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Topeka: Jerry Toliver preview

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Topeka: Jerry Toliver preview
May 27, 2004, 11:09 PM

Toliver, Schick Quattro/'Speed Racer' Test Well for Summer Nationals Good Results Boost Toyota Celica Team's Confidence Going into Topeka Race TOPEKA, Kansas, May 26, 2004 - Jerry Toliver and the Schick Quattro/"Speed Racer" Toyota Celica Funny ...

Toliver, Schick Quattro/'Speed Racer' Test Well for Summer Nationals
Good Results Boost Toyota Celica Team's Confidence Going into Topeka Race

TOPEKA, Kansas, May 26, 2004 - Jerry Toliver and the Schick Quattro/"Speed Racer" Toyota Celica Funny Car team found something to turn their frowns upside down this week - three good test runs at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill.

Unhappy with the car's recent performances, Toliver and crew chief Keith Adams opted to make several runs Monday before packing up and heading for Topeka and the O'Reilly Summer Nationals, May 28-30, at Heartland Park.

"It was important for us to test," said Toliver. "We've been in a rut lately and needed to get things turned around. The car ran really good Monday and we were all happy."

This new team began the season with an opening race victory at Pomona, Calif., and the Temecula, Calif. driver reached the finals four races ago at Houston. One round win in the next three outings precipitated the extra track time.

"We just need to make laps," added Toliver, who is 10th in POWERade Series points with 390 but within striking distance of fourth place. "We are still learning. We need to win rounds on race day so we can pick up points on the guys in front of us."

Ninety points separate Toliver from fourth-place Tim Wilkerson as the series comes to Kansas. This is one of the closest Funny Car championship chases in recent years. There have been six different winners in eight races. John Force and Del Worsham are the only drivers to visit the winner's circle twice thus far.

Toliver has been a semifinalist once (2000) in his three previous visits to Heartland Park. He won three races in seven final rounds that year and was third overall, his best Funny Car finish.

This is the busiest part of the season's first half. The Summer Nationals event is the third in three weeks and is part of the schedule's six races in seven weeks. Following a weekend off (June 5-6) are successive stops at Columbus, Ohio (June 11-13), Englishtown, N.J. (June 18-20) and St. Louis, July 25-27).

Lions Gate Entertainment recently released the "Speed Racer" Collector's Edition V2 DVD, featuring original episodes 12-23 of the classic. "Speed" races around the globe and defeats colorful villains, including Dr. Nightcall, Mr. Cumulus and the infamous "Racer X."

Toliver and crew plan to implement the knowledge gleaned from Monday's testing in Summer Nationals qualifying Friday at 5 and 8 p.m., again Saturday at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m., and during Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations.

-jtr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Del Worsham , John Force , Tim Wilkerson , Jerry Toliver