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PEAK Motor Oil Dragster Crew Chief Kern Meets President Obama

Drag Racing American Government Topics:  Mike Kern, President Barack Obama

PEAK Motor Oil Dragster Crew Chief Kern Meets President Obama

Brandon Mudd
High Side Media
Zizzo Racing
March 21, 2013


Brandon W. Mudd

Chicago – On the first day of qualifying for the NHRA Gatornationals at Auto Plus Raceway in Gainesville, Fla., TJ Zizzo and the PEAK Motor Oil NHRA Mello Yello Series Top Fuel team were preparing to hit the track. Without their crew chief Mike Kern. The drag racing veteran had an excuse, however.

He was busy talking to the President of the United States, Barack Obama.

When he’s not tuning the Zizzo Racing rail, Kern is an engineering technical assistant in the Advanced Powertrain Research Facility at Argonne National Laboratory. President Obama was there to talk with staff from Argonne regarding his energy policy and Kern’s division was chosen to provide the President with a tour of the facility.

“We found out a week or so prior to the visit that he was coming,” Kern said, taking a break from going over the car after the team returned from Gainesville. “We heard a rumor that he might be coming and then it was confirmed, so we had Secret Service all over the place. It was a matter of missing the race to meet with the President or blow off the President of the United States.

“When the man comes to meet you, you meet the man regardless of your politics. He was very engaging, very interested in what we were doing. He seemed like a nice guy.”

Kern provided a dyno test for President Obama and then sat approximately 10 feet away from the fellow Chicagoland native as he was taping his weekly Web address (the President, not Kern). Kern wouldn’t know what the President said during his address, though, since he was busy doing other things.

“I was ten feet away from him and I was listening to the audiocast on NHRA.com, listening to TJ qualify and texting (crew member) Tony Smith about the car,” Kern said. “An hour later, I was in the air, on my way to Florida.”

While Kern said he is glad he was able to meet the Commander-In-Chief, if it were to happen again, he would step aside and let someone else have the opportunity. “It was an experience I’ll never forget,” he said, “but I’d rather be at the race track any time.”

The next race for Zizzo Racing and the PEAK Motor Oil Top Fuel dragster is the 4th Annual Dollar General 4-Wide Nationals at the Bellagio of Drag Strips, zMAX Dragway in Concord, NC. Nitro qualifying begins Friday at 3:15 p.m. local time and resume Saturday at 1 p.m. Saturday. Eliminations are scheduled to begin at Noon Sunday. For tickets, click HERE.


About Zizzo Racing:
Zizzo Racing has been involved in drag racing at the top levels for more than 30 years. Based in Lincolnshire, Ill. and owned by Tony Zizzo, the team started racing in 1980 in the Top Alcohol Dragster class, moving to nitro with TJ in 2004 after earning his class license. In 2007, TJ Zizzo finished second in the final IHRA standings and now competes on a part-time basis in the NHRA Full Throttle Series.

About PEAK/Old World Industries:
PEAK® Performance Products are marketed and distributed by Old World Industries, which is among the largest privately held companies competing in the automotive aftermarket. The Northbrook, Illinois based company enjoys a presence in the automotive product markets, energy exploration, and chemical manufacturing in more than 50 countries worldwide. Old World's Product offering includes PEAK® Antifreeze; PEAK® Windshield Wash and Wiper Blades; PEAK® Performance Motor Oil; a full line of PEAK® Electronics; HERCULINER® Truck Bed Liner Kits; and SIERRA®, the safer antifreeze. For more information, please visit www.peakauto.com.

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