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Zizzo, Rust-Oleum Team Kick Off 2016 Season at Home

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

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

Zizzo, Rust-Oleum Team Kick Off 2016 Season at Home

Brandon Mudd
High Side Media
Zizzo Racing
7 July 2016


Brandon W. Mudd

Zizzo Racing
JOLIET, Ill.—It's a new season for Zizzo Racing and the Rust-Oleum NHRA Mello Yello Series Top Fuel team.

The Lincolnshire, Ill.-based crew makes its 2016 debut this weekend at Route 66 Raceway for the K&N Filters Route 66 NHRA Nationals and have made new goals for this year's campaign based on some struggles from last year.

One of those changes has been providing the proper amount of time for Zizzo Racing's veteran crew to provide a car that can win rounds as well as collect invaluable data.

“I don’t think we performed up to our potential as a team," Zizzo said. "That has nothing to do with our team, that has everything to do with the man that is driving. I didn’t give these guys enough time to make sure this race car was mint last year because we were working on our business, we were working on our shop, we were doing things outside of the racing world."

Now that the business-goals have been achieved, it's time to focus on the goals of the Rust-Oleum Top Fuel team. Number one on that list? No more oildowns.

"Our goal in 2016 is to not oil down the race track, so we have made a lot of changes to our procedures and to our race car to ensure that we fulfill our goal," he said. "Now it has nitro in it, so anything can happen and we know that, but we want to keep that to a minimum."

Parts have been updated, including a new fuel tank, fuel pump, and new injector just to name a few. The most important part of the preparation for this weekend's event came from their recent test here, a successful one that gave them confidence in their car, as well as some advice and instruction from some of their fellow competitors.

"There were a lot of things in the offseason that we changed to make it better to fulfill our goal of not oiling the race track," Zizzo said. "We also reached out to (Don Schumacher Racing's) Rahn Tobler, (Kalitta Motorsports') Jim Oberhofer, and Tim Wilkerson to say, ‘Hey! What can we do to make this car run better and put it together better so we don’t have issues?’

"Everyone we have reached out to has helped us with even the simple procedures, like the amount of torque we need to put our cylinder head bolts, all those things to make sure that Zizzo Racing fulfills its goal for 2016."

The objective to any and every race is to win. While Zizzo Racing very much wants that first Wally, TJ understands things take time and a rebuilt race car isn't going to run record ETs straight out the gate.

"We’re going out there to make some nice, clean runs and if we do that, we’re very knowledgeable, we’re all very experienced, and we’re all good at what we do, all 13 of us. That being said, if we go down the race track without oiling it, we will ultimately learn more and will be more competitive.”

Nitro qualifying for the K&N Filters Route 66 NHRA Nationals kicks off at 6 pm CDT Friday with the second session scheduled at 8:30. Saturday's qualifying sessions are at 4 pm & 6:45 pm with eliminations kicking off Sunday at 11 am. Fans can also catch the Rust-Oleum team on TV this weekend with qualifying shows Friday at 10 pm CDT on FS1 and Sunday at 1 am on FS2. Sunday's finals are LIVE on FS1 at 2 pm!

TJ in the Media: TJ recently traveled to Hawaii with his family and helped out a fellow racer at Maui Raceway Park. Listen to the story on PRN's Nitro Notes! Zizzo Racing's return to the NHRA circuit was also covered at CompetitionPlus.com and NHRA.com!

Meet TJ: TJ is among several NHRA stars appearing at Thursday's Nitro Nite in Joliet. For more information, click HERE!

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 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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