Brainerd: Jerry Toliver preview

Encouraged by Sonoma Results, Toliver Excited about BIR Race Schick Quattro/'Open Water' Toyota Didn't Shake at Last Event BRAINERD, Minn., August 10, 2004 - Its true Jerry Toliver hasn't made the progress he wanted in the 2004 NHRA POWERade ...

Encouraged by Sonoma Results, Toliver Excited about BIR Race
Schick Quattro/'Open Water' Toyota Didn't Shake at Last Event

BRAINERD, Minn., August 10, 2004 - Its true Jerry Toliver hasn't made the progress he wanted in the 2004 NHRA POWERade Series.

It can't be said, however, that he was "spinning his wheels" for the first 15 races. Shaking them - and his Schick Quattro/Open Water Toyota Celica Funny Car at the same time - would be correct, however. There's nothing like a hard shake to impede a car's progress on a quarter-mile run.

Toliver and his team believe they've solved that problem. There was no shake at the hit of the throttle at Sonoma, Calif., 10 days ago, bringing a smile to crew chief Richard Hogan's face. Now Hogan can turn his attention to Brainerd International Raceway, site of the Lucas Oil Nationals, Friday through Sunday.

"We are excited to go to Brainerd," said Toliver, "because we have a race car again. We're getting closer to figuring out this whole thing. The car didn't shake early in the runs at Sonoma like it had this year. That was a relief."

Toliver was leading Tim Wilkerson in the opening round at Sonoma when the tires spun suddenly and the car moved around, forcing him to lift and giving the win to Wilkerson.

"There was no warning, it just spun the tires, hard," recalled Toliver. "There might've been a little oil on the track from the run before us."

Hogan's goal is to be able to dial in competitive elapsed times like the ones Toliver ran en route to the Winternationals win at Pomona, Calif., in February.

"We are going in the right direction," said Hogan, a veteran tuner who began his career working for drag racing legend Don Garlits. "We need to make more laps. The improvements we've already made make the car work better."

The string of inconsistencies didn't dampen the team's enthusiasm, however.

"I believed things would work out . . . never doubted it," said Toliver. "The team's worked hard. We weren't far off, but it took longer than we thought to solve the shake."

Hogan not only had to work to cure the shake, he also had to tune to NHRA's recently-mandated 85-percent nitromethane fuel rule.

Toliver's not counting his team out of a top 10 finish. He's 11th with 619 points, 118 behind 10th place.

"There are eight races left this year, and that's a long way to go before the season ends," said the Temecula, Calif.-based driver.

Toliver will have four qualifying sessions, two Friday at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. and two Saturday at noon and 3 p.m. Eliminations begin at 11 a.m. Sunday.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Don Garlits , Tim Wilkerson , Jerry Toliver