Jerry Toliver 2004 preview

Jerry Toliver, Anxious to Get Back into NHRA Funny Car Battles Ready for First 2004 Test Session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Jerry Toliver has January 29th circled on his calendar for a very important reason.  That's the day he climbs back...

Jerry Toliver, Anxious to Get Back into NHRA Funny Car Battles
Ready for First 2004 Test Session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Jerry Toliver has January 29th circled on his calendar for a very important reason.  That's the day he climbs back into a Funny Car and begins preparations for returning to NHRA POWERade Series competition this year.

Toliver's team will be at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the first preseason test sessions that are scheduled Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 29-Feb. 1.  He will be driving a Toyota Celica.

Keith Adams, formerly Alan Johnson's right-hand man, is the crew chief.  Adams worked with the Toyotas in 2002, when the cars were driven by Gary Scelzi and Bruce Sarver.   

Toliver is enthused about returning to the 320-mph quarter-mile action. 

"It's been crazy around Toliver Racing for the past 30 days," he said, "but it's a great feeling.  I'm so excited about getting back in the racecar . . . all the anticipation.  I know I have a great racecar that's going to be fast, and I'm challenged by that.  I love it.  This is going to be a dream come true . . . again."

Toliver won three times in 2000, challenging eventual champion John Force throughout most of the year.  He added four runner-up race finishes and was third in points.  He won four times overall while driving WWF (World Wrestling Federation)-sponsored cars for three years.   He ran a two-car team in 2000 and added two wins as a car owner.

"We plan to go to Phoenix for four more days of testing, Feb. 5-8," Toliver added.  "Then, hopefully, we'll be able to go home and prepare for the season-opening Winternationals (Feb. 19-22 at Pomona, Calif.). I think we'll sneak up on the tune-up and be very happy with the outcome."

Toliver is working on a major sponsor for the team and he's says, "We'll make that announcement when everything is finalized.  Trust me, no one wants to reveal the sponsor's name more than I do, but at this time we're not ready to do that."

Although Adams is new to Toliver's team, he's no stranger to the Toyotas and the tune-ups due to his lengthy stay with Johnson's team.

"Keith has a great mind," said Toliver. "He's been with Alan's team since the mid-1990s and is very familiar with the parts we'll be using.  He was a member of the team that won three NHRA Top Fuel championships with Gary Scelzi driving in 1997-98 and 2000."

Toliver will have a quasi-teammate this year - veteran part-time racer Jim Head, who will be driving a similarly-prepared Toyota Celica.  This marks Head's return to Funny Car after 15 years in Top Fuel.  He finished 12th last year while competing in 16 of the 23 races.

-nhra

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Bruce Sarver , John Force , Jerry Toliver