Jeffrey Carver Jr. has long been a fast qualifier and the 22-year-old rider from Godfrey, Illinois, proved it once again Thursday afternoon on the Daytona Short Track. Carver raced his Mack Daddy Racing Honda to a time of 17.164 seconds to top timed qualifying in the first of the Daytona Short Track doubleheaders.
As is usually the case at Daytona, it was an amazingly close timed session, with 41 of the 42 riders qualifying in the 17-second bracket and the top five separated by just a tenth of a second. A simple blip of the throttle at the wrong time could cost a rider five or six positions.
Carver nipped fellow Illinois rider Robert Pearson, who clocked a 17.185 on his Weirbach Racing Honda. Jake Johnson (17.219), Jared Mees (17.265) and Brandon Robinson (17.287) rounded out the top five in the session.
Eight of the top ten bikes were Honda’s with the Kawasakis of Robinson and Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. breaking the stranglehold by Big Red.
Carver was pumped with his result.
“It feels great, I feel right at home here,” said Carver, who is a former Pro Singles winner at Daytona. “George Mack hooked me up with some Hondas. These are really great motorcycles, they’re flawless. We just made a little tweak in the bike for the second session and that was just for personal preference. Everybody else went slower and my time picked up.”
Carver has been a top qualifier before, but in the past has had some trouble carrying that momentum to the evening program, yet he feels secure about his chances tonight.
“I ran that time comfortably,” he said. “I feel very calm and confident that we’re going to keep things going into the evening program.”
Carver’s previous best finish at Daytona in the expert main was ninth in 2011.
Michael Inderbitzin topped the Pro Singles qualifying with a time of 17.308 on his Southland Racing Honda. That would have placed him sixth among the experts. Jason Isennock and Brandon Wilhelm rounded out the top three in Pro Singles.
Racing gets underway tonight with the opening ceremonies at 7:30 pm.