Phoenix: Toyota Motorsports preview

After a Historic Win at Pomona, Celica Funny Car Heads to Phoenix on Top of the Standings PHOENIX, (March. 4, 2004) - When veteran drag racer Jerry Toliver's Schick Quattro Toyota Celica Funny Car beat Gary Densham's Mustang in a final round win...

After a Historic Win at Pomona, Celica Funny Car Heads to Phoenix on Top of the Standings

PHOENIX, (March. 4, 2004) - When veteran drag racer Jerry Toliver's Schick Quattro Toyota Celica Funny Car beat Gary Densham's Mustang in a final round win at the Winternationals last weekend, it marked the first time in NHRA POWERade Top Fuel Drag Racing Series history that a foreign nameplate earned a national event victory. This weekend, Toliver and the Celica go to Phoenix for the Checkers Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals, March 5-7, on top of the Funny Car standings.

"If Pomona was indicative of what the Schick Quattro Celica can do in the future, this hot rod will really blister the track the rest of the year," said Toliver, 53, from Canyon Lake, Calif. "We didn't get as much testing with the Celica in January as we wanted. It was just a matter of figuring out what it wanted to do to go fast."

Toliver also had the quickest time (4.738 seconds) and fastest pass (328.22 mph) of the Pomona race weekend in his semi-final round victory over Del Worsham. It was the fourth fastest pass in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Funny Car history and only slightly off the national record of 4.721 seconds.

"Jerry's victory was a great moment for him, the team and for Toyota," said Jim Aust, vice president of motorsports, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. "The Schick Quattro Celica Funny Car has earned its place in Toyota Motorsports history along side our first win in CART and our Indianapolis 500 victory last year."

Jim Head will also be racing a Toyota Celica Funny Car this weekend in Phoenix with sponsorship from Lion's Gate Entertainment, featuring the livery of the "T2" video and DVD. The Galena, Ohio, native is making his way back to Top Fuel Funny Car racing for the first time since 1988. Head, a veteran of the NHRA ranks since 1980, has raced for his own team in a Top Fuel Dragster in recent years. He qualified 22nd in a competitive field at Pomona. Toliver Racing and Head Racing are competing in the Alan Johnson Performance Engineering prepared Toyota Celica Funny Cars in a cooperative arrangement.

Qualifying for the Checkers Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals will be March 5-6, and final eliminations are on Sunday, March 7. The event will be broadcast tape delay on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. EST.

-toyota-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Del Worsham , Gary Densham , Jerry Toliver