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Big Momentum at the Big Go for Zizzo

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Drag Racing
Topics:  TJ Zizzo, Mac Tools U.S. 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

Big Momentum at the Big Go for Zizzo

Brandon W. Mudd
Zizzo Racing
August 30, 2011


Brandon W. Mudd

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. – At his home race at Route 66 Raceway in June, Chicago native TJ Zizzo edged his way into the field, qualifying 16th, but made a lot of noise when his PEAK Motor Oil/Herculiner NHRA Full Throttle Series Top Fuel dragster took out No. 1 qualifier Spencer Massey in round one. The run put an end to 40-straight A-to-B runs for the Don Schumacher Racing pilot and gave Zizzo Racing a much-needed boost of confidence.

This weekend, the team heads to Indianapolis for the 57th Annual Mac Tools NHRA U.S. Nationals. The historic venue is another site where the small, family-owned team scored an upset when they beat Doug Kalitta in E1 last year on a holeshot. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, Zizzo is looking for round wins this weekend.

“We have more parts for this event than we have ever had in the past,” Zizzo said, taking a break from working on the PEAK Motor Oil/Herculiner rail with his team. “(Crew Chief) Mike Kern had a wish list for Indy and we were able to accommodate half the items he had on his list. We have more ammunition than any other race in our Top Fuel career.”

The history of the Big Go is legendary within the sport of drag racing and the Zizzo family has their own memories of this track. “Indy has always treated us very well,” he said. “I still remember 20 years ago when I made my first pass there in my families top alcohol dragster. How time flies when you are having fun!

“This is only our fourth race of the season, but we’re expecting it to be our biggest. Anytime you can race Top Fuel at the U.S. Nationals, it’s awesome. The team is jacked. They’re looking forward to getting out of the shop and back to the track.”

Zizzo will have an additional crew member this weekend. Kyle Keck, a longtime friend of the team, is making his way from Oklahoma to attend his first-ever U.S. Nationals. TJ surprised Kyle earlier this year by showing up at his high school graduation. “Kyle Keck is a friend of mine from Tulsa, Okla. Check out www.KyleKeck.com. He is attending his first U.S. Nationals along with his dad and a friend and he is very excited.”

This weekend begins a stretch where the team will get to spend a lot of time at the drag strip. In addition to Indy, Zizzo Racing will compete at three of the final six races of the season (Concord, N.C., Las Vegas; and Pomona, Calif.).

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 will race his PEAK Motor Oil/Herculiner rail in the 57th Annual Mac Tools NHRA U.S. Nationals in Clermont, Ind. The NHRA Full Throttle Series will have an additional day of qualifying for a total of five rounds with finals being run on Labor Day (Monday). Nitro qualifying is expected to kick off Friday at 7 p.m. ET. Quals resume Saturday at 4 p.m. and again on Sunday at Noon. Eliminations are scheduled for Monday at 11 a.m. For more information on the event or for tickets, visit NHRA.com.


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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