started off splendidly with a pair of wins that included a huge upset over Clayton Harris. Herbert's 6.71 against Harris was also the quickest run of the rounds contested thus far. With many of the favorites eliminated in those early rounds, it was anybody's race to win. Dreams of basking in the glow of victory were cruelly dashed in the quarterfinals when a gauge showed no oil pressure and Jim had to shut off the engine; the crew had neglected to put oil in the engine. Dwight Salisbury, the #17 qualifier, would go on to victory over Randy Allison (#30 qualifier) in T.B. Smallwood's top fuel car.


Sacramento Raceway, February 1973: Jim Herbert strapped a hole shot (clearly evident) on Don Garlits and parlayed the lead into a big win; 6.72-201.35 to Tampa Don's 6.68-213.28.
Mike Bagnod Photography


A qualifying pass at the 1973 Bakersfield March Meet. Note the Enderle injectors that were added over the winter replacing the 4-port Hilborns.


The California State Championship Drag Races at Sacramento would offer the team an opportunity for redemption. Originally scheduled for the weekend of March 31, rain forced a postponement until April 14-15. It was another quality field that included Warren-Coburn-Miller, Dennis Baca, the upstart John Stewart, and, of course, Raynor-Herbert. The Warren-Coburn-Miller team was getting significant monetary support from sponsor "Rain for Rent", and with lots of spare parts in the trailer, could really bump the tune up as needed. They completely dominated the field that weekend at Sacramento Raceway; a first inkling that cubic money equaled horsepower. Though always a contender at every event they entered, it soon became obvious to both Chris and Jim that it would take a lot of money to duplicate the success of The Lizard front-engine dragsters. Advances in after market performance components made it possible to build incredibly powerful engines, but at a great, and sometimes, extravagant cost. The budget needed to build and race a top fuel dragster at the highest level, soon became well beyond the means of many of the drag racers. To that end, the Raynor-Herbert team competed almost exclusively on the West Coast, but did venture back to Tulsa for the PRO championship in September 1973. Herbert qualified 20th at 6.36-231.10, slightly better than John Stewart, but lost in the first round to his old nemesis James Warren. Art Glattke of the Sacramento Bee saw it like this when he penned his column in his Pit Stop in February 1974, "Touring Pros Will Run With Locals at Raceway". Jim Herbert was more to the point when interviewed, "I don't have the budget that Ivo has…………you can't campaign on a national basis without a major sponsor. Our trip to Tulsa alone, not counting racing expenses, was something over $2,000.00; along the way, we had to replace a fuel pump (Las Vegas) and two tires (New Mexico) The purse at any meet less than "Nationals" stature just will not cover that kind of traveling expense."


This picture was taken in 1973 on the American River Parkway; a 23 mile long trail that parallels the American River has it flows through Sacramento.




Part 4 : 1974


This advertisement ran in National Dragster in 1973 for six weeks prior to the 1974 Winternationals.


Raynor-Herbert at the 1974 Winternationals.


Raynor-Herbert racing John Stewart at Sacramento Raceway; 1974.


Another full house at Sacramento Raceway; Jim racing Jim Peace near side who, apparently, has fallen asleep.
Mike Bagnod Photography


Sacramento Raceway 1974. Look at the fans directly in the background standing on the hood of their car next to a fence that is no more than ten yards from the track. Compare that to the distant and sanitized seating at today's super tracks.
Mike Bagnod Photography


Raynor-Herbert at OCIR
Racing Photos by John Shanks


Jim Herbert putting some heat into the atmosphere on what had to be a very cold day at Sacramento Raceway; check out the attire on the fans.
Mike Bagnod Photography


Jim launching the Raynor-Herbert T/FD at Sacramento Raceway; do you get the feeling that Jim loved to race at this track?
Mike Bagnod Photography


In the 1970s, NHRA's divisional races were called WCS (World Championship Series) meets. They were a big deal back then because not only were the top fuel dragsters still part of the program, but it was a 16-car show. Sacramento Raceway always hosted one of the Division 7 events and, typically, attracted as many as 30 top fuel entries. The 1974 edition at Sacramento Raceway was a much anticipated event with 40 top fuel entries alone. There was also one spot left in the prestigious Cragar 5-Second Club. Despite the likes of March Meet winner Kuhl-Olson, James Warren, Dennis Baca, and Frank Bradley, Herbert-Raynor led all qualifiers with a 6.11 elapsed time and a blazing 232.56. Though engine failure against Olson in the semis would end their run that weekend, on a whole, 1974 was a very good year. At the Indy Nationals, Herbert did better than any other California team. He lasted through the long rainy weekend until the semis when he was defeated by eventual champion, Marvin Graham. "It was misting so badly I had to use the back of my driving gloves to wipe my goggles clean……but everyone ran under the same conditions."

Later that year Jim summed it up for Jim Rattie of The Sacramento Bee, "I'm not normally extremely lucky, which is an important element in racing. But, it seems we're running consistently well everywhere at both good and bad tracks." That consistency paid off with a lot of round wins in 1974 and an eventual second place finish in the divisional standings to champ Warren-Coburn-Miller.


Ontario Motor Speedway - 1974 World Finals; Buster Couch pushing the buttons (on the right).
Steve Reyes Speed Photography


Raynor-Herbert vs. John Blanchard (Rance McDaniel driving) at the World Finals; Ontario Motor Speedway.
Steve Reyes Photography




Part 5 : 1975


In 1975, the team started off with a semi final placing at the Bakersfield March Meet, won the California State Championships at Sacramento, and ran as fast as 245 mph at the Indy Nationals. It was then that Jim took a hiatus from the driving seat to concentrate more time and energy on his Jim Herbert's Performance World speed and parts shop located at 1717 Bell St. (at Arden Way) in Sacramento.


In 1975, Raynor-Herbert showed up at Sacramento Raceway with a new look and paint scheme. Gone were the canard wings and spoked front wheels. A new, conventional Don Long wing was over the rear tires.


Where else except at Sacramento Raceway could fans get this close to the action!


Racing Kuhl-Olson at Sacramento Raceway; 1975.
Ron Burch Drag Photos


Jim out on Ken Moitoza and Gary Gachis at Sacramento Raceway; 1975; Note: Ron Burch was also the track reporter.
Ron Burch Drag Photos


Jim Herbert vs. Bob Williams at the '75 divisional event at Sacramento Raceway.
Ron Burch Drag Photos


The 1975 Governor's Cup at Sacramento Raceway; Gary Beck, having just lost the NHRA world title to Garlits, came up short once again against Herbert in the first round of eliminations: 6.34 to Gary's 6.44.
Photography by Gale Jones


Another of Herbert's victims at the Governor's Cup was Shorty Leventon; Jim made it all the way to the final, but lost to his usual nemesis, James Warren (6.14 to 6.74)
Photography by Gale Jones


Match racing was very lucrative in the 1970s and a way for many racers to finance their operation. Here Jim in his top fuel car vs. Ed McCullouch's funny car showdown at Fremont Raceway. In these match ups the funny car usually got a .020 head start.
Ron Burch Drag Photos


Jim did a lot of match racing whether at Sacramento Raceway or Fremont Raceway; challenging Jim Dunn at the "Lions of the North".


Owner/ Starter Dave Smith ready to launch a Snake vs. Lizard confrontation at his track.


OCIR's PDA Meet in 1975; then, the top fuel dragsters had a totally different idle system for the injectors. This is a typical stage shot; pedal clutch; and rpms UP for the launch. Exactly what the cackle cars do today.


Candid shot of Jim Herbert in 1975.


Indy 1975; R-H squeezed into the field #32 with a 6.18.
Les Welch Photography


Indy 1975 vs. Tom Toler in Dick Stahl's top fuel dragster; Jim upset Tom with a 6.15-241.93 to 6.20-236. In round #2 against Ted Wolf, Jim went red, but still ran a 6.10-242.
Barry Wiggins Photography




Part 6 : 1976-1978


Other than a few rides now and then, Jim was more of a businessman than a drag racer during 1976 and most of 1977. Then, at the 1977 Governor's Cup, he hopped back in the seat to assist Ed Wilson (Battleborn) who needed a driver for one race. Despite blowing the engine, this experience rekindled his interest in the sport and he began planning the assembly of a new top fuel dragster.

Later, he would tell Steve Connell, a staff writer for The Sacramento Bee, "Once it's in your blood, it's awful hard to kick. It's very expensive and relatively dangerous, but I don't know of anything that's more personally satisfying." By February 1978, and at the cost of about $50,000.00, Jim had a new 247 inch Don Long car with a 417 cid Donovan engine ready to race.

Teamed with horsepower guru John Garrison and with additional support from Ed Donovan, the new rail debuted at the NHRA Winternationals. "It was a great race car, but it always had so much new stuff on it, we never did any good at all." This was in reference to the fact that the car actually doubled as Donovan's on track laboratory for new ideas and experimental engine components. But, it was a concession Jim had to make if he wanted to continue racing top fuel dragsters.

Chris Raynor adds, "I don't know so much that it was a concession. It was a lot more than that. Yes, it was a deal! However, he was kind of a factory based car, and with that goes a lot of first hand expertise from Ed, and kind of being higher up on the priority ladder when it came to getting parts, etc. Being a sponsored car like he was, back in those days was a big deal, and running out of Ed's shop had some prestige and clout to go along with it. It was my sense that this was a way for him to get to the next level in the sport. However, with experimentation comes risk."

Keeping the tune up manageable and parts in the engine was the first and foremost consideration for Herbert. When discussing what it would take to run one of those sub-six second elapsed times, Jim told Jerry Eagen of The Sacramento Union, "It's too expensive to go after times like that anymore. To do it you have to risk the entire car. It's kind of like pulling a pin on a hand grenade and hoping it won't go off in your hand. You could conceivably ruin an entire car and not even finish the race."


Friend and racing rival Gary Ormsby. Herbert's name was on this car for a short time, maybe just one race, the 1977 March Meet.


Jim Herbert's Performance World also sponsored many a local circle-burner dirt track racers.



Mark Clayton on local circle tracks: "Their were numerous dirt tracks operating in the central valley and foothills at that time. The most local and historically popular was West Capital Raceway, located West Capital Avenue in West Sacramento, California. It was a quarter mile clay oval with some of the best clay in the west. It was somewhat close to the Sacramento River, and the underground water table helped make the consistency of the clay nice and sticky. We sponsored a load of cars that raced around the circle tracks and West Capital Raceway, i.e the late Gary Patterson, Billy Garcia, Rendy Boldrini, Brian Crockett, Rick Hurst, Jimmy Seals, Tim Green, ect, etc., etc.

West Capital raceway featured numerous vehicles that raced their. Jim and Gary Ormsby were never during this period of time actual competitive circle track racers. However, they did I believe in 1976 or 1977 race in a celebrities race at West Capital. Jim Herbert's Performance World catered to a wide variety of circle track customers, to include those in Australia, Washington, Hawaii, and all of the United States. It was a thriving part of Jim's business and he did well as it."

(Mark Clayton worked at Jim Herbert's Performance World during the 1970s; he still drag races today with a B/ND. Here is his recollection of those exciting times at the drag strip and Jim Herbert's Performance World).



Garrison-Raynor-Herbert rolling laboratory at the Bakersfield March Meet, 1978. Some of the experimental parts were cylinder heads with different plug location, and Donovan Magneseum fuel injectors. This was a beautiful car with its black paint and gold stripes. What most people don't know about this car, is that the paint scheme has it roots in formula 1. During the era of the 1970's their was a popular Lotus formula 1 team called "The Johnny Player Special", which was driven by Mario Andretti at the time. Chris and Jim really liked their color combination on their cars which was always black with gold stripes. Thus, they set out to use some of Johnny Player team Lotus color cues to define their new look for the Garrison, Raynor and Herbert car.

Jim raced the Garrison-Raynor-Herbert top fuel dragster through the end of the 1978 season after which he hired on to drive Ed Wilson's Battle Born entry from Reno, Nevada. After three years in the seat he turned the driving reins over to his buddy Gary Ormsby, but did stay on to help with the tune up. Jim would not return to the drag strip for several years, but like he said, "Once it's in your blood, it's a germ that simply won't go away." By 1987, Jim was itching to get back into racing, and the only kind of race car that piqued his interest was the top fuel dragster.


Ed Wilson campaigned a series of Battle Born top fuel dragsters; the one Jim drove at the 1979 March Meet was an Attebury car powered by the late model Keith Black hemi engine.


This shot was taken in the parking lot of Jim Herbert's Performance World at 1717 Bell.


Jim Herbert's Performance World official T-Shirt as seen on Mark Clayton in 1978.


The last known Jim Herbert's Performance World Jacket that exists. It is Mark Clayton's, and was the orignal series jacket Issued by Jim in 1976. It was a red quilt stiched, with white stripes running down the sleeves Parnelli Jones Firestone Jacket. Which featured a PJ Firestone patch on the front of it. As you can see it had the name of the shop embroderied on the back. It could be ordered with a matching red down vest that many wore over the top of it when it was cold. It was exclusively issued to Jim Herbert's Performance World staff, Raynor and Herbert Performance World Top Fuel, Gary Ormsby, and a few folks that particiapated on a local bracket racing team we sponsored at the time.

Their was a second series of Jackets issued for 1978, they were blue Simpson down jackets, with orange and gold stripes on the sleeves, and had gold embroidery on the back.




Final Chapter


The best way to relieve a bad itch is to scratch it and Jim did this by going to the races at Sacramento and Fremont. He knew that racing a contemporary top fuel dragster was out of the question, so he searched around for another way to get back into nitro racing. His good friend, Ted Taylor, had formed a team with Ron Welty and Steve Wiles (the original WW2 members) who were racing an injected nitro-burning Chrysler dragster. It did not take much to get Jim involved, and in no time the WW2 Racing Team (Wiles, Welty, and Two Other Dummies) was complete. The first order of business was to put a supercharger beneath the injectors. It was soon apparent that the short wheel-based Shoemaker car could not handle all the horsepower, so they ordered a 225 inch Rob Stirling chassis. Throughout the 1990s, the nostalgia style of drag racing organized and operated under the Goodguys umbrella, gained in popularity with fans and racers alike. During this time, WW2 Racing was the undisputed performance king of the top fuel dragster class. With Ted Taylor, and later, Jim Murphy driving, they would become the first nostalgia top fuel dragster to go 6.00, break 250 mph, and the second car to crack the 6-second barrier. More importantly, they would go on to win consecutive Goodguys VRA top fuel championships in 1997 and 1998. (see below)



The original WW2 dragster of Wiles-Welty before the supercharger was added; John Shoemaker chassis.


Jim Murphy took over for Ted Taylor in late 1996.


Salt Lake City in 1998 for a match race against Jack Harris.





Bakersfield March Meet 1998; the starter is none other than Larry Sutton.


Bakersfield March Meet 1998: victory for WW2 Racing. See if you can find Ted Taylor, Ron Rapadas, Jim and Cheri Herbert, and Jim and Judy Murphy (look hard).


Ten days before the 1999 March Meet, Jim, while at home in Roseville, suffered a rupture in an aortic aneurysm which caused massive hemorrhaging killing him almost immediately. Understandably, the team was totally devastated, but with encouragement from Cheri Herbert, the grief-stricken team soldiered on and towed the dragster down to Bakersfield. After a discouraging start to the event where they barely made the show qualifying in the last position, WW2 Racing came back on Sunday to wallop the competition.

With Jim Murphy at the wheel, WW2 Racing beat Gerry Steiner, Denver Schutz, and Bill Alexander to win the 40th Annual March Meet. Murphy, speaking of the struggle to qualify said, "Jim was so good at dialing (the car) in, and we really missed him." Then adding, "We would have run quicker if Jim was here, but I think he'd be proud we didn't beat ourselves." There wasn't a dry eye around when the Jim Herbert Memorial Trophy was presented to Murphy and the WW2 team. "You couldn't have scripted this any better," said Murphy. "I think we had the Lord riding on one shoulder and Jim on the other." Today, WW2 Racing continues to flourish under the ownership of Jim Murphy.


Bakersfield March Meet 1999; the only year the car sported the black brown red white paint scheme.


Jim Murphy - "WW II" - AA/FD - March Meet, 1999 Final Round. Jim sat like this for a minute... reflecting on the moment. One can only imagine the emotions he was feeling.


The crew at the top end - more deep emotions.


"This one's for you, Jim" - Winners Circle - March Meet, 1999
This shot sums up the weekend. In one of the most emotional moments in drag racing history, the entire WWII team salutes their fallen leader, Jim Herbert.



James Edward Herbert


The Jim Herbert Story - Part 1




Members Site Map  ||  Visitors Site Map


Site Copyright © 1998-2017. All Rights Reserved.