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Despite Disappointing First Round Loss at Pomona, TJ Zizzo Sees Positives of 2010

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Drag Racing Topics:  TJ Zizzo, Auto Club NHRA Nationals

Despite Disappointing First Round Loss at Pomona, TJ Zizzo Sees Positives of 2010

Brandon W. Mudd
Zizzo Racing
November 14, 2010

TJ Zizzo
TJ Zizzo is the driver of the PEAK/Herculiner NHRA Full Throttle Series Top Fuel dragster and his family-owned team is based in Lincolnshire, Ill. TJ has raced his entire life and runs Zizzo Enterprises, Inc., when he's not racing. He and his wife, Jen, have two children -- Maddie and Nick -- and spends what little free time he has golfing and riding motorcycles. Follow TJ on Twitter at Twitter.com/TJZizzo and on Facebook at Facebook.com/TJZizzo.


Owner: Tony Zizzo
Crew Chief: Mike Kern
Clutch Specialist: Tony Smith
Utilities/Tires: Mike Adams
Public Relations: Cathie Gallo
Cylinder Heads: Rick Dale
Car Chief: Rick Messmore
Bottom End/Motor Assembly: Ryan Ramos
Clutch/Car Assembly: Chris Schneider
Cylinder Head (right): Joe Cluts
Utility: Doug Wikell
Public/Media Relations: Brandon W. Mudd


Brandon W. Mudd

POMONA, Calif. – While it’s safe to say a first-round loss in Sunday’s Auto Club NHRA Finals is not how TJ Zizzo and the PEAK/Herculiner NHRA Full Throttle Series Top Fuel team wanted to end their 2010 season, their limited-schedule campaign has had several positives. Career firsts for the Illinois native include qualifying for every event he has entered (seven) and career highs in qualifying position (sixth), ET (3.85), and top speed (312 mph).

“What a wonderful season we’ve had,” Zizzo said in his pit after the loss to Cory McClenathan. “From qualifying 16th, 15th, maybe 14th, to qualifying in the top half of the field, we’ve had an awesome season. We’ve really learned a lot about this racecar. Went to Atlanta and really capitalized on that and went to Chicago and showed our strengths. Went to Indy and kept on running good.”

Most importantly, Zizzo and his tight-knit team, led by his father, team owner Tony Zizzo, and crew chief Mike Kern, have bonded more than ever and are ready for the ’11 season, which will start here in February. “We’ve learned a lot as a team, I’ve learned a lot as a driver; what a wonderful, wonderful season. To be here at Pomona and Vegas, all the places we’ve gone this year, how exciting.

“We’re here in Pomona and what a wonderful place to race,” Zizzo continued. “We learned a lot about this race track so when we come back in February, I know darned well what we’re going to do, so it’s a wonderful situation.”

The PEAK/Herculiner Top Fuel dragster ran a 3.933 ET at 308.64 mph against Cory Mac, but the lame-duck Don Schumacher Racing driver was able to top that with his run of 3.866/313.44 mph. “It was a tough first-round loss at Pomona, but we still ran well,” Zizzo said. “I performed well, the team did well, we’ll all be back here next year and we’re looking forward to every minute of it.”

At the top levels of motorsports, it takes more than talent behind the wheel and skill at tuning an engine to win; it takes great sponsors and Zizzo Racing has some of the best. “PEAK Anti-Freeze, PEAK Oil, Herculiner Bedliners, O’Reilly Auto Parts, we’ve had a lot of great people around us,” said Zizzo. “I appreciate every single one of our marketing partners, big and small. They’re wonderful people. Without them, we wouldn’t be here.

“Our PEAK/Herculiner car has a lot of potential and we’re going to work on it this winter and we’re really, really going to have a good car to come out strong with next year and capitalize on that.”

Zizzo Racing kicks off the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Series season at Auto Club Raceway for the 51st Annual Winternationals Feb. 24-27. For more information, visit NHRA.com.

Fans of TJ Zizzo and Zizzo Racing can find updates and photos of the PEAK/Herculiner Top Fuel team by checking out ZizzoRacing.com, Twitter.com/ZizzoRacing, and Facebook.com/ZizzoRacing. Videos of TJ and Zizzo Racing can be found at YouTube.com/TJZizzo.


About Zizzo Racing:
This year marks Zizzo Racing's 30th year in drag racing. Based in Lincolnshire, Ill. and owned by Tony Zizzo, started racing in 1980 in the Top Alcohol Dragster class, moving to nitro 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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