Memphis: Jerry Toliver preview

Toliver, Team Look for Improved Performance at Memphis MEMPHIS, August 17, 2004 - For something that sounds as simple as providing the power to drive a race car down a quarter-mile track, the task itself is extremely complicated, primarily when...

Toliver, Team Look for Improved Performance at Memphis

MEMPHIS, August 17, 2004 - For something that sounds as simple as providing the power to drive a race car down a quarter-mile track, the task itself is extremely complicated, primarily when the ingredients include nitromethane and a supercharger.

The crew chiefs/tuners in charge of devising the best ways of propelling NHRA Funny Cars to speeds in excess of 320 mph in less than 4.8 seconds have only a few ways to win and hundreds of ways to lose. Maybe it's not rocket science, but it is complicated, and no other motor sport produces the speeds of the nitro-fueled cars.

Richard Hogan, for one, has found and eradicated enough negative ways lately, but still hasn't been able to find competitive results for Jerry Toliver's Schick Quattro/"10.5" Toyota Celica.

"We keep finding problems and now it's just a matter of weeding them out," said the car's crew chief after failing to qualify for last week's race at Brainerd, Minn. "Now we need to make some runs to see if we're going in the right direction."

The team gets its next chance during the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals, Friday through Sunday, at Memphis Motorsports Park.

Not qualifying was "extremely disappointing" said Toliver. "But I feel worse for my (crew) guys. They are hanging in there and aren't giving up. That's the sign of a good team. They are all working hard to get our problems fixed."

Hogan is guaranteed four qualifying attempts - Friday at 5:30 and 8 p.m. and Saturday at 3:30 and 7 p.m. - as he continues his quest for the proper tune-up. Sunday's eliminations, where Hogan and Toliver would prefer four more runs, get underway at 3 p.m.

"You can't take one of these cars to any track to test," explained Hogan. "The better the racing surface, the more you learn. We do plan to test at Indy (Indianapolis Raceway Park) August 24-25. That should give us a good indication of where we are."

The Indy test precedes the start of the 50th annual U.S. Nationals at IRP by nine days. Winning that event, because it is NHRA's most prestigious event, is always high on any team's list of goals, including Toliver's.

"You always want to do well at every race," he said, "but the U.S. Nationals has always been special."

Toliver won the season-opening Winternationals at Pomona, Calif., and was runner-up at Houston in April.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jerry Toliver