TOLIVER REMAINS DETERMINED GOING INTO READING TEMECULA, Calif. (Aug. 13, 2008) -- Jerry Toliver's hopes of qualifying for the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Countdown to 1 playoffs with only two races remaining to make it into the top 10 may...
TOLIVER REMAINS DETERMINED GOING INTO READING
TEMECULA, Calif. (Aug. 13, 2008) -- Jerry Toliver's hopes of qualifying for the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Countdown to 1 playoffs with only two races remaining to make it into the top 10 may be all but over, but his determination to put the Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car into the winner's circle for Don Schumacher Racing remains strong.
Toliver, 15th in the rankings, is gunning for his first career victory at Maple Grove Raceway this weekend at the 24th annual NHRA Nationals, but, more important, he's seeking to remain qualified for the $100,000 Showdown bonus event held at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis Labor Day weekend, for which he is currently qualified No. 7.
Only the top eight qualified Funny Cars from the previous 23 national events get a shot at the big money in the Showdown. Toliver has qualified in the top half of the 16-car field at the previous three races and he knows he'll need another strong qualifying effort this weekend to secure a shot at the prestige and cash that goes with winning the bonus event.
"We've been in the top half of the ladder the last couple of races and our qualifying has been getting better and that's always a plus," said Toliver, who made it into the Showdown once in 2000.
"We're still fighting for the top 10. We're still not mathematically out, but, unless we win the next two races and some other guys fall out, it's next to impossible. It's disappointing because it's a long shot right now." Toliver is 186 points out of 10th place.
"All we have to do to hang onto a Showdown berth is qualify in the top half of the field in Reading, and that's a big deal. It's good for the guys on the team. They've had a rough year and we'd love to get in the Showdown, be able to go some rounds and win that thing and do well at Indy and make up for some of the stuff we've missed out on this year.
"It's been extremely tough on the Rockstar Energy Drink guys, but they're holding their heads high and they're not giving up. I'd love to win one for them and for DSR and give something back to the team.
"Maple Grove can be a very, very fast race track and the conditions should be good. If that's the case, we should see some good numbers. We get that East Coast crowd and they're terrific fans," added the California native. "The track has been there for a long time and I look forward to it. We'll do the best we can."