Englishtown: Jerry Toliver preview

TOLIVER READY TO ROCK BACK INTO THE RHYTHM IN ENGLISHTOWN TEMECULA, Calif. (June 17, 2008) -- Jerry Toliver, driver of the Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, will try to build on some of the momentum that's emerged from his ...

TOLIVER READY TO ROCK BACK INTO THE RHYTHM IN ENGLISHTOWN

TEMECULA, Calif. (June 17, 2008) -- Jerry Toliver, driver of the Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, will try to build on some of the momentum that's emerged from his performances over the past several races at this weekend's NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J.

After setting low elapsed time for the class in qualifying for the season-opener in Pomona, Calif., with a 4.79-second pass (good for only No. 2 because of speed), Toliver and the Rockstar Energy Drink team couldn't catch a break.

Toliver and crew chief Phil Shuler debuted the new, heavier Murf McKinney chassis (mandatory by the NHRA for the Denver event next month) in March at the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. A pair of frame-bending wheelstands followed several races later in Bristol, Tenn., and the car was sent back to McKinney's shop for repairs.

The team's fortunes seemed to turn around in Topeka, Kan. Following a fire resulting from an engine explosion during the first round of qualifying, Toliver made his quickest run of the weekend to earn the sixth spot, qualifying in the top half of the 16-car field for the second time this season. In eliminations, he won his first round of the year en route to a quarterfinal finish.

Then, in Joliet, Ill., Toliver recorded his quickest and fastest run of the season with a 4.783/325.77 to qualify No. 7 in the quick half of the field for the second consecutive race and third time in 2008. Despite losing the opening round, Toliver's 2008 fortunes are heading once again towards a spot in the top 10 for the Countdown to the Championship, which begins after the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day.

"The Rockstar Energy Drink car is coming around," said Toliver, who is No. 16 in Funny Car points, "but we need to figure out why the car wants to keep pulling wheelstands. The good thing is that we moved up a spot on the ladder for the U.S. Smokeless Showdown (a $100,000 bonus race at the U.S. Nationals for the eight Funny Car drivers who earned the most points during qualifying over the prior 23 events). We also moved up to within 84 points of the top 10. We keep chipping away a little bit, but we need to go a couple rounds at each race so we're assured we're going to get into that top 10.

"That's the whole deal for me right now for me: focusing on getting the Rockstar Energy Drink car in the top 10 and running good in time for the Countdown to the Championship. We've got to go rounds to achieve that, bottom line. One race doesn't make you or break you. We're not out of the game by any means.

"I love going to Englishtown," added a perpetually upbeat Toliver. "It's a great track and very fast. We should be able to haul the mail there. It's one of our oldest facilities in the sport so it holds a lot great of drag-racing memories."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jerry Toliver