TJ Zizzo Joliet Saturday Report

Route 66 Raceway

Zizzo to Face Massey in Joliet From 16th

It’s not how the PEAK Motor Oil/Herculiner NHRA Full Throttle Series Top Fuel team wanted to start Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals eliminations, but TJ Zizzo isn’t complaining about starting from the 16th position and facing top qualifier Spencer Massey.

T. J. Zizzo during his burnout in his Peak Motor Oil / Herculiner Top Fuel Dragster
T. J. Zizzo during his burnout in his Peak Motor Oil / Herculiner Top Fuel Dragster

Photo by: Ted Rossino

“We’ve had a lot of friends, family, marketing partners here and to be No. 16 qualifier sounds disappointing, but at the same time, I’m not disappointed,” Zizzo said after the final round of qualifying Saturday. “We’re in the show. We have an opportunity tomorrow. Yeah, we gotta go against the guy who’s gone down the track 40 times in a row. I get it, I understand that. But we’re in the show and we’re going to do the best we can.”

Zizzo made the show thanks to a 4.053 second ET at 295.79 mph run in Q3 Saturday. Friday’s qualifying resulted in a halted pass after smoking the tires and a scratched run due to a fuel leak at the line. Crew chief Mike Kern was hoping to advance their spot in the final round of qualifying with the cooler temps of evening qualifying, but the gremlins weren’t done with the car just yet.

“We went out there and just tried to move up safely into the field,” Kern said. “Sixteenth is not where we want to be. Somehow, some way, the engine was hurt before we got to the starting line and slowed down to a 4.14. So we’re gonna have to put a fresh bullet in for tomorrow and try to give Spencer all we got.”

Massey earned the pole after a 3.819 second pass at 319.29 mph. The Don Schumacher Racing pilot made his 40th-consecutive A-to-B pass Saturday night and Zizzo figures that kind of streak can’t last forever.

“We’ll see what happens tomorrow,” he said. “It might be a roll of the dice. You go down the track 40 times in a row and eventually, you’re going to have to smoke the tires or make a mistake. I never wish anybody bad luck but at the same time, we’re going to need a little bit of luck.”

By: zizzo racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers T. J. Zizzo , Don Schumacher , Spencer Massey
Tags chicago, joliet, nhra, route 66 raceway, top fuel, zizzo