Topeka: Jerry Toliver preview

Toliver Confident ROCKSTAR Energy Drink Toyota Will Be Competitive at Summer Nationals Jerry Toliver has had enough of this waiting to go racing stuff. Hey, he waited more than two years between racing seasons, so it's no surprise he's more...

Toliver Confident ROCKSTAR Energy Drink Toyota Will Be Competitive at Summer Nationals

Jerry Toliver has  had enough of this waiting to go racing stuff. Hey, he
waited more than two  years between racing seasons, so it's no surprise he's
more than ready to head  to the track after three-plus weeks of idle time.

"As always, we are excited and have high hopes going to the race," said Toliver, driver of the ROCKSTAR Energy Drink Toyota Solara. His destination is Heartland Park Topeka, site of the O'Reilly Summer Nationals, Friday through Sunday.

In his last appearance (St. Louis, May 6), Toliver qualified for his first race of the season and was disappointed with his first-round loss. "I think the car has shown some progress," he said. "Unfortunately we weren't able to go down the race track that Sunday morning. We are anxious to see if the changes we made on the car then are going to work in Topeka. If they do, we are certainly on the right track.

"The car does seem to be responding to everything we are doing, and that's very encouraging."

Toliver joined the tour fives races into the campaign after finalizing his new sponsorship, returning not only with high hopes, but with tuning legend Dale Armstrong in tow.

"The car's performance has come around very quickly . . . it's been great," said Toliver, of Temecula, Calif. "Hopefully that trend continues. Funny Car is as tough as it has ever been. It's a feat just to qualify. All the qualifiers are tough now. Winning is not an easy task."

He qualified 14th at St. Louis but the car had throttle-linkage problems in the opening round against Ashley Force and Toliver's Solara just coasted down the track.

The ROCKSTAR Energy Drink team won't have to wait long between events this time. The series moves to Joliet, Ill., June 8-10, and has one weekend off. Action resumes with six straight races -- at Englishtown, N.J., Norwalk, Ohio, Bristol, Tenn., Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif.

"Eight races in nine weeks could help us," Toliver said. "Having the late start makes it hard on us to catch up with the pack. If we get on a roll and things go our way, we can make up some lost ground (in the standings). We' re ready for it."

-credit: jtr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Ashley Force , Jerry Toliver