O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals
Head optimistic about 'The Punisher' Celica's performance
Houston, pre-race: Maybe there is something to The Punisher film's association with Jim Head's Toyota Celica Funny Car.
The film's Punisher, based on a Marvel comic book character, seeks to avenge those wronged by society's villains. Okay, so it's a stretch to consider fellow Funny Car drivers Del Worsham, John Force, Gary Scelzi, et al as bad guys, except from Head's perspective. They are the guys Head wants to beat ... on the track.
Head's Lions Gate Entertainment The Punisher movie-themed Toyota Celica missed the starting line-up at the first three stops, but he was No. 16 at Las Vegas (April 4). Despite losing to Tony Pedregon in the opening round, the performance brought Head both a smile and a boost of confidence.
"That run against Pedregon showed us a lot," said the Columbus, Ohio, driver of his 5.112-second, 294.31-mph effort. "It certainly wasn't what we wanted to run against him, but it did show us some things that will help us right away."
Head will test those tune-up theories during the O'Reilly's Spring Nationals, April 16-18, at Houston Raceway Park.
"We softened the tune-up quite a bit for the first round and the car went down the track without shaking the tires," explained Head. "We know we're going in the right direction and we're looking forward to racing at Houston."
It's been 15 years since Head has driven Funny Cars. He made the switch from Top Fuel to compete in one of two Alan Johnson Performance Racing Engineering-prepared Toyota Celicas. Jerry Toliver drives the Schick Quattro Toyota Celica.
Although he missed the first three starts - his 4.996-second run at Phoenix fell one-thousandth of a second short - Head didn't get discouraged. He's very optimistic about the strides his race car has made and he'll be trying not only to improve the performances but qualify easily for Sunday's event.
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