Toliver prepared for a Rockstar performance in Atlanta TEMECULA, Calif. (April 21, 2008) -- The 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season holds plenty of promise for veteran Funny Car driver Jerry Toliver, the newest member of Don Schumacher...
Toliver prepared for a Rockstar performance in Atlanta
TEMECULA, Calif. (April 21, 2008) -- The 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season holds plenty of promise for veteran Funny Car driver Jerry Toliver, the newest member of Don Schumacher Racing's four-Funny Car stable. Although Toliver and crew chief Phil Shuler have yet to reach their performance potential with the Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge Charger R/T this season, they are confident that they're close to a solution.
Toliver is hoping to turn his season around with a strong performance at this weekend's NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, the sixth stop on the 24-race NHRA schedule and the second race of the year on the East Coast. Toliver is eager to rebound from his first DNQ (Did Not Qualify) of the season at the recent race in Las Vegas.
"The Rockstar Energy Drink team is a lot better than we look on paper," said Toliver, who currently sits 18th in the POWERade point standings. "We're just one run away from doing well. Things could easily have been different in every race we've been in this season. You need to have a little racing luck, too."
A perfect example of the kind of luck Toliver and the team have endured this season began at the season-opening Winternationals in Pomona. Toliver set low elapsed time of the event for Funny Cars with a blistering 4.79-second run during the final round of qualifying, but lost out on earning the No.1 slot due to a slower speed. That's the kind of year it's been.
"We have a good car and a great crew," said Toliver. "They're not afraid to work and they'll do whatever it takes to get this thing right. This is where a good team really digs down deep and says 'we know we're better than this and we can't get down on ourselves. We can't beat ourselves up and we can't beat up each other. It is just a matter of getting our heads together and getting through this deal,' and I'm confident it will happen."
Toliver notched the second No. 1 qualifying effort of his Funny Car career at the Southern Nationals in 2001. He failed to qualify at last year's race by a mere .900 of a second in just his second race since his return to a Funny Car cockpit after a two-year hiatus.
"Hopefully Atlanta will be good to us, it's a great facility and it's the home of our series sponsor, so we're looking forward to putting on a good show for them. I can't wait to get back there," said Toliver. "NHRA fans are great everywhere we go and the Rockstar Energy Drink car is extremely popular. All we need is a little racer's luck and the Rockstar car will be off and running.
"Funny Car is extremely competitive now. You've got 20 to 21 cars at each race that are all capable of knocking each other out. That's great racing and it's good for the fans and that keeps you on your toes. No one is going to run away with this thing, that's for sure. There's plenty of time to get this thing turned around and get back on track to go after the championship.
"One good race and we're right back in the middle (of the point chase)," concluded Toliver. "A couple of good races and we're right at the top."