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Career Day for Zizzo, PEAK Motor Oil Team in the Carolinas

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Drag Racing
Topics:  TJ Zizzo, O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA 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: Matt Blager
Utility: Doug Wikell
Public/Media Relations: Brandon W. Mudd

Career Day for Zizzo, PEAK Motor Oil Team in the Carolinas

Brandon W. Mudd
Zizzo Racing
September 16, 2011


Brandon W. Mudd

CONCORD, N.C. – The weather may not have been perfect for race fans at zMAX Dragway Friday for Day 1 of the 4th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, but it made super heroes out of several drivers. Chicago native TJ Zizzo and his PEAK Motor Oil/Herculiner Top Fuel team were able to take advantage of 75-degree track temps for their fastest-ever pass, a 316.23 mph pass in 3.860 seconds. The lap puts them solidly in the top 12 in ninth entering the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday.

“There were a lot of hotdog runs out there tonight that’s for sure,” Zizzo said after the run. “It was a hero session as (NHRA announcer) Bob Frey called it and we were right there with them. It’s fantastic. All the PEAK Motor Oil/Herculiner guys did a good job. The car was put together well. (Crew chief) Mike (Kern) and TS (clutch specialist Tony Smith) put a great clutch setup in the car. It was a nice 3.86. It was fun, no oil, a clean run.”

Kern, a second-generation racer and the longtime tuner for the Midwest-based team, said Saturday’s runs are all about improving their position, weather permitting. “For the rest of the weekend, we’ll just try to work with what we’ve got and see what the weather gives us and maybe try to improve,” he said. “We’re going to have to keep putting tires on this thing. We’re eating the tires up, that’s what happens when you have a tight track. It was a good day. The car went down the track twice, two passes in a row, so we’re happy.”

The longest-tenured member of the team with more than 20 years under his belt, Smith felt the PEAK Motor Oil/Herculiner team did exactly what they were supposed to do when it’s time to race. “We’re going to do what we always do when we come to the track and that’s try to make small improvements every run,” he said. “We made a couple changes after we got bumped out of the top 12. It feels good. We want to be in the top 12. That’s one of the goals we set every race weekend is to be in the top 12 so we can try some things on Saturday.”

Larry Dixon earned provisional top qualifier honors Friday night with a 3.784 second pass, the only ET in the .70 second range. Over in the Funny Car class, Matt Hagan made history when he became the first driver in NHRA Full Throttle Series history to run a three-second pass. The Don Schumacher Racing driver made a lap of 3.995 seconds, earning him a standing ovation from the hearty crowd.

Get Zizzo Stuff: Want some great race-used items from an NHRA Full Throttle Series Top Fuel team? Have a friend or relative who’s impossible to shop for? Look no more! Head over to the Zizzo Racing page on eBay by clicking HERE!

Fans of TJ Zizzo and Zizzo Racing can find updates and photos of the PEAK Motor Oil/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 is racing his PEAK Motor Oil/Herculiner Top Fuel dragster this weekend at zMAX Dragway in the 4th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals. Saturday’s qualifying rounds begin at Noon with Q4 at 2:30 p.m. Eliminations are expected to begin Sunday at Noon. Spectator gates open at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and 9:30 a.m. Sunday. For more information on this weekend’s event or for tickets, click HERE.


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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