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Zizzo Racing in a Lone Star State of Mind

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Drag Racing
Topics:  TJ Zizzo, O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals

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

Zizzo Racing in a Lone Star State of Mind

Brandon W. Mudd
Zizzo Racing
April 26, 2011


Brandon W. Mudd

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. – Racers race and when they don’t, they tend to get, well, cranky.

“It’s been a long time since Pomona,” said PEAK Motor Oil/Herculiner Top Fuel pilot TJ Zizzo. “Do I remember how to drive a 300-mph fire-breathing beast?”

The question is rhetorical, but Zizzo Racing is champing at the bit to get back on the track. This weekend’s NHRA Full Throttle Series event at Royal Purple Raceway is just what the doctor ordered.

In years past, Houston and the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals represented the team’s first race of the season. Zizzo Racing kicked off its 2011 campaign at Pomona this year, so it’s a hungry team with a race under its belt arriving at Baytown this week.

“The team is fired up,” Zizzo said. “This year we got our first race out of the way at Pomona. Because we don’t test, that first race of the season is nice to get out of the way so we can be a little more aggressive at the next event.”

In conjunction with this weekend’s event, Royal Purple Raceway and the Houston Astros have joined together for “NHRA Night at the Ballpark” Thursday night a Minute Maid Field. The Astros will face ten-time World Series champs and current National League Central leaders, the St. Louis Cardinals. Defending event Funny Car winner Matt Hagan is scheduled to throw the ceremonial first pitch at approximately 7:05 p.m. and a number of NHRA drivers, including Zizzo, will be on-hand for an autograph session.

“The baseball game will be fun,” said Zizzo, a Chicago native. “I have not been to a professional MLB game in at least ten years. Astros and St. Louis; hopefully the Astros kick the Cardinals’ butt. I am a sotto Cubs fan.”

Meet TJ:The pilot of the PEAK/Herculiner NHRA Full Throttle Series Top Fuel dragster will be at the O’Reilly Auto Parts location at 7416 Garth Rd., in Houston Thursday at 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Zizzo will also appear at the O’Reilly Auto Parts store at 3029 North Main St., at 12:45-2 p.m.

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 event at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas at the 23rd Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals. The first round of qualifying is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. local time Friday with the second round expected to start at 6 p.m. The final two rounds of qualifying for the Nitro classes are scheduled to begin at 11:45 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. local time Saturday. Finals kick off Sunday at 11 a.m. immediately following pre-race ceremonies. Spectator gates for all three days of racing open at 7:30 a.m. For information about the event or to purchase tickets, visit RoyalPurpleRaceway.com or call 281-383-7223.

Zizzo Racing Fast Facts:

  • Zizzo has piloted the PEAK/Herculiner Top Fuel dragster in the NHRA Full Throttle Series since 2003.
  • Zizzo’s career-best ET is 3.851 (1000 ft.) achieved in 2010 at the U.S. Nationals at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Clermont, Ind. His career-best speed is 314.24 mph (1000 ft.) which also came in last year’s U.S. Nationals.
  • The highest qualifying effort for TJ and Zizzo Racing was sixth, earned last season at the second race at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.
  • The 23rd Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals is Zizzo’s fourth race here. In last year’s event, he qualified 12th and fell in the first round to Cory McClenathan.


    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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