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Jerry Toliver, Jim Head Concentrate on Being Among Top 16 Starters in Completion of NHRA Winternationals POMONA, Calif., Feb. 26, 2004 - Jerry Toliver won't have to go far when he returns for the completion of the rain-delayed K&N ...

Jerry Toliver, Jim Head Concentrate on Being Among Top 16 Starters in Completion of NHRA Winternationals

POMONA, Calif., Feb. 26, 2004 - Jerry Toliver won't have to go far when he returns for the completion of the rain-delayed K&N Filters Winternationals, Feb. 27-29. It's only a 90-minute drive from his Temecula, Calif., home to Pomona Raceway.

Keith Adams and the rest of Toliver's Schick Quattro Toyota Celica Funny Car team will take about three hours to complete the trip from their Santa Maria, Calif., shop, but they'll be ready to go racing.

Jim Head didn't plan to be here this weekend, either. The driver of the Lions Gate Entertainment Toyota Celica Funny Car and Toliver's teammate is anxious to get back into his racecar under drier circumstances.

Rescheduling the event forced Adams to alter his plans this week. Initially, his crew would have repaired any parts hurt in Winternationals competition, and then begun preparing more parts for the Checkers Schuck's Kragen Nationals, March 5-7 at Phoenix. Instead of a week off between the races, now there are just a few days.

"We went back to our shop in Santa Maria and to get another Celica body ready for Phoenix," said Adams of the team's headquarters at Alan Johnson Performance Engineering. "We would've liked to have gone to Las Vegas or Phoenix to test early this week, but everywhere we looked it was raining. We'll be more prepared now for the back-to-back races."

It wasn't planned that way. The NHRA POWERade Series opener was supposed to be contested Feb. 19-22, but a stubborn storm washed out Friday's scheduled qualifying session and when the rain persisted on Saturday, the event was moved to this weekend.

Drivers were able to complete just one qualifying session last week. Toliver pedaled the throttle and got down the track in 5.788 seconds at 208.52 mph. It put him 13th overall among the 23 Funny Car entered. Head's car, meanwhile, shook the tires and he immediately pulled his foot off the throttle.

"I pedaled the car when the tire shake started and when I got back in it the car went toward the centerline. I shut it off because I didn't want to hit any timing cones," Toliver said. "Had I done that, the run would've been disqualified.

"I wanted to get it down the track as far as I could so Keith would have some computer readings to tune from. I just didn't know it would be a week before we'd get our next run."

Head breathed sigh of relief when the race was postponed. He is making the transition to Funny Car after a 15-year absence and hopes to get as much seat time as possible.

He's been busy working on his tune-up, so making all four runs was a necessity, even though they're seven days later.

"Our car shook the tires on its run and I could've pedaled it like Jerry did. But I haven't driven a Funny Car in a long time and I wasn't comfortable doing it," Head recalled. "The fact I'm getting my four allotted qualifying runs means a lot to me. Had it not rained we were obviously only going to get two runs last Saturday because we lost Friday's run, but now we're coming back and going to get one on Friday and two on Saturday. I'm happy with that."

The new schedule calls for one run Friday afternoon at 3 p.m., followed by Saturday sessions at noon and 3 p.m. and Sunday's eliminations at 11 a.m.

-jls-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Jerry Toliver