May 17, 2024 | By NHRA

Zizzo, Prock, Enders, Smith lead NHRA Friday qualifying at Chicago

Photo by NHRA photo

JOLIET, Ill. — Chicago native T.J. Zizzo made the quickest Top Fuel run in each session on Friday at Route 66 Raceway, taking the provisional No. 1 qualifier at the 24th annual Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance.

Austin Prock (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also the provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the sixth of 20 races during the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season.

Zizzo powered to a run of 3.735-seconds at 331.77 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Rust-Oleum dragster, putting the part-time racer in line for his first career NHRA No. 1 qualifier. Clay Millican went 3.746 earlier in the session before Zizzo closed out the day with an impressive pass in front of a host of family and friends. Zizzo was a provisional No. 1 qualifier in 2019 in Gainesville, but it didn’t hold. This time, he’ll look to keep the No. 1 spot at his home track.

“Today has been a dream,” Zizzo said. “You have the opportunity to do all kinds of things in this world, but to do this with friends and family is really special. We have worked really hard to get this done and it means a lot.

“I have to say that Don Schumacher was riding along with me today. He was instrumental in the success of this team. We don’t race as much as I’d like but I have confidence that when the car runs, every nut and bolt is right. My crew is all volunteer, but they’ve all been with me for a long time and I have complete confidence in them.”

Millican’s 3.746 at 332.84 has him second, while defending world champion Doug Kalitta sits third after going 3.750 at 332.84.

Funny Car points leader Austin Prock is searching for his first career victory at Route 66 Raceway and that journey got off to a good start on Friday, going 3.907 at 332.43 in his 11,000-horsepower Cornwell Tools Chevrolet Camaro SS to take the No. 1 spot. Prock made the best run in each session, slipping past Bob Tasca to close out the evening in the Funny Car category. Should that hold, Prock would pick up his fourth No. 1 qualifier in six races this season, another impressive mark in Prock’s first Funny Car season.

“It definitely feels good, especially after Charlotte where we weren’t happy,” Prock said. “We didn’t race smart in Charlotte and it cost us. Here, we made two great runs. I’m getting more seat time and we changed a few components on the car as far as steering. This is just my sixth race, but I’d say I’m more comfortable in the Funny Car. From day one, I’ve been saying I’m oddly comfortable in there. Don’t get me wrong. This thing is a beast and anyone who tells you otherwise is crazy, but I feel really good right now.”

Tasca III is currently second thanks to a run of 3.913 at 329.91 and Paul Lee’s 3.922 at 323.13 has him third.

Looking for her 50th career national event victory this weekend, Pro Stock’s Erica Enders took back the provisional No. 1 spot to close out the day at Route 66 Raceway, going 6.548 at 209.69 in her Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage/Melling Performance/Scag Power Equipment car. Should that hold, Enders would earn her second No. 1 this season and the 36th in her career. The defending and six-time world champ also made her selection for Saturday’s GETTRX Pro Stock All-Star Callout, selecting longtime rival and No. 2 seed Greg Anderson.

Dallas Glenn called out Troy Coughlin Jr., followed by Aaron Stanfield selecting Matt Hartford as his first-round opponent. The other matchup features Cristian Cuadra against Deric Kramer, and Enders is excited for Saturday’s bonus race.

“We went to Tulsa to test this week because it’s no secret that we’ve been struggling a bit and this race is very important to me for a number of reasons,” Enders said. “I have a lot of great memories here. Obviously, it’s where I got my first win and to think I could also get my 50th would be amazing. I know it’s a tall order but it’s what we’re shooting for.”

 “Our team talked strategy (for the Callout). We eventually decided to take Greg, and our thinking was go big or go home. When you think about it, Greg and I have battled for the top spot for the last ten years or more and I expect we’ll go back and forth until the end of our careers.”

Coughlin is currently second in qualifying with a 6.554 at 209.75 and Anderson is right behind after his run of 6.554 at 208.78.

Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Matt Smith impressed during both sessions to kick off the weekend, making the quickest run each time, including a Friday-best 6.708 at 201.40 on his Denso Auto Parts/Matt Smith Racing Buell. It was a solid step forward for the six-time world champ, who is looking to snap Gaige Herrera’s class-record streak of 11 No. 1 qualifiers. Smith is off to a strong start with that, getting close to the 6.60s with his second run on Friday. It would also be Smith’s 53rd top qualifier if it holds up.

"I think we’re running well and we’ve made this bike very competitive,” Smith said. “Our goal is to just keep getting better and hats off to this whole team for the progress we’ve made. We’re learning and we’ll keep trying to improve.

