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Despite Improvements, Zizzo Misses the Cut at Joliet

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

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

Despite Improvements, Zizzo Misses the Cut at Joliet

Brandon Mudd
High Side Media
Zizzo Racing
June 29, 2013


Brandon W. Mudd

TJ Zizzo
JOLIET, Ill. – In every qualifying round at Route 66 Raceway for this weekend’s O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Route 66 Nationals, TJ Zizzo and the PEAK Motor Oil Top Fuel team improved their performance. As a result of rain, there was only one session Friday and Zizzo ran a 3.913-second ET. On Saturday, the PEAK rail ran ETs of 3.877 and 3.866, respectively. However, due to the cool temperatures, the Top Fuel field was incredibly fast and Zizzo qualified 17th, .003 seconds out of the final field of 16.

For the last two races here, Zizzo has been the giant killer in the NHRA Mello Yello Series Top Fuel field, taking out the No. 1 qualifiers on race day. Unfortunately for the home town racer, he will watch the race as a fan instead of suiting up to race.

“We knew it was going to be high fives or a pink slip and unfortunately, it was the latter,” said an uncharacteristically low key Zizzo after the final round of qualifying. “We had all our marketing partners here this weekend, PEAK, Indak, and our new friends at TUXCO and my alma mater Illinois State University.”

As it tends to do, losing a run due to weather can really hurt a team, especially a part-time one like Zizzo Racing. That was the case for the PEAK Motor Oil crew.

“But if we back up and look at yesterday, we haven’t had many runs this year,” he said. “When we miss a run, that really hurts a team like us. So missing that run (Friday), is really a culmination of where we are now. But we made improvements every single round, so if we had made an improvement on a second run, today would have been a cake walk.

“But to miss our hometown race is heart breaking.”

Zizzo won’t sit idle, however. He will work with NHRA’s Alan Reinhart Sunday calling the race from the PA booth.

Racing from the top qualifier position in Top Fuel Sunday is Morgan Lucas with a new track record of 3.737 seconds. He will face No. 16 qualifier Terry McMillen. Eliminations are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. local time.

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. The Southtown Star wrote about his family-run Top Fuel team and Competition Plus featured the Chicago native in their Friday Notebook.

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 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.


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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