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Zizzo Runs His Best in the West with Semi-Finals Appearance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

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

Zizzo Runs His Best in the West with Semi-Finals Appearance

Brandon Mudd
High Side Media
Zizzo Racing
August 4, 2013


Brandon W. Mudd

TJ Zizzo
KENT, Wash. – It was only a matter of time.

TJ Zizzo and his PEAK Motor Oil NHRA Mello Yello Series Top Fuel team has long been one of those sleepers that competitors keep an eye on. The talent is there, the hard work is there, all it would take is the right day. That day was Sunday at Pacific Raceways outside Seattle.

The O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals will be a great memory for Zizzo as it marked his first-ever NHRA semi-finals appearance. After qualifying 14th on the strength of a 3.861-second ET Saturday, Zizzo drew fellow Chicago native and second-generation racer Tony Schumacher. Zizzo earned the upset of the weekend by beating Sarge with a 3.843-second run to Schumacher’s 3.902.

But Zizzo wasn’t through yet, drawing Schumacher’s teammate and defending class champion, Antron Brown. The PEAK team was able to cross the line first against Brown, who smoked the tires late in the run and, for the first time in the history of Zizzo Racing, they were headed to a semi-final round in the NHRA Mello Yello Series.

“We ran a great first round against Schumacher, it was a great heads-up race,” Zizzo said. “Antron had a good car in a good lane and our team made the right decisions.”

The E3 opponent was Team Kalitta’s David Grubnic, who qualified second this weekend and it was against Grubby that Zizzo’s rail was finally defeated. