Jerry Toliver, Jim Head Exit Early in Las Vegas LAS VEGAS, April 4, 2004 - For the first time this season, Jerry Toliver and teammate Jim Head qualified for an NHRA race. This one, the Summitracing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor...
Jerry Toliver, Jim Head Exit Early in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS, April 4, 2004 - For the first time this season, Jerry Toliver and teammate Jim Head qualified for an NHRA race. This one, the Summitracing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, had a steady rain that wiped out Friday's first two qualifying runs, followed Saturday by sun and cooler, nearly-perfect conditions before switching to hotter, trickier circumstances on Sunday.
Toliver was No. 6 (4.810 seconds at 320.89 mph) in the Schick Quattro Toyota Celica and Head 16th (5.180 at 302.35 mph) in the Lions Gate Entertainment "The Punisher" movie-themed Toyota Celica going into eliminations . . . And, as luck would have it, Toliver wound up next to rookie driver Eric Medlen of John Force's team, in the opening round. Toliver, who returned from an 18-month hiatus in February, has not raced anyone other than Medlen in the first round . . . This time, Toliver wasn't able to extend his personal win streak to three in a row over Medlen, who won when Toliver's car shook the tires while Medlen cruised with a 4.838 at 307.23 mph.
Head, meanwhile, drew No. 1 qualifier - and defending season champion - Tony Pedregon in round one. Head registered his quickest run of the weekend, 5.112 seconds, while coming up short to Pedregon's 4.850 at 306.84 . . . A miscommunication from crew chief Keith Adams to assistant crew chief Terry Morrow was misdiagnosed by Toliver, who shut off the engine on the first of his two Saturday qualifying runs when it probably wasn't necessary. He had to run well to become one of the top six - which he did with the 4.810.
Toliver is now 10th in the standings with 179 points.
"When you give a driver like Medlen, even though he is a rookie, enough shots at you, you're going to get beat after a while . . . Our Saturday run was very good, but the weather conditions were different on Sunday and Keith (Adams, the crew chief) backed down the combination. As things turned out, it was too soft, and the tires shook. There wasn't much I could do . . . We really could've used the two runs Friday, but every other team was in the same position. We probably would've run better on Saturday's first run because the tune-up was more aggressive than the second one."
"You can tell our car isn't running the way we want it to, but we're doing everything we can to get it to run competitive numbers. We just need more runs, and losing two Friday didn't help us, either."