Sarver looks to take the Toyota Celica Funny Car to victory at the Pomona NHRA season opener. TOYOTA CELICA A TOP-FIVE CAR IN FIRST SEASON - In its NHRA POWERade Drag Racing debut season of 2002, the Toyota Celica Funny Car was a top-five car in...
Sarver looks to take the Toyota Celica Funny Car to victory at the Pomona NHRA season opener.
TOYOTA CELICA A TOP-FIVE CAR IN FIRST SEASON - In its NHRA POWERade Drag Racing debut season of 2002, the Toyota Celica Funny Car was a top-five car in the standings with 1,215 combined points from Bruce Sarver and Gary Scelzi. During its first year of competition, the Celica Funny Car produced three top qualifying positions (Topeka, Chicago and the October Las Vegas event), and five final-round appearances (Gainesville, Fla., Englishtown, Columbus, Seattle and Dallas). The Celica, campaigned by Alan Johnson Racing, was also the only single-car team in the top five in points in 2002.
The Toyota Celica was the first manufacturer-backed import Funny Car in NHRA POWERade Series history. The car was developed using a production Toyota Celica GT-S as the baseline. The project, which began in the fall of 2001, was developed in conjunction with Swift Engineering, Inc., in San Clemente, Calif.
SARVER ALSO FIFTH IN POINTS - Veteran drag racer Bruce Saver reached the final round last May at Englishtown, N.J., in his first race behind the wheel of the Toyota Celica Funny Car. After that time, the Bakersfield, Calif., native earned the fifth most points in the Funny Car class during the rest of the 2002 season. In the 16 events Sarver raced, he has earned 914 points, trailing only Tony Pedregon (1,291), John Force (1,224), Del Worsham (1,015), and Gary Densham (941) during that time period. Despite missing seven races in 2002, he still finished 11th overall among more than 30 Funny Car competitors.
FORMER CHAMPIONS RETURN - Sarver won his second-career Funny Car race at the Pomona Winternationals in 2001. He also has a final round appearance at Pomona in the 2000 season finale. Both of his career victories, including his first at Reading, Pa., in 2000, were with Alan Johnson Racing.
"The Celica Funny Car was running consistently well the last half of the season last year, especially towards the end. We'll go to Pomona this weekend with the same set up as we had in November and try and beat 'em all one at a time."
"Although we didn't get to do any testing leading up to Pomona, we have had some new parts in development that should help this weekend. We'll go to the track with the car being similar to where it was at the last race of the season, which was consistently fast. This time of year, a lot of teams are trying new things. I think we'll have the advantage of running a familiar car that ran well on this track."