Phoenix: Jerry Toliver Saturday notes

TOLIVER QUALIFIES NO. 13 ON FINAL ATTEMPT IN PHOENIX PHOENIX, Ariz. (Feb. 23, 2008)- Jerry Toliver used his final run on Saturday to qualify the Don Schumacher Racing Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car in No. 13 for the NHRA ...

TOLIVER QUALIFIES NO. 13 ON FINAL ATTEMPT IN PHOENIX

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Feb. 23, 2008)- Jerry Toliver used his final run on Saturday to qualify the Don Schumacher Racing Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car in No. 13 for the NHRA Nationals at Firebird Raceway.

Toliver had just two chances to qualify for eliminations after rain washed out Friday's pro qualifying rounds. After a tire-smoking opening run of 10.909 seconds at 76.66 mph, which placed him on the DQ list, the California native was down to a single pressure-filled run to qualify for the 16-car field. Crew chief Phil Shuler and the Rockstar Energy Drink team responded with an elapsed time of 4.865-seconds at 286.07 mph to move Toliver from No. 21 into No. 13 for Sunday's eliminations.

"It's an enormous amount of pressure because there's no room for error," said Toliver. "On the first lap the car shook, so we were down to one qualifying session. And in these things anything can happen. It puts a tremendous amount of stress on the crew and me and it's a difficult thing. The worst thing in the world is to not qualify, so it makes it much harder than if you have four laps and a chance to correct things.

"We went out there and shook the first round and the guys had to get through that. They had to slow things down and they did a great job. I can't say enough about this crew. Phil Shuler, Scott Okuhara and all these guys are absolutely fantastic and they do a great job and I have a tremendous respect for all of them. They dig down deep and they're good."

Toliver wasn't even sure his final run was good enough to qualify for the 16-car field. "It's funny when you drive one of these cars," he said. "You never know what the hell you've done. Sometimes you feel like you've made a great pass and it's a 4.99 and other times you think it was a slow pass and you run a 4.70. It's hard to judge because you're so busy in there and you're focused on getting the thing down the middle of the race track. I can never predict or guess my elapsed times when I get out of the car. I have to go ask somebody because it's pretty hard to know that. When you have a great pass that's right down the center it's good, but usually I've got to get out and ask someone."

Toliver will face Tommy Johnson Jr. during round one of eliminations.

"Any day you make the show is a good day," Toliver concluded. "There are 21 good cars out here and just to be in the show tomorrow is a big deal. Anything can happen on race day. It's anybody's game tomorrow."

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jerry Toliver , Don Schumacher , Tommy Johnson Jr.