DRO: I always picture you as raucous and fun.

TOLIVER: I like that part. I enjoy this. I have fun at this. I feel very blessed to have this. It's something I've preparing for all my life.

DRO: How much of that exuberance was the real you before and how much was WWF?

TOLIVER: WWF allowed me to do anything within good taste. It allowed me to be vocal. With the deal I have today, I'm going to be the same guy. I'm not going to change me. I'm not going to turn into Corporate Jerry. I don't like that. I get more out of a guy who's doing an interview who shows some emotion -- it's really coming
from him -- than the guy who's doing a scripted, canned thing. Our sponsors want to be mentioned. I think there's a right time to mention your sponsors and a time to tell your story. If you figure out a way to make the two intertwine where everybody's happy, then it's great. But I think the fans will pay more attention to your sponsor if they gravitate toward you, if they like you. You're showing emotion. You get out of the car and you're still feeling it. You're trying to relate that to them, what it was doing and why it was doing that, and if a guy gets mad and says a cuss word, yeah, we're human. Nobody likes to lose. I think John Force is probably the master at that. But I don't think it's masterful. I think it's just John showing his real self. John just does John. And Jerry Toliver just does Jerry. I don't try to be anybody else out there. Just me. I like projecting my feelings. Fans are not dumb. Don't think they don't know when you've got a scripted deal.

DRO: Motorsports fans of all kinds appreciate someone who tells it like it is.

TOLIVER: A hundred percent of these guys aren't going to like me. But that's OK. I got 'em wound up. I'm here to put on a show. We're showmen here. Look at Dale Earnhardt. The Intimidator. He was a bad guy, a guy who didn't take any guff. He just knocked people off the track. The Guy in Black. And the fans really loved him.

DRO: When will NHRA figure that out?

TOLIVER: I think NHRA has figured it out. I think some of the things that happened between Force and me back in 2000 was part of that. That was all real. He'd get wound up, and I think somebody seriously challenged him for the first time in along time and he took notice to it.

DRO: How fun was that?

TOLIVER: It was a blast. Halfway through the season I had to pinch myself and say, "You really are leading this thing. You have a shot at this baby!"

DRO: What happened?

TOLIVER: I wish I could say exactly what happened -- we lost our tune-up. We ran out of some clutch disc parts. We truly think that's what turned it around. We ran out of clutch discs at Sonoma and we DNQd. And that's when the whole program turned around. We won only a couple of rounds after Sonoma that year. What really upset me . . . losing first place to Force was one thing. I got over that part. The last race of the year we lose to Ron Capps by a round and a half. Really upset me. I went into Pomona leading him by a half a round, and we just spiraled down. I really wanted second place bad.

Cover | Table of Contents | DROstore | Classifieds | Archive | Contact
Copyright 1999-2004, Drag Racing Online and Racing Net Source