Photos by Ron Lewis
back! He's not the wild WWF ruffian you last
saw in the Pontiac Firebird, terrorizing John
Force in 2000. But Jerry Toliver vows never
to be a regimented soldier as he prepares for
Funny Car war in his Toyota Celica. He's no
corporate Jerry, but he's all business. And
he talks with DRO about his association with
the increasingly busy Alan Johnson, Toyota,
teammate Jim Head, and the XFL's ultimate sacking.
Find out why third place doesn't suck (or does
it?), what kind of a cake he has in the oven,
why he hates cookie-cutter interviews and how
he gained a fresh appreciation for the sport.
DRO: How is
this partnership with you and Alan Johnson going
TOLIVER: Alan has the Toyota Celica deal. I went to him and proposed to him, told him that I'd like to run the Toyota Celicas and he liked the
idea. Of course, Toyota likes the idea. The car's back out here on the track. I've leased that equipment from Alan. So there's no partnership, if
you will. He's not a part of my team.
DRO: I think we all were assuming Alan was part owner of your team.
TOLIVER: No. I'm leasing the stuff from Alan, his truck and his trailer. My tractor. The race team and stuff is mine. But we're leasing the
Toyota Celicas from Alan.
DRO: Those are the very same cars that Scelzi and Sarver ran, correct?
TOLIVER: Yeah. Alan has had years of development with TRD, so it's really his pet project and we're just lucky it was available. I'm really
excited about driving them. I think they're going to be very competitive cars.
DRO: How long has this deal been in the works?
TOLIVER: We've been trying to put this deal together since early 2002. We finally got it done, and that's the exciting part. I've got a great
deal. It's very exciting. We're bringing somebody new into the sport.
DRO: And who is that?
TOLIVER: I can't wait to announce it.
DRO: Be my guest.
TOLIVER: We're buttoning up the finishing touches on the deal right now, and we're going to have a press conference on Wednesday at Pomona.
DRO: Will you tell us if we guess correctly?
TOLIVER: No. I am sworn to secrecy.