Baytown: Jerry Toliver preview

Toliver Wants Team's Performance to Bloom at Spring Nationals Inconsistent Races Add Up to 10th Place in Funny Car Points BAYTOWN, Texas, April 12, 2004 - It's not quite time for an official first-quarter report, but Jerry Toliver does have a ...

Toliver Wants Team's Performance to Bloom at Spring Nationals
Inconsistent Races Add Up to 10th Place in Funny Car Points

BAYTOWN, Texas, April 12, 2004 - It's not quite time for an official first-quarter report, but Jerry Toliver does have a perspective on the status of his Schick Quattro Toyota Celica Funny Car team after four of 23 POWERade Series races.

"So far," says Toliver, "we've had no happy medium when it comes to performance. We've either been up or we've been down. Probably the best way to sum it up is that we haven't found the consistency we need to be competitive in this very competitive category."

A quick look at the Temecula, Calif. driver's 2004 results corroborates his comments as the team prepares for its next race, the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park, April 16-18.

Toliver has one victory (at the season-opening Winternationals at Pomona, Calif.), one did not qualify (at Phoenix one week after his win), one quarterfinal finish (at Gainesville, Fla.), and one first-round exit (at Las Vegas eight days ago).

It all adds up to 196 points and 10th place in points for Toliver. But he isn't the only driver a bit disappointed with his early showing. The fact he's a mere three rounds behind second place John Force (260 points) emphasizes the topsy-turvy nature of today's Funny Car category. Current pace-setter Del Worsham won two straight races and has 331 points.

"We are about where I expected to be in the standings," added Toliver, "but our qualifying was sub-par until the Las Vegas race. We were 15th at Pomona, 14th at Gainesville and sixth at Las Vegas. Not qualifying at Phoenix was unacceptable, as far as I'm concerned.

"I believe this team has great potential," he continued. "I think we should qualify at every race the rest of the way and go to at least the second round each time. Our win was wonderful. It wasn't expected. Now we'd like to come up with a few more.

"This team started to jell very well, but we need to get a handle on things pretty quickly."

There have been enough positives thrown Toliver's way to convince him that this team should be among the frontrunners. His 4.738-second, 328.22-mph semifinal run at Pomona is the quickest and fastest in Funny Car this year.

His team showed resiliency in Vegas when a starting-line problem forced Toliver to abort the first of his only two qualifying runs. He came back and ran 4.810 at 320.89 to claim the No. 6 starting spot a few hours later.

Toliver also saw his two-race win streak over newcomer Eric Medlen end. Toliver and Medlen have run each other in the first round in all three of Toliver's 2004 starts.

Toliver, runner-up at Houston Raceway Park in 2000, would like to see his team's performance expectations bloom in the Spring Nationals. He'll begin working toward that goal during qualifying - Friday at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at noon and 3 p.m. Sunday's eliminations get underway at 11 a.m.

-jtr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Del Worsham , John Force , Jerry Toliver , Eric Medlen