“We’ve been working hard and testing to get out sixty-foot times better. I had a 1.05 in Charlotte and the bike wouldn’t shift and I had a 1.05 here on Q1. We put some power in it and it stuck. Really, our goal is just to make our program better.”

Herrera, who has won seven consecutive races, is current second with a run of 6.745 at 200.17, and LE Tonglet is third thanks to a run of 6.772 at 200.44.

Qualifying continues at 11:40 a.m. CT on Saturday at the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance at Route 66 Raceway. The first round of the GETTRX Pro Stock All-Star Callout starts at 11:30 a.m. CT on Saturday, with the semifinals to follow at 1:45 p.m. and the finals at 2:55 p.m.


FRIDAY QUALIFYING RESULTS

JOLIET, Ill. -- Friday's results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 24th annual Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance at Route 66 Raceway, sixth of 20 events in the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.

Top Fuel -- 1. T.J. Zizzo, 3.735 seconds, 331.77 mph; 2. Clay Millican, 3.746, 332.84; 3. Doug Kalitta, 3.750, 332.84; 4. Shawn Langdon, 3.771, 332.10; 5. Shawn Reed, 3.772, 324.51; 6. Antron Brown, 3.775, 331.36; 7. Steve Torrence, 3.776, 336.65; 8. Tony Schumacher, 3.779, 328.22; 9. Dan Mercier, 3.779, 325.14; 10. Billy Torrence, 3.780, 330.63; 11. Jasmine Salinas, 3.798, 320.28; 12. Josh Hart, 3.803, 319.98; 13. Cody Krohn, 3.824, 319.75; 14. Justin Ashley, 3.840, 318.77; 15. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.847, 320.20; 16. Tony Stewart, 3.877, 320.58.

Not Qualified: 17. Doug Foley, 3.889, 275.11; 18. Krista Baldwin, 4.001, 255.00; 19. Luigi Novelli, 4.139, 291.89; 20. Brittany Force, 4.296, 190.19; 21. Travis Shumake, 5.959, 109.54.

Funny Car -- 1. Austin Prock, Chevy Camaro, 3.907, 332.43; 2. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.913, 329.91; 3. Paul Lee, Dodge Charger, 3.922, 323.12; 4. John Force, Camaro, 3.930, 326.95; 5. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota GR Supra, 3.936, 330.55; 6. Ron Capps, GR Supra, 3.939, 327.90; 7. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.953, 314.75; 8. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.957, 319.90; 9. Daniel Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.962, 321.58; 10. Chad Green, Mustang, 3.963, 312.86; 11. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.012, 322.27; 12. J.R. Todd, GR Supra, 4.062, 314.46; 13. Buddy Hull, Charger, 4.092, 315.49; 14. Bobby Bode, Mustang, 4.095, 311.63; 15. Dave Richards, Toyota Camry, 4.318, 222.91; 16. Jack Wyatt, Charger, 5.866, 123.62.

Not Qualified: 17. Justin Schriefer, 6.588, 102.59.


Pro Stock -- 1. Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.548, 209.69; 2. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.554, 209.75; 3. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.554, 208.78; 4. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.559, 209.23; 5. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.563, 208.14; 6. Cristian Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 6.572, 208.88; 7. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.583, 208.07; 8. Jerry Tucker, Camaro, 6.584, 208.81; 9. David Cuadra, Mustang, 6.588, 208.97; 10. Eric Latino, Camaro, 6.590, 208.55; 11. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.592, 208.65; 12. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Camaro, 6.595, 208.17; 13. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.596, 209.69; 14. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.605, 208.59; 15. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.606, 856.05; 16. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.623, 208.39.

Not Qualified: 17. John DeFlorian Jr., 7.019, 206.83; 18. Sienna Wildgust, 10.962, 81.46.


Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.708, 201.40; 2. Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.734, 23.45; 3. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.772, 200.44; 4. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.778, 200.26; 5. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.782, 200.95; 6. John Hall, Beull, 6.823, 199.05; 7. Chase Van Sant, Suzuki, 6.827, 197.54; 8. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.838, 130.78; 9. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 6.862, 196.10; 10. Richard Gadson, Suzuki, 6.875, 197.86; 11. Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 6.890, 194.13; 12. Ron Tornow, Victory, 6.894, 196.96; 13. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.948, 193.32; 14. Jianna Evaristo, Buell, 7.065, 195.90; 15. Wesley Wells, Suzuki,

7.237, 185.51; 16. Eiji Kawakami, EBR, 7.408, 184.60.

Not Qualified: 17. Lance Bonham, 7.409, 179.80.

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