Championship Drag Racing

NHRA Route 66 Nationals
Chicago, Ill.
(May 20-23)

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King Demon Crown

Jerry Toliver
Toyota Celica


Toliver to feature 'Speed Racer' on his Schick ride

Chicago, pre-race: Jerry Toliver's Schick Quattro Toyota Celica will be taking on another movie-themed look this weekend during the seventh annual NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Chicago.

This one is quite apropos for Toliver's competitive Funny Car as Speed Racer will be featured when Toliver begins qualifying on Friday.

"I enjoy having themes for my racecars," said Toliver. "And I think the fans do, too. Speed Racer is certainly one that fits the image of our Toyota Celica. We've had the second-fastest speed (328.22 mph) in the 2004 POWERade Series this year."

Toliver and his crew, led by Keith Adams, have been plagued by inconsistent outings in seven of the 23 races contested so far. Toliver, in fact, has put a priority on winning more rounds. He comes into the Chicago area in ninth place with 369 points. Round wins are worth 20 points, so he's within five rounds of second-place Whit Bazemore (462).

"I used to say it's early in the year, but now that we have our eighth race this week and ninth next week (Topeka, Kan.), it's definitely time for us to find the consistency necessary to win rounds and races," he said.

This is the second race of what began as six races in seven weeks, an important juncture for teams still sorting out their combinations or fine-tuning their summer combination.

Parity in Funny Car accounts for the unusually close competition. There have been six winners in seven races, including Toliver, who began the season in grand style with a Winternationals victory at Pomona, Calif. Only series leader Del Worsham (513 points) has two wins.

Toliver advanced to the quarterfinals Sunday at Atlanta before losing to Gary Scelzi, the eventual race runner-up. Toliver left the starting line first, .104 to .122, but Scelzi outran him to the finish line, 4.866 seconds at 319.29 mph to 4.992 at 310.98.

Lions Gate Entertainment has released the Speed Racer Collector's Edition V2 DVD, featuring original episodes 12-23 of the classic. Speed races around the globe and defeats colorful villains, including Dr. Nightcall, Mr. Cumulus and the infamous Racer X.

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