CLERMONT, Ind. – For the second-straight week, TJ Zizzo has put the Rust-Oleum Rocket in the top half of NHRA Mello Yello Series field at Lucas Oil Raceway here for the Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals. After a P5 start last week that took him to the quarterfinals, the second-generation racer qualified eighth on Saturday with an abbreviated pass of 3.937-seconds at 253.75 mph. Zizzo faces No. 9 qualifier Terry Totten E1 Sunday morning.
The team’s first pass of the day was promising, especially with the ETs being far from record-setting due to the heat and humidity.
“First pass, it was truckin’ to be No. 1 or No. 2 qualifier and out of nowhere, we burned a head gasket,” Zizzo said in the Rust-Oleum pit after qualifying. “We haven’t done that in years.”
The second and final qualifying pass of the weekend was problematic from the start, thanks to a blown cylinder. Crew chief Mike Kern immediately gave the order to cut the motor and end the run.
“Went out there and tried it again and it’s hot and it’s muggy and we went to the line and dropped the No. 7 hole immediately,” he said. “Such is life. Tomorrow’s another day. I’m looking forward to racing early in the morning and looking forward to a good night’s rest.”
“It’s hot!” he said. “Usually heat doesn’t bother me, but I’m drained. If I was a little bit more in shape, I’d probably be fine. I’ve lost like four or five pounds this week so I could lighten this car up a little bit. I need to exercise!
“You don’t really realize how much these cars beat you up until you’re out of shape!”
Zizzo Racing By The Numbers:
Q1: 3.937-seconds at 253.75 mph
Q2: 8.450 seconds at 75.47 mph
Nitro eliminations for this weekend’s Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals at Lucas Oil Raceway kick off Sunday at 9:45 a.m. local time (EDT).