DRO: It seemed so odd that you would finish third that year, as well as you ran all year.

TOLIVER: Hey, third is not bad. My second car [with Jim Epler driving] finished fifth. Outside John Force, I think Jerry Toliver is the only owner/driver ever to have two cars in the top five in the same year in Funny Car -- ever. It was a wonderful year. I learned a lot. I think I really matured as a driver and learned how to fight the fight. You can talk and talk, but you have to learn how to fight the fight. When you asked earlier, how are you going to get there? I'm seasoned; my guys are seasoned. We've all won races. Knowing how to win is important.

DRO: Do you lose or gain by sitting out? Sometimes sitting out can teach you something.

TOLIVER: I think you gain appreciation. I certainly have gained a lot of appreciation. When I sat there, there were times when I wondered, "Will I ever get back out there?" There's a chance that I won't get back out there. I'm not getting any younger. I'm not a 20-year-old kid out there with 30 years in front of me to drive a racecar. Fortunately for us, older guys can drive NHRA cars. But yeah, that bothered me. I worried about it. I thought there's a chance I won't land a sponsor.

DRO: What did you tell yourself?

TOLIVER: I'm not done. I went out there and I started a job, and I'm the kind who likes to finish what I start. I'd love to drive for the next three to five years or so until I decide to get out of a racecar -- then own a car and put some kid in it. I was off for a
year and seven months. The time off really allowed me to appreciate. And I made some promises to myself.

DRO: Such as?

TOLIVER: If I ever got back, I would do some things differently, and I would certainly appreciate the moments. I just want to get in every day as much as I can get in. I want to live this thing, and I don't want to leave anything unturned. I can't wait to get back into the winners circle. And I'm hell-bent on getting there. When we do, that's going to be the crowning glory. I'll finally be able to say we've arrived again. I've finally been able to accomplish something that I've missed so dearly. That's going to be a good day.

DRO: Will it come soon?

TOLIVER: I like Pomona. That's my track.

Previous INNERviews

John Force 2/10/04

Skooter Peaco (PART TWO) 1/21/04
IHRA Director of Race Operations
Skooter Peaco (PART ONE) 1/8/04

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