Las Vegas: Jerry Toliver preview

TOLIVER CELEBRATES ONE YEAR WITH ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK IN LAS VEGAS TEMECULA, Calif. (April 7, 2008) -- It's been one year since Jerry Toliver introduced Rockstar Energy Drink as a major sponsor in the Funny Car class of the NHRA POWERade Drag...

TOLIVER CELEBRATES ONE YEAR WITH ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK IN LAS VEGAS

TEMECULA, Calif. (April 7, 2008) -- It's been one year since Jerry Toliver introduced Rockstar Energy Drink as a major sponsor in the Funny Car class of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. He hopes to celebrate the anniversary with a victory driving the Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge Charger R/T at this weekend's NHRA Nationals at The Strip Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the fifth stop on the 24-race 2008 tour.

Much has changed for Toliver in the past year. He joined the Don Schumacher Racing team prior to the 2008 season, which he believed was a solid step towards providing this new sponsor a larger footprint in the NHRA by also becoming an associate sponsor on all of DSR's race cars. He also started the year with a new crew, a new car and a new crew chief.

Toliver, who has run well but has yet to win a round of competition during the first four national events of 2008, stayed at Houston Raceway Park on Monday after the recent Spring Nationals for a test session in the Murf McKinney chassis.

"We ran a couple of laps on Monday and it went very well," said Toliver, who is 15th in the point standings. "The track was so much better on Sunday than it was during qualifying and we got after it a little bit, but it was just too much. We wanted to find out why we spun the tires in the first round of eliminations and we calmed the car down during testing and everything was fine.

"I was really frustrated after losing the opening round in Houston. I thought for sure we would go some rounds there. The bottom line is that it's extremely early in the season and we're one good race out of being right in the middle of the top 10. We're starting to get a handle on this new car and it's just a matter of adjusting and getting it right.

"This is a very difficult sport and there are a lot of teams in the same situation. We're all trying to get our tune-up figured out. The new cars are heavier (100 pounds added to the Funny Cars in 2008 by NHRA) and it's harder to make them move quickly and everyone is learning."

Toliver holds the unique honor of having owned the Funny Car driven by Jim Epler that won the inaugural event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2000. Despite failing to qualifying in his return to the quarter-mile at this event in 2007 after a two-year hiatus, Toliver is excited about returning this season.

"Like I've said before, the Rockstar Energy Drink team is fine," he said. "One good race and we're right back in the middle of it, so I'm looking for good things in Las Vegas. I try to look at the big picture. We've got all the resources in the world and we've got a great sponsor with Rockstar Energy Drink and a great group of guys working on the car. Phil Shuler (crew chief) will get this car figured out and we'll start winning some rounds. I'm very comfortable in the car now and I'm anticipating good things to come.

"The Strip at Las Vegas is a great race track and a first-class facility and I'm looking for big things there. It's always fun going to Vegas."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Epler , Jerry Toliver