Charlotte: Jerry Toliver Saturday notes

TOLIVER MISSES THE FIELD AT THE INAUGURAL CAROLINAS NATIONALS CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 13, 2008) -- Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver Jerry Toliver is more than impressed with zMaz Dragway @ Concord, the spectacular new...

TOLIVER MISSES THE FIELD AT THE INAUGURAL CAROLINAS NATIONALS

CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 13, 2008) -- Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver Jerry Toliver is more than impressed with zMaz Dragway @ Concord, the spectacular new facility north of Charlotte, N.C. But his joy over competing at one of the finest drag strips ever built turned to disappointment today after he was unable to qualify for the Inaugural NHRA Carolinas Nationals.

Toliver and 21 other excellent Funny Car drivers attempted to make it into the 16-car field. After losing traction in the first session (6.313/94.74), his quickest pass of 4.180 seconds at 297.35 mph on Friday evening wasn't good enough to earn him a spot, and as track and air conditions heated up, it became even more difficult. His final two passes today produced a 4.240/295.66 and a tire-smoking 6.372/105.39.

"I feel really bad for the Rockstar guys and I'm extremely frustrated," said Toliver, who entered the event No. 15 in the points. "We're just struggling. We tested in between races and changed the whole setup on the Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge Charger, but we got behind in qualifying on that first lap on Friday and that hurt us. We ran OK with that 4.18, but if we would have run that on our first attempt we could have improved on that last night and that could have gotten us in the show.

"The conditions just weren't there today. We got behind the 8-ball and we just could never get back in front of it. The competition in Funny Car is incredible and it's very close. But the race track just wasn't there for us today for qualifying. It was extremely hot and we just couldn't run well enough to get in the show."

Despite not making the show, Toliver was awed by his first visit to zMax Dragway. "It's a great facility, it's fantastic," he said. "I don't like it very much right now. But Bruton Smith has built a beautiful track, it's a gorgeous facility, and I wish we could be racing here tomorrow."

The next race for Toliver and the Rockstar Energy Drink team will be the NHRA Fall Nationals in Dallas, Texas, Sept. 19-21.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jerry Toliver