Toliver hires Norm Grimes as crew chief

Toliver Hires Norm Grimes as Schick Quattro Funny Car Crew Chief Newcomer Has Won Five NHRA Alcohol Dragster Championships TEMECULA, Calif., Sept. 14, 2004 - Jerry Toliver announced the hiring of Norm Grimes as crew chief of the Schick ...

Toliver Hires Norm Grimes as Schick Quattro Funny Car Crew Chief
Newcomer Has Won Five NHRA Alcohol Dragster Championships

TEMECULA, Calif., Sept. 14, 2004 - Jerry Toliver announced the hiring of Norm Grimes as crew chief of the Schick Quattro/Lions Gate Toyota Celica Funny Car Wednesday.

Grimes is a very successful engine builder and tuner of alcohol dragsters in NHRA's Lucas Oil Sportsman Series. He won five series Top Alcohol Dragster championships with drivers Rick Santos and Jack O'Brien. More recently, he tuned Morgan Lucas to two injected-nitro dragster national event victories and one divisional win.

"Norm has had great success in alcohol racing, on water as well as asphalt," said Toliver. "Wherever he goes, he climbs to the top. His expertise as a premier engine builder and those five alcohol dragster championships prove to me he is dedicated. He is a winner.

"It's a big step for anybody to move up from A-Fuel to the nitro Funny Car ranks and I think he's ready to make that move. With time and the proper coaching Norm will become one of the greatest crew chiefs out there. He's an enormously talented guy. He's been a good friend for many years."

By looking to the future with five races remaining this season - beginning with this weekend's Lucas Oil Nationals at Reading, Pa. - Toliver, Grimes and the Schick Quattro crew will be preparing for the 2005 campaign that begins February 10.

"At this point, we are 264 points out of 10th place and we really don't have anything to lose . . . and maybe everything to gain," Toliver said. "We can use the remainder of this year to get ready for next year and Norm can get some laps under him and we can move forward."

Grimes, of Sun Valley, Calif., didn't take long to accept the offer, even if prodded by his new boss.

"Jerry said he'd kill me if I didn't take this job," Grimes said facetiously.

"I am jumping right into it . . . right into the thick of things," Grimes added on a more serious note. "It's a great position to be in. I hope I don't let anyone down.

"I worked with Jerry for the only three races he ran in the 2002 season and learned a lot. We plan to use the balance of this year as a test session. We'll try some things and address certain situations, utilizing our national-event runs as test runs."

Grimes says he's "watched the Funny Car class for some time and the level of competition has become so keen that I don't think we'll see anyone being dominant. I want our car to run well, go rounds and get some wins. There are a lot of really good cars out there."

Toliver had kind words for Richard Hogan, whom Grimes is replacing.

"Richard did a great job," said Toliver. "He came into a difficult situation here and he sorted out probably 95 percent of it. He is a good guy and a great friend and I wish him well."

Toliver has one win this season, at Pomona, Calif., in February, and he was runner-up at Houston in April.

Grimes gets his first taste of competition during Friday's opening rounds of qualifying at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday's two sessions are scheduled at 12:30 and 3 p.m. Sunday's competition commences at 11 a.m.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Rick Santos , Morgan Lucas , Jerry Toliver