I apologize for the delay. I have not kept up on my blog, but I want you to know that it truly bothered me every day. As a man of my word, I feel awful about not fulfilling my end of the bargain. It feels great to stop for a moment and type this blog; I feel a sense of relief!
I think about writing it every day, but my time to get it done has been very limited. I always know when I have way too much going on…. I have a beard, the wheels on my car are loaded with brake dust and my house is not “mint.” Not only have I not typed a blog in a long time, but I look around my house and it isn’t as organized and perfect as it once was. The windows need cleaning inside and out, the exterior needs to be power washed and I have had a pile of mulch in my driveway since April 1…. April Fools! These are all items that get put off to the side so our team can perform at their PEAK!
My family is usually the one to suffer because I do not make time for them; thankfully, this year has been a “little” different. Instead of using my “spare” time doing all of the things I mentioned above, I spent time with my family. I tried my hardest to be home at 6 p.m. to have dinner with my wife, Jen, and our kids. I even relaxed on the couch with them a few times. I am sure you remember from my past blogs that the word relax is not in my dictionary! Well, I have fallen back on old habits and relaxing is a distant memory. Jen is going to read this and maybe forget those great memories of me spending time with the family because the last three weeks I have worked 18 hours a day.
The last six weeks have been absolutely awesome. I seriously can’t believe what our team has accomplished since Norwalk. We moved from my dad’s 750-square-foot garage and crawl space to a much larger, dedicated facility. It is way too big, but as you know, you can never have enough space. Our team is already 30 percent more efficient than we were working out of my dad’s crawlspace. It was always a game of Tetris just to work on something. Now each team member can work in their area and leave it out until the next time they show up at the shop. What a difference this facility has made. I promise you, being more efficient at the shop will turn into performance on the track.
We also have assembled a new combination of parts and pieces since Norwalk that will allow us to perform at our PEAK. Between the move and assembling an entirely different combination of engine and clutch parts, we have been Full Throttle. We were one of the last top fuel cars on the planet to run a standard manifold (we were proud of how well we were running!), but recently we’ve been hurting a lot of parts. And that is not something we want to do. Certainly we do not like to have PEAK Motor Oil on the racetrack, which hurts me more emotionally than performing poorly at an event. Drag racing is a great sport, but I thoroughly get disgusted when fans have to wait for a cleanup on the track.
My dad is crazy!
Besides the move and combination change, my dad recently competed at Bonneville. He had a blast! He was upset leaving in the middle of the shop move and racecar improvements. He felt that he was leaving at a very bad time, but when he returned the shop was organized and the racecar that was ready to thunder. He was so proud of our entire team. Most importantly going to Bonneville gave him a break to relax at 271 mph on his days off. He is an animal!
On a closing note, I had an opportunity to drive a very unique diesel dragster last November, but I had to pass it up in order to spend the necessary time on our PEAK Top Fueler. I was disappointed to give up a great opportunity, but recommended a great top alcohol dragster driver to wheel it, Marty Thacker. He does a great job, but he needed to compete at Bowling Green last weekend, so the owner asked if I could fill in for him. I was a little reluctant at first, I had never driven anyone else’s racecar and it was a totally different animal than anything I had ever driven. After talking to Marty for a while on the phone, I felt more comfortable. He gave me a lot of great tips that he learned over the summer while driving that beast. Needless to say, it was a blast! I loved the challenge, and for the first time the car went over 200 M.P.H. It was great to lend a hand and make their entire team smile., because they work real hard. Moving forward, Marty will be able to set all kinds of diesel records with it. It was truly a great experience, and I am glad I could play a small part. J.A. Lagod (owner of Hypermax Engineering and the dragster) and his right-hand guys Jeff Ahle, Ron Olsen, Bill McQuade, Jeff Abbott and Jerry Westhouse have a lot to be proud of.
As I type this, our entire team is thrashing away in preparation for the biggest event of the year, the U.S. Nationals. I am proud and blessed to be able to compete at the “granddaddy of them all” in Top Fuel! We will have a lot of new items to announce at Indy, and I am proud to be a part of expanding the sport of drag racing and bringing smiles to many faces.
Cool, my blog is up to date…….I feel like I can sleep well again.
As always, try to keep up with me on: Facebook (TJ Zizzo), Twitter (@TJZizzo, @ZizzoRacing), YouTube.com/TJZizzo, Zizzo Racing/Ebay.com, PeakAuto.com and ZizzoRacing.com.