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Zizzo to Face Kalitta in Texas Showdown After Qualifying 7th

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 to Face Kalitta in Texas Showdown After Qualifying 7th

Brandon W. Mudd
Zizzo Racing
April 30, 2011


Brandon W. Mudd

BAYTOWN, Texas – It was a tale of two drag strips at Royal Purple Raceway this weekend for the 24th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals. Friday’s weather conditions were near ideal, allowing TJ Zizzo to race the PEAK Motor Oil/Herculiner NHRA Full Throttle Series Top Fuel dragster down the track in 3.885 seconds at 314.90 mph. Saturday was a completely different set of circumstances as it was hot, muggy, overcast, and humid all day. Zizzo, along with many in the class, made less-than-satisfying passes in both rounds, unable to finish either under power.

Zizzo, qualifying seventh on the strength of Friday’s 3.88, faces Doug Kalitta in the first round of eliminations on Sunday. Kalitta, a 32-time Top Fuel winner, is one of the top racers in the class and a driver highly respected by everyone at Zizzo Racing. But those same crew members are hoping for a replay of the first round of last year’s U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis when Zizzo took the upset win thanks to a holeshot.

“Doug is always one of the fastest cars out there and we know we’re going to have a race on our hands,” Zizzo said immediately following qualifying. “Getting that win against him at Indy last year was awesome, but that was a long time ago and we can’t live in the past.

“The weather was brutal today and the track just wasn’t holding much. It wasn’t just us, either. When (Larry) Dixon and (Tony) Schumacher have problems making passes, that says something. But I have faith in (crew chief) Mike Kern and our PEAK Motor Oil/Herculiner team. Our time has come and we’re here to win some rounds.”

Remaining low qualifier in Top Fuel is Schumacher, the 63rd time in his storied career he has earned that honor. He, too, struggled with the track conditions and his pole-winning ET of 3.817 seconds is from Friday’s second round.

Finals kick off Sunday at 11 a.m. immediately following pre-race ceremonies. Spectator gates open at 7:30 a.m. For information about the event or to purchase tickets, visit RoyalPurpleRaceway.com or call 281-383-7223.

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:
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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