Zizzo Racing press release
Up & Down Day Still Positive for PEAK Motor Oil Team
LAS VEGAS – TJ Zizzo and the PEAK Motor Oil/Herculiner Top Fuel team did not come to the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to leave empty handed and proved they meant business in the first round of qualifying. The Chicago-based NHRA Full Throttle Series team laid down an ET of 3.899 seconds, good enough to put them second in the round behind Del Worsham and give them two bonus points.
The second round didn’t quite go as well as the first. In the last Pro pairing of the day, Zizzo and his PEAK Motor Oil/Herculiner rail ran clean and fast until around half track when the machine started losing cylinders. By the time Zizzo crossed the finish line, the engine was in flames. The veteran dragster pilot got out of the car safely and headed back to the Zizzo Racing pit to prepare the car for Saturday’s qualifying.
“That’ll make the highlight reel, that last run, won’t it?” Zizzo said in his pit area. “It looked pretty! Nice big flame coming out of it, but unfortunately, we go from No. 2 qualifier, feeling good and confident about yourself, and now we’re No. 14. That’s a tough thing to grasp. Now it’s like we’re going to start all over again.
“It was an adequate day. We’ll start over again tomorrow and see where it ends up.”
Fortunately, the explosion did not oil down the track surface. Had that happened, the team could have lost the run altogether or, worse, been fined. While the team is currently 14th in provisional qualifying and will have to re-establish their qualifying time, the outlook for the close-knit team is positive.
“That’s an easy deal,” said team car chief Rick Messmore regarding the repairs of the wounded dragster. “We’re going to pull this motor out, put a new one in that we already have ready to go, about 30 minutes worth of work. Then we’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
Zizzo wasn’t the only driver who was challenged in the second round. Fellow Chicago native and seven-time NHRA Full Throttle Series Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher finished the day 15th with Shawn Langdon and 2011 Winternationals winner Morgan Lucas ending their Friday at 16th and 17th, respectively.