Toliver Doesn't Make Funny Car Top 16 at Phoenix 'There's Never Sure Thing,' Says Schick Quattro Toyota Celica Driver CHANDLER, Ariz., March 7, 2004 - In a true reversal of fortunes, Jerry Toliver and the Schick Quattro Toyota Celica Funny Car...
Toliver Doesn't Make Funny Car Top 16 at Phoenix
'There's Never Sure Thing,' Says Schick Quattro Toyota Celica Driver
CHANDLER, Ariz., March 7, 2004 - In a true reversal of fortunes, Jerry Toliver and the Schick Quattro Toyota Celica Funny Car team that celebrated its first NHRA race victory a week ago turned into spectators for this weekend's Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals at Firebird Raceway.
Toliver wasn't able to qualify for eliminations as the team fought to overcome tricky track conditions and mechanical troubles that led to aborting two of the four qualifying sessions. His best run, 5.784 seconds at 203.95 mph, put him 19th overall.
Jim Head, driving the Lions Gate Entertainment Toyota Celica, ran better on his final qualifying attempt but finished a mere one-thousandth of a second behind the 16th qualifier.
Toliver shut off the engine on his first run when the car smoked the tires immediately. Then, on his first Saturday attempt, the clutch timers didn't work properly.
"This is a very humbling sport," said Toliver. "There's never a sure thing, but we know we can't lose two qualifying runs and expect to keep up with the rest of the guys (in Funny Car). We learned why it's so important to get the car qualified in the show on our first run."
The Temecula, Calif.-based driver dropped from first into a tie for fifth place in the early POWERade Series standings. He and Darrell Russell each have 111 points. Del Worsham is in first with 186 points.
Toliver and crew chief Keith Adams planned to make several test runs Monday at Firebird Raceway as they continue gathering data on the car's performance in different racing conditions.
Head was confident things will get better soon. "We will be fine," he said. "We have a good setup."
Toliver and Head return to NHRA competition at the Mac Tools Gatornationals, March 19-21, at Gainesville, Fla.