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Zizzo Falls in Rd. 1 Pedalfest to Dixon at Houston

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

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

Zizzo Falls in Rd. 1 Pedalfest to Dixon at Houston

Brandon Mudd
High Side Media
Zizzo Racing
April 28, 2013


Brandon W. Mudd

TJ Zizzo
Baytown, Texas – Pedalfest.

It’s a word that makes drag racing fans giddy. Drag racing drivers? Not so much.

Round 1 of the nitro classes at Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Springnationals near Houston was full of pedalfests, a situation where drivers suffer from tire shake and have to massage the gas pedal to get their cars straight and past the finish line first.

PEAK Motor Oil NHRA Mello Yello Series Top Fuel dragster pilot TJ Zizzo qualified 12th for Sunday’s eliminations here and drew fifth-place qualifier Larry Dixon, a three-time champion. Dixon hazed his Goodyears after launching, giving Zizzo a chance for a huge round win. But then the veteran racer smoked his own tires, let off the gas, got straight, punched it again, smoked them again, and by that time, Dixon went past Zizzo for the win.

The round was indicative of what the rest of the field faced for the entirety of the first round, giving the fans a great show as the event went into live coverage on ESPN2. Zizzo said he wasn’t disappointed with his performance, but it definitely reminded him of his old days, pre-NHRA.

“What pops into my mind is the days of the IHRA,” he said, taking a break from helping his team tear down the car. “We raced IHRA forever on tracks that were marginal. But the heat and the humidity and the great power we’ve had down here…the track can’t be blamed. It’s just what you get. It rained all night and washed all the rubber off the track.

“When our PEAK Motor Oil dragster started to shake, I should have stepped off the gas because I felt it shake. In the past, it’s shook but we were able to drive through it, so I didn’t step off the gas. But not stepping off the gas and expecting to drive through it caused the tires to shake and when I stepped back on it, it caused it to smoke the tires too much.”

After missing their first two events of the 2013 season, Zizzo Racing has had strong showings at the next two; last weekend at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte, N.C., and this weekend. The Chicago native sees the team’s progress as a situation that will only improve.

“Overall, our car is back,” he said. “We have a good dependable car. It’s running good. Even with all the pedaling we did, all eight cylinders stayed lit. The parts looked good, our performance is looking good, and everyone’s feeling good about the accomplishments we’ve made in the last couple weeks.”

Fans of TJ Zizzo and Zizzo Racing can find updates and photos of the PEAK Motor Oil team by checking out ZizzoRacing.com, Instagram.com/ZizzoPEAK, Twitter.com/TJZizzo, and Facebook.com/TJZizzo.

Zizzo Racing and the PEAK Motor Oil Top Fuel dragster will race next at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., for the 44th Annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals May 31-June 2. Nitro qualifying is Friday at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. local time and again Saturday 12:45 p.m. and 3 p.m. Eliminations are scheduled to start at 11 a.m. Sunday. Fans can purchase tickets for this event by clicking 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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