Las Vegas: Jerry Toliver preview

Toliver: Schick Team Starting to Jell Toliver Sees Schick Quattro Toyota Team Jelling in Time for Vegas Visit Positive Signs Point to Improved Performances at Summitracing.com Nationals LAS VEGAS, March 29, 2004 - A self-described optimist, ...

Toliver: Schick Team Starting to Jell

Toliver Sees Schick Quattro Toyota Team Jelling in Time for Vegas Visit Positive Signs Point to Improved Performances at Summitracing.com Nationals

LAS VEGAS, March 29, 2004 - A self-described optimist, Jerry Toliver ("the glass is always half-full for me") has been able to balance the vagaries of drag racing competition and maintain a consistent approach to what lies ahead.

It doesn't help to dwell on the past, even if it includes an NHRA POWERade Series victory at Pomona in February. The past, as we know, can't be altered but it can help manipulate the future.

When the drag racing season began, Toliver's Schick Quattro Toyota Celica Funny Car team was new. Yes, all members were tour veterans, but they weren't accustomed to working with each other. Keith Adams was a rookie crew chief, coming on board after spending eight years working alongside Alan Johnson, whose Alan Johnson Performance Engineering holds the rights to the Toyota Celica drag racing bodies.

The car's inconsistent performances have flustered Adams, but not deterred him. After three races, Toliver likes what he sees - a team coming together, believing they can be a factor and a championship contender.

The next test comes at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Summitracing.com Nationals, April 2-4.

Toliver is sixth in a tightly jammed top 10 behind leader Del Worsham's 298 points. Toliver begins the fourth of 23 series events with 162 points but is less than two round wins (at 20 points per) behind John Force's second-place 188.

"I like racing at Las Vegas. It's a good track and it's not far from home," said Toliver, of Temecula, Calif.

It marks the Schick team's second appearance at the racing facility located adjacent to Las Vegas Motor Speedway and up the street from Nellis Air Force Base. The first one, as they say, wasn't much to write home about.

During the final three days of January and the first of February, Toliver and crew worked diligently to prepare the car during their first test session. By the time the weekend was over, everyone felt there was more to do. Weather and mechanical glitches prevented Toliver from posting any competitive elapsed times.

That shouldn't be the case this time.

"We had a real good weekend, as far as the team goes, at Gainesville (Fla., March 19-21)," Toliver commented. "Keith became a lot more confident with the car and the decision-making process. We are really close to a hot weather tune-up."

Toliver qualified 14th and upset Eric Medlen in the opening round before bowing out in the next round to eventual race winner Del Worsham. The weather was warm all weekend and the track surface was slippery and tricky.

"It would be nice to have a 4.90 (second) hot weather tune-up so we can go from point A to point B at Vegas," Toliver added. "That's what we're shooting for. Once we can do that, we can go out and get after it.

"It's important to qualify in the first session, especially now that we have night sessions. We can really let it all hang out on that night run."

Toliver put up career-topping numbers on the way to his Winternationals win - 4.738 seconds at 328.22 mph - but he wasn't close to them in the next two races.

His personal record at The Strip, meanwhile, needs some polishing. Toliver hasn't won a round in four previous visits. "We should take care of that this time," he remarked. "Maybe we'll just go out and win four in a row."

The qualifying schedule includes runs at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Friday and 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Sunday's eliminations begin at 11 a.m.

Toliver, Head to Help Raise Funds for PKD

Jerry Toliver and Jim Head are joining former driver Arnie Karp to help raise funds for polycystic kidney disease research (PKD) during the season, beginning in Las Vegas.

-jtr-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Del Worsham , Arnie Karp , Jerry Toliver , Eric Medlen