Saturday was an early morning because I wanted to be there when Terry Simpson ran his second elimination round. Unfortunately, Terry redlighted! Although that was disappointing, he had a good weekend by achieving his pre-season goal of winning a round at a National event.
It was then that I remembered that local part-time professional Top Fuel Dragster driver TJ Zizzo was holding court and making pancakes for all that stopped by. TJ is a favorite at Route 66 Raceway and he sometimes announces at the track. I think he has as much fun interacting with the fans as the fans do with him. While I did not partake of the pancakes, I was told they were very good and TJ said they were "Nitro Fueled"! He also stated he is in serious talks with a major corporate sponsor for his team to continue running his part-time schedule. He is hoping to make the announcement in late July or early August. He stated while he would never pass up the right opportunity to go full time, however it really is an unbelievable commitment of time. It is so much more than just driving, with sponsor commitments, cleaning/polishing equipment and managing the operation it leaves little time for anything else. His 2013 twelve race season left him with little time to do things like fix the roof on his house! Besides, he also has to work at his business! While I was there ESPN Tv stopped by to film some 'B' roll
My last commitment for the day was the Route 66 Fan Pit Zone autograph session featuring my personal favorite, Shirley Muldowney, "The First Lady of Drag Racing". She did not disappoint! She drew such a crowd, that she stayed an extra hour to accommodate all her fans. I was so fascinated, that on several occasions I forgot to press the shutter button! Joining Shirley at the autograph session was Top Fuel Dragster drivers, Steve Torrence, Doug Kalitta, Khalid alBalooshi and Shawn Langdon.
Outside the Fan Pit Zone the NHRA Junior Drag League drivers had their own autograph session. I love working with the kids. They are a lot of fun and very professional when the camera is turned on. Otherwise, they are just kids having fun!
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This will be the last report from the Nationals because we did not attend the finals on Sunday. I want to congratulate the winners, Antron Brown, Matt Hagan, Vincent Nobile, Hector Arana Jr. and all the lower level series drivers on a great weekend of drag racing.
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