400 Thunder Pro Alcohol racer Peter Zelow has a pre-race attitude that takes “being-in-the-zone” to a whole new level! He seems to have a zen-like approach, and is incredibly relaxed before he races, sharing that his race day routine is to “get in early and relax. Many times I have fallen asleep waiting in the staging lanes sitting in the dragster.”
And it’s no wonder this guy is relaxed. Peter is winding up the sale of his well-known travel goods and handbags business, which may leave him with a fair bit of spare time on his hands for racing and other life-enhancing pursuits.
Drag racing is a sport that is incredibly close to his heart, having been involved on a competitive level since 1996, and attending the sport as a spectator before then from the mid 80’s. Now that’s commitment!
Peter’s first car was a rear engine dragster that he purchased via an ad in the Trading Post newspaper. He raced this at Willowbank in the Modified Eliminator bracket. He was the first member of his family to become involved in the sport.
Away from drag racing, Peter is involved in Property Maintenance and he shared with us “I’m also involved in another straight-line sport, Rowing. I’m the President of the Pine Rivers Rowing Club on the North side of Brisbane, and row in Master’s events.”
On race day Peter is joined by family. “Both my wife and brother work on the dragster at every race meeting and have done so since the first race meeting back in 1996. Both my brothers and my future sons-in-law are part of my crew as well.”
Peter loves the “team aspect” of racing a Pro Alcohol car. “Running a bracket like Pro Alcohol requires surrounding yourself with a great team, and I really enjoy that. It’s also a spectacular bracket, with the high revs on the start line, and driver having to manually change gears.”
He shared a little about his current ride “It’s a 2009 Spitzer race car from USA. Spitzers had built me two previous dragsters that I raced in Modified and Comp, and I was looking at having Mike build me another.”
But as he was waiting for the quote to come through he noticed an advert out of the USA that was offering a Spitzer Dragster for sale. “After making enquiries, it turned out it was the Harker Family Dragster that had only been to 2 race meetings.
So a deal was done. Diane Harker and her now husband, John Bojec, stored the Dragster at their business in the US (Speed City), and over the next 8 months or so I slowly purchased all the running gear.”
The dragster was shipped to Brisbane complete and ready to race. “The engine is an MBR (Miner Bros Racing), and after looking at the Australian Pro Alcohol rules we wanted to run as much boost as possible, and that meant we had to go with more cubes. Hence we have put together a 508 cubic inch engine, which is big compared to most other dragster engines in Australia. That allows me to run the Supercharger a little harder, but it also means it is a very heavy dragster. The rules penalize you; the bigger the engine, the more weight you have to have.”
With the help and guidance of the previous owners, Zelow has his own engine program with this car. His PB is 5.63 @ 249mph.
We get the feeling that it’s a very exciting time for this team. Looking to the future we asked Peter what Peter Zelow Racing are now looking for, performance-wise. “My team and I have been around drag racing for a long time, however the step up from running a naturally aspirated engine with an automatic transmission to the Alcohol bracket is huge. The phrase ‘we have all the gear but no idea’ was certainly the moto 4 or 5 meetings ago when we first started racing in Pro Alcohol. We feel we are just finally figuring out what that dragster needs to get it down the track, and we will continue to keep stepping things up every race meeting we attend. We are certainly looking at stepping up into the 5.5’s but most importantly doing it without hurting parts.”
At next weekend’s Nitro Champs, their game plan for success is “to be as consistent as possible and run our first 5.5 second pass.”
There is no doubt that Peter Zelow’s focused and zen-like approach to racing means that at this year’s Nitro Champs he, his dragster and his race team will be putting on one of the best shows in the Pro Alcohol class that Sydney Dragway has ever seen. You won’t want to miss it.
400 Thunder Nitro Champs
May 7 & 8