Legendary racer John “Shorty” Miller’s racing documents are our topic of discussion.
A set of items, a driver suit, arm restraints, 2 sets of goggles, gloves, and shoes worn by 1980’s SCCA driver Jeff Jones will be examined this week.
This is a helmet worn by Kevin LePage in 1994. This style of open-faced helmet was worn by drivers for many years in NASCAR, and it was allowed because NASCAR did not want to restrict the vision of the drivers. They felt that if this helmet kept drivers from losing situational awareness and help prevent tunnel vision on some level it would keep them from getting into dangerous wrecks. Why would a driver wear a visor to help create tunnel vision? Let me explain the whole story…
So this last Sunday, I had the day off, no motorsports on TV. I had purchased a racing slick from Zizzo Racing. TJ Zizzo is the driver, he’s based in Lincolnshire Illinois, I’m based in Evanston, and my friend Matt and I went down to pick up the slick. TJ was kind enough to show me around the shop, as they prepare the car for The Toyota Nationals at Las Vegas. TJ was awesome, and I had a great time.
One of the things that I got was a visor. I’ve been wanting to get an NHRA visor from some time, and I got one that had the modification I’ve been seeing, as seen below. I asked TJ why he had this modification, and he said that he wants to focus on the task at hand. He said that drag racing drivers can notice things, birds, scoreboards, women in the crowd, etc in the car in the moments leading up to the race, and this modification helps the driver by giving him tunnel vision. Tunnel vision is seen by the majority of people as a bad thing, but in something like drag racing, where intense focus for a brief period of time is a mandate, tunnel vision is a good thing. Top fuel dragsters have 10,000 horsepower and can go from 0 to 325 mph in less than 3 seconds.When you are behind the wheel of a car with that much power, you need to focus on the race as much as possible. TJ wears this style of visor because, the less he can see out of the helmet, the more he can focus on the race.TJ even said that this visor is much less covered than his current version, which looks something like this…This version is not uncommon in this day in age, both Al-Anabi drivers Khalid alBalooshi and Shawn Langdon wear visors similar to this design.
I didn’t bring my camera with me, I wish I had, because I got to see the remnants of his engine from his blow up in Indianapolis. As I have a tendency to do, I’ll let the footage speak for itself…
He still has the blower drive seen flying in the video. I was amazed how heavy it was. He has one shelf in his new shop that has the pieces of the engine, and the damage suffered, from a fan’s stand point. The manifold that blew was made of solid magnesium and was heavy duty. The crankshaft in question was not only broken, but was slightly bent near the break. I wound up getting one of the rear tires from that race.
Rear tires from top fuel dragsters are 3 feet tall by 17 inches wide. I’m planning on getting a glass to and making a coffee table at some point. The level of wear on the tires is amazing, with large patches of damage from the explosion.
I also got a front tire, which is 22 inches tall, by 3 inches wide. I’m not sure when it was raced, but it does show wear and it has ZIZZO written on the tread. To give an idea the size difference between the two, here are the two of them together in my office…I’ve gotta thank TJ Zizzo and Zizzo Racing for this chance. They are a great bunch of guys, they were all very nice, GO ZIZZO!
This week’s episode features something that countless racing enthusiasts wore this Richard Petty Driving Expirence suit to race in real race cars on real tracks.
A replica Bobby Labonte suit from his days with Ask.com in 2009, which has been made by Simpson