Zizzo to Face Kalitta in Texas Showdown After Qualifying 7th
BAYTOWN, Texas – It was a tale of two drag strips at Royal Purple Raceway this weekend for the 24th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals. Friday’s weather conditions were near ideal, allowing TJ Zizzo to race the PEAK Motor Oil/Herculiner NHRA Full Throttle Series Top Fuel dragster down the track in 3.885 seconds at 314.90 mph. Saturday was a completely different set of circumstances as it was hot, muggy, overcast, and humid all day. Zizzo, along with many in the class, made less-than-satisfying passes in both rounds, unable to finish either under power.
Zizzo, qualifying seventh on the strength of Friday’s 3.88, faces Doug Kalitta in the first round of eliminations on Sunday. Kalitta, a 32-time Top Fuel winner, is one of the top racers in the class and a driver highly respected by everyone at Zizzo Racing. But those same crew members are hoping for a replay of the first round of last year’s U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis when Zizzo took the upset win thanks to a holeshot.
“Doug is always one of the fastest cars out there and we know we’re going to have a race on our hands,” Zizzo said immediately following qualifying. “Getting that win against him at Indy last year was awesome, but that was a long time ago and we can’t live in the past.
“The weather was brutal today and the track just wasn’t holding much. It wasn’t just us, either. When (Larry) Dixon and (Tony) Schumacher have problems making passes, that says something. But I have faith in (crew chief) Mike Kern and our PEAK Motor Oil/Herculiner team. Our time has come and we’re here to win some rounds.”
Remaining low qualifier in Top Fuel is Schumacher, the 63rd time in his storied career he has earned that honor. He, too, struggled with the track conditions and his pole-winning ET of 3.817 seconds is from Friday’s second round.
-source: zizzo racing