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Career Best For Zizzo in Wine Country Debut Puts PEAK Team in Top Half of the Field

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Drag Racing Topics:  NHRA Sonoma Nationals

Career Best For Zizzo in Wine Country Debut Puts PEAK Team in Top Half of the Field

Brandon Mudd
High Side Media
Zizzo Racing
July 27, 2013


Brandon W. Mudd

TJ Zizzo
SONOMA, Calif. – TJ Zizzo and the PEAK Motor Oil NHRA Mello Yello Series Top Fuel team were looking forward to competing at Sonoma Raceway for many reasons. The team had never raced here, the Bruton Smith-owned facility is among the most beautiful in the sport, the surrounding area is postcard perfect, and, oh yeah, cars are fast here.

After running a 3.903-second ET in the first round of qualifying for this weekend’s NHRA Sonoma Nationals, Zizzo took advantage of near-flawless weather and track conditions, along with some tweaks in the clutch setup, to run career bests in both ET (3.821 seconds) and mph (319.37 mph). The team is eighth on the ladder going into Day 2 of qualifying Saturday.

After missing the show in Chicago, the team went to work on the engine and the results were evident Friday.

“That was pretty impressive, I’ve got to tell you,” Zizzo said after qualifying. “We’ve been working on this engine for a long, long time, about a year now. It was coming around in Chicago and we knew on our last run there it needed some more clutch.

“We proceeded to work really hard on our clutch setup and our clutch special (Tony) “TS” (Smith) made sure we were going to come here with a game plan that we were going to get more clutch earlier in the run.”

PEAK Motor Oil team crew chief Mike Kern said while the team approached the unknown track the same as they do any facility, he knew night runs at Sonoma make for very quick and fast runs. “We’ve been trying to make this (car) fast for awhile and we learned some things in Chicago. Even though we didn’t qualify, we learned a lot. We used those things in the first run today and they worked, which gave us some wiggle room to be more aggressive in the second round and that worked, too.”

With the personal record, Zizzo welcomed the return of the elephant in the cockpit of his rail. “It’s the elephant that stands on your chest when those Gs hit you and I haven’t felt him on me in more than a year,” he said. “I guaranteed this year we were going to top our career bests and we did. I’m not ready to make a new guarantee just yet, but we’re close.”

Thanks to qualifying in the top 12 of the field, Zizzo’s ET will stand Saturday.

David Grubnic of Team Kalitta set a new track record in Top Fuel en route to the class top qualifier with an ET of 3.765 seconds.

Zizzo Racing and the PEAK Motor Oil Top Fuel dragster are racing in the NHRA Sonoma Nationals this weekend at Sonoma Raceway. Qualifying kicks off Saturday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Eliminations are scheduled to start Sunday at 11 a.m. For more information regarding this event, click HERE.

TJ in the Media: TJ updated his blog on NHRA.com this week and, as usual, you won’t want to miss it!

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.


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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