Topeka: Jerry Toliver final report

Toliver Optimistic Despite First-Round Loss at Topeka TOPEKA, Kan., May 31, 2009 - A new clutch system on his CANIDAE/Lucas Oil Funny Car leaves driver Jerry Toliver quite optimistic despite a first-round loss today at the O'Reilly NHRA Summer...

Toliver Optimistic Despite First-Round Loss at Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan., May 31, 2009 - A new clutch system on his CANIDAE/Lucas Oil Funny Car leaves driver Jerry Toliver quite optimistic despite a first-round loss today at the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.

Toliver in the CANIDAE/Lucas Oil Chevy got off the starting line first against his first-round foe, John Force, but the No. 2 qualifier used the quickest elapsed time of the round to run Toliver down and turn on the win light. Force had an elapsed time of 4.232 seconds at 290.94 mph to defeat the Jim Dunn Racing entry's 4.393 e.t. at 256.11 mph.

"I almost messed up there in the first round," Toliver said. "On the burnout I pulled on the brakes and the car just kept rolling almost to 330 (feet). I thought the brakes were no good and when I went to stage the thing, the car just kept rolling in the beam and I ended up deep staging. I didn't mean to. I told Force afterwards that I didn't mean to do that. I thought I was going to roll right through the beams."

Toliver's elapsed time in today's first round of eliminations was his quickest of the weekend and gives him great confidence that the new clutch system employed for the first time this weekend has the CANIDAE car heading in the right direction.

"It's actually been a good weekend," Toliver said. "Like I said, we're really focused on this new clutch program. We already see a lot of improvement and the car's responding. We didn't drop any holes today on our first-round run, so the problems we've been having are starting to come around. I think Jim's (Dunn) happy we didn't hurt anything, and the guys have really stepped up. Now it's just a matter of getting a handle on the deal. It's coming around."

Next stop on the 24-race NHRA Full Throttle Drag Series is the 12th annual United Association Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., from June 4-7.

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-credit: jtr

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Jerry Toliver