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Zizzo Puts the Rust-Oleum Rocket 10th in Quals, Faces Todd in E1

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Drag Racing Topics:  TJ Zizzo, K&N Filters Route 66 Nationals

Zizzo Puts the Rust-Oleum Rocket 10th in Quals, Faces Todd in E1

Brandon Mudd
High Side Media
Zizzo Racing
9 July 2016


Brandon W. Mudd

Zizzo Racing Zizzo Racing
JOLIET, Ill.—At his first race of the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Series season, native Chicagoan TJ Zizzo put his Rust-Oleum Top Fuel dragster solidly in the tenth slot on the ladder Saturday with a pass of 3.805 seconds at 321.88 mph. He faces No. 7 qualifier JR Todd Sunday in the first round of eliminations for the K&N Filters Route 66 NHRA Nationals.

“It was a career-type day," Zizzo said after the final round of qualifying at Route 66 Raceway. "The car looks good. The tune up is good. What we’re doing to the race car to make improvements on performance is working.”

Zizzo has faced Todd both in IHRA and NHRA competition. “He’s beaten me, we’ve beaten him. We’ll see what happens. I have a lot of confidence going into tomorrow. (Other than Q1) the car has gone down the race track every run and performed better and better.”

The day started with Zizzo providing breakfast for his fans, NHRA officials, and media courtesy of his annual "Nitro Cakes" at 9 am at the Rust-Oleum pit. At 1, he joined NHRA announcer Alan Reinhart for another edition of "Nitro School," a popular program that provides in-depth information about the sport benefiting both new and experienced fans.

“It was killer," Zizzo said. "It’s a great program. Alan Reinhart’s a stud. He took the lead and ran with it. I remember when we would both kind of run with it, but it’s good. It’s good for the fans, it’s good for the sport, and it’s necessary. It’s a necessary deal that needs to be done and continued.”

While this weekend was the first race of the season for Zizzo and the first event for the team since last year's US Nationals, it wasn't working on the car and shooting down his home track that wore him out. Since this is his home race, the second-generation racer entertained friends and family all week and spent approximately $7,200 on tickets.

“I’m just freakin’ exhausted!" he said, laughing. "Saturdays are tough around here, man. We entertain a lot of people. We probably entertain more than some teams do who have hospitality. I’m going to get a good night’s rest, wake up in the morning and the car’s going to be a great car and we’ll see what it gives us.

John Force Racing's Brittany Force maintained the top qualifier position with the 3.692-second ET at 326.87 mph she earned during Friday evening's night session in Q2. She will face Chicago's own Golden Greek Chris Karamesines in round one of the finals Sunday, which are scheduled to begin at 11 am CDT.

Fans of TJ Zizzo and Zizzo Racing can find updates and photos of the Rust-Oleum Top Fuel team by checking out ZizzoRacing.com, Twitter at @ZizzoRacing, Instagram at @TJZizzo, and Facebook.com/TJZizzo.


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 Mello Yello Series.

About Rust-Oleum:
For nearly a century, Rust-Oleum has been the global leader in manufacturing innovative coatings that empower do-it-yourselfers and professionals alike across categories including small project paints, cleaners, primers, automotive, industrial, high performance coatings and wood care. Its wide breadth of brands and products include such trusted names as Rust-Oleum, Stops Rust®, Painter’s Touch®, Krud Kutter®, Universal®, EpoxyShield®, Varathane®, Zinsser®, MultiSpec®, Testors®, Modern Masters®, and Watco®. Visit www.Rustoleum.com for more information.

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