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Giant Killer Zizzo Looking for More Hometown Success

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Drag Racing Topics:  O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Route 66 Nationals

Giant Killer Zizzo Looking for More Hometown Success

Brandon Mudd
High Side Media
Zizzo Racing
June 27, 2013


Brandon W. Mudd

TJ Zizzo
LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. – It may not be Kansas, but there’s still no place like home for TJ Zizzo and the PEAK Motor Oil Top Fuel team.

This weekend, the Chicago native races at his home, and favorite, track, Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. for the O’Reilly NHRA Route 66 Nationals. The state-of-the-art facility has seen Zizzo win rounds the last two years against two of the biggest names in the sport. In both 2011 and 2012, the second-generation racer qualified 16th and beat No. 1 qualifiers Spencer Massey (’11) and fellow Chicagoan Tony Schumacher (’12) in E1.

Looking back at last year’s victory against the seven-time NHRA Mello Yello Series, Zizzo said he would have liked to have beaten “The Sarge” in a different manner, but any win against Schumacher is a good one.

“It was a great day,” Zizzo said.” I did not like the way I beat him. He had a huge explosion and after watching the replay I was happy he was not injured. Tony and I have talked many times leading up to that event, he never hesitates when I have a driving question or have a favor to ask of him, but I’m not going to lie, it felt great!

“The first time I qualified for a race in 2004 he beat me and I had lost to him four times after that. To finally beat him was a great feeling. Anytime we beat a Don Schumacher Racing team it, is a great sense of satisfaction. DSR has great teams and any time you pull to the line, you know you need to be on your game.”

For Zizzo and his Chicagoland-based team, racing at Route 66 doesn’t feel like a home race solely because of geography; the staff there has embraced the PEAK Motor Oil team and has made him feel like he’s a part of the family.

“It is our home town track and we are lucky to have that track in our back yard,” he said. “Over the years I have become very close to most of the personnel at the track, they treat me like family. I made my first runs in top fuel at that track. My wife and kids get a chance to come to the Chicago and that makes me feel great. It is close enough where they can shoot up for the day and go back home at night. Seeing my wife and kids at the track makes me smile. Having my wife and kids at the track is something that is always missing except when I am at Chicago!”

TJ in the Media: TJ was featured on this week’s edition of PRN’s Nitro Notes as well as on NHRA.com. He was also the focus of an article talking about his recent foray into the world of road racing, the 24 Hours of LeMons.

Fans of TJ Zizzo and Zizzo Racing can find updates and photos of the PEAK/Herculiner Top Fuel 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 are racing in their backyard at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., this weekend for the NHRA Route 66 Nationals. Nitro qualifying is scheduled for Friday at 5:15 p.m. and 8 p.m. local time and again Saturday at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. The first round of eliminations is set to kick off at 11 a.m. Sunday. For tickets to the event, click HERE.

Zizzo Racing Fast Facts:

Zizzo has piloted the PEAK Motor Oil Top Fuel dragster in the NHRA Full Throttle Series since 2003.
Zizzo’s career-best ET is 3.843 (1000 ft.) achieved in 2012 in Englishtown, NJ. His career-best speed is 319.98 mph (1000 ft.) which came in Houston in 2012.
The NHRA Route 66 Nationals is the sixth race of the year for Zizzo.
This weekend is Zizzo’s hometown race as the team is based in nearby Lincolnshire, Ill. He has qualified 16th the last two races here and defeated the No. 1 qualifier both times (Spencer Massey, 2011; Tony Schumacher, 2012).


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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