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First Run of ’11 for Zizzo Ends With a Provisional 7th-Place Effort

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Drag Racing Topics:  TJ Zizzo, Kragen O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals

First Run of ’11 for Zizzo Ends With a Provisional 7th-Place Effort

Brandon W. Mudd
Zizzo Racing
February 24, 2011

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. – The 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Series season started Thursday at Auto Club Raceway under cloudy skies and cool temps. The weather for the next two days of qualifying for the 51st Annual Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals could be a factor in whether or not the teams here for the beginning of NHRA’s 60th season get another chance to get into Sunday’s eliminations. The runs were critical and TJ Zizzo and his PEAK Motor Oil/Herculiner Top Fuel team, led by crew chief Mike Kern, rose to the challenge, laying down a lap of 3.87 seconds at 312.57 mph. The run was good for seventh spot on the provisional chart.

“Wow! What a way to kick off the season!” Zizzo said while helping his team during post-qualifying teardown. “We left here last November running in the high .80s and we started this year with a 3.87. Went down the track, looked up at the scoreboard, I can do that at 312 miles per hour, and said, ‘Huh, 3.87, that’s pretty cool!’”

In addition to making the first pass of the season, the PEAK Motor Oil/Herculiner team had another reason to be excited Thursday. A new paint scheme, created by legendary drag racing artist Kenny Youngblood, was unveiled prior to Q1 and was immediately lauded by both media and fans. The design, to be run by Zizzo Racing for the entire 2011 season, celebrates Youngblood’s 45 years in the sport. Both the car and the team’s uniforms will feature a special logo honoring a man many consider to be the best in his field.

“The coolest part of that run was when I started, I hiked the front end up and all I saw was Kenny Youngblood’s (famous painting) ‘Beyond 300’ on my car,” Zizzo said. “I thought that was fantastic. I saw the whole top of the car, Kenny’s amazing artwork, all at probably 150 miles per hour at that point.”

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.

Zizzo will race his PEAK/Herculiner rail in the NHRA Full Throttle Series’ season opener at the Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif., at the 51st Annual Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals. The second round of qualifying is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. local time, Friday, Feb. 25. The final two rounds of qualifying for the Nitro classes are expected to start at 11:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. local time. Finals kick off Sunday at 11 a.m. immediately following pre-race ceremonies. For information about the event or to purchase tickets, visit NHRA.com or call 800-884-NHRA (6472).


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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