Toliver qualifies in top half of field for second consecutive race
Chicago, Saturday: Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver Jerry Toliver made his quickest run of the season to qualify No. 7 at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals. It marked the third time this season that Toliver has qualified in the top half of the field (Pomona, Topeka and Chicago).
Toliver recorded an elapsed time of 4.783 seconds at 325.77 mph to grab the No. 3 position following the second qualifying session. The Rockstar Energy Drink driver also recorded times of 4.908/314.53 and a tire-shaking 9.352/85.36 before rain halted the final qualifying session. After a three-hour delay qualifying resumed and Toliver returned for his final attempt, running a wheel-standing 6.492/136.41 to end up No. 7.
"We made a good solid pass on our first lap with a 4.90 and that set us up to come back for the evening session and really get after it," said Toliver. "Phil Shuler (crew chief) really dialed her in and we ran a 4.78 and that was an extremely good lap.
"The Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge really moved over when I got past the grand stands. The wind moved me toward the centerline but luckily it held on and didn't spin the tires and it marched right down the track.
"We're looking good going into race day. We're No. 7 and the Rockstar Energy Drink car is in the top half of the field and running well, so I feel like it's going to be a day good tomorrow.
"This car has gone down the race track on almost ever run the last two races and that's big," Toliver added. "When the car goes down the race track then Phil is able to get after it and tune it up. The Rockstar boys never gave up and they dug down deep and we're looking forward to race day tomorrow.
"There's no one single thing that we just all of a sudden discovered was wrong with this car," said Toliver as he explained the teamís turnaround in performance. "It's a multitude of things. We just keep chipping away at it and making more and more laps until we get the combination right and then we can start speeding things up. It's a work in progress and you'll never be done with it until you park it. The guys have worked hard and they've kept their heads held high and I think we're on to something here."
Toliver will face No. 10 qualifier Tony Pedregon in round one of Sunday's eliminations.
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