Bristol: Jim Head preview

Jim Head Makes Tune-up Changes to Cure Tire Shake BRISTOL, Tenn., April 28, 2004 - If Jim Head were still driving a Top Fuel dragster, he'd be anxious to get back to Bristol Dragway to see if he could improve his semifinal finish of a year ...

Jim Head Makes Tune-up Changes to Cure Tire Shake

BRISTOL, Tenn., April 28, 2004 - If Jim Head were still driving a Top Fuel dragster, he'd be anxious to get back to Bristol Dragway to see if he could improve his semifinal finish of a year ago.

Head is looking forward to going to Bristol for this weekend's O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals, but his concern is with the performance of his Lions Gate Entertainment "The Punisher" Toyota Celica movie-themed Funny Car. This is the sixth 2004 POWERade Series race and Head is perplexed because he has yet to find a racing combination the car likes.

He knows which ones it doesn't like.

"We see a lot of tire shake from our car when the tune-up isn't right," said Head, who drove dragsters from 1988 through last year. "We have a new rear tire that is part of the problem. It would be better if we could take one thing at a time, but we can't."

Missing a new tire tune-up cost Head what would've been his first Funny Car round win since 1988 in the opening round at Houston (April 18).

"The tires shook really badly," recalled the driver from Galena, Ohio. "When that happens, the car's rear end just kicks out and you're headed for the centerline or the guard wall. The driver is steering and pedaling the throttle hard to keep from either crossing the centerline or hitting the wall.

"I hit one of the centerline Styrofoam cones and that cost me the race."

Hitting the cone is an automatic disqualification. So it mattered little that Head easily beat Gary Densham to the finish line.

"That's Funny Car racing," added Head. "I was pleased to see our 'Punisher' Celica body make it to the finals."

Jerry Toliver, Head's Toyota Celica teammate, damaged his Schick Quattro carbon fiber body and the spare in advancing to the semifinals. Toliver made the natural switch and won his semifinal round over Densham, but lost in the title round to Tim Wilkerson.

"We're making some mechanical changes to see if we can get the car's performance to come around," Head said. "Our first qualifying run Friday should be interesting."

Head, Toliver and the remainder of the Funny Car contingent have two qualifying runs Friday (5 and 8 p.m.) and two Saturday (1 and 4 p.m.). Eliminations begin at noon.

-jtr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Gary Densham , Tim Wilkerson , Jerry Toliver