DRO: Is it one sponsor or two sponsors?

TOLIVER: Oh, it's a couple. One very large primary sponsor. But that's all I can say at this point, as much as I would love to brag about it. They've got some issues they have to work through. We were trying to announce this way back at SEMA (the SEMA show last fall). There have been a lot of rumors, because we've been trying to put something together for quite awhile, to resurrect this whole Celica program. I can tell you that Toyota and TRD are extremely excited about our new program. Alan started the deal with Whitecap in 2002 with Gary driving, then Sarver took over, and they had good results. They were in five finals in the short period of time they were out there.

DRO: Scelzi went 11 rounds and reached one final, and Sarver took it 34 rounds, including four finals. Sarver also was top qualifier at Topeka, the first Chicago event and the second Las Vegas race.

TOLIVER: The car actually showed a lot of promise. Alan's technology has advanced to the point these Toyota Celicas can be very, very competitive.

DRO: Was Toyota aggressive about trying to get back in on the Nitro drag-racing scene? I mean, Toyota was the first foreign manufacturer to enter NHRA competition and has stayed active, in the Sport Compact Series, with its Solaras, Supras and Celicas.

TOLIVER: Alan and I resurrected this entire project on our own.

DRO: Did you have to get Toyota re-interested?

TOLIVER: Toyota was always interested. The program showed a lot of merit to them. They got a lot of good feedback, so it was very exciting to them internally to do this drag racing program. So we went back to them and said, "Look, we've got a deal," and they were extremely excited.

DRO: Are you working with Mark Amstock and TRD?

TOLIVER: Mark [Toyota national marketing manager] is involved and so is Jim Aust [Toyota V.P. of Motorsports]. It's been a great collaboration. They're really good people, and I'm excited about working with them and really bringing to them a quality sponsor. Don't get me wrong, money is money. The Whitecap deal wasn't a real strong program. The size and scope of the program we're going to bring in is going to be national. It's a very big company.

DRO: Let's back up a bit. What happened to the WWF sponsorship?

TOLIVER: Let's go back to another era. WWF stopped its sponsorship in 2001. That's when their contract ran to, the end of 2001. They had a couple of options to extend it but they decided not to. The reason for that is pretty simple. First off, we were in a bad economic time in 2001. Then we had 9/11. WWF's core business was down. They went into the XFL. As everybody knows, the XFL was not successful. It was a big cash drain on the company. It put a big hurt on them. So they said, "We have to pull our wings back in and refocus on our core business and do what we do best," which is their wrestling program. And they did that. All the people we went in under with the racing program were gone. They whacked their staff by about 20 percent. They pulled the reins in. Now, don't get me wrong. They treated us extremely well. We have no regrets with those people. I really wish I could have raced with them forever. It's unfortunate it just didn't work out for me.

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