Pomona: Toyota Motorsports preview

Toyota Celica Funny Car returns to the track at the NHRA season-opening K&N Filters Winternationals. POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 18, 2004) - The Toyota Celica Funny Car will begin another season of competition in the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel Drag ...

Toyota Celica Funny Car returns to the track at the NHRA season-opening K&N Filters Winternationals.

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 18, 2004) - The Toyota Celica Funny Car will begin another season of competition in the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel Drag Racing Series in 2004 beginning this weekend at the season-opening K&N Filters Winternationals at venerable Pomona Raceway, Feb. 18-22. Veteran drag racers Jerry Toliver and Jim Head will pilot the Alan Johnson Performance Engineering-prepared Celicas for the first time.

"Toyota is excited to see the Celica competing again the Funny Car class of the NHRA," said Jim Aust, vice president of motorsports at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "The Celica showed a lot of promise and future success in finishing fifth overall in its debut season in 2002."

Toliver, a four-time NHRA national event winner, will race the Schick Quattro Toyota Celica Funny Car for his own team, Toliver Racing. The Canyon Lake, Calif., resident will be making a return to the NHRA Top Fuel ranks after taking off the 2003 season. Toliver finished third overall in 2000 while racing for his own team, earning a host of honors including the ESPN Auto Racing "Driver of the Year" and Car Craft Magazine's "Person of the Year."

"I can't wait to climb in this Schick Quattro Celica Funny Car and get out on the track at Pomona," Toliver said. "It will be great to partner up with Jim [Head] and see what these cars are capable of this year."

Head will also be racing a Toyota Celica Funny Car with sponsorship from Lion's Gate Entertainment, feature the livery of the "T2" video and DVD. The Galena, Ohio, native will be making his way back to Top Fuel Funny Car racing for the first time since 1988. Head, a veteran of the NHRA ranks since 1980, has raced for his own team in a Top Fuel Dragster in recent years. He finished 12th overall in 2003 in 16 Top Fuel Dragster events, and he has six career national event victories. Toliver Racing and Head Racing will compete in the Toyota Celica Funny Cars in a cooperative arrangement.

"I have not raced a Funny Car since 1988, but I've been looking for a way to get back into one ever since," Head commented. "The Lion's Gate Celica has been great to drive in testing and will be really competitive this year."

Qualifying for the NHRA K&N Winternationals will be Feb. 19-21, and final eliminations are on Sunday, Feb. 22. The event will be broadcast tape delay on ESPN2 at 10 EST.

-toyota-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Jerry Toliver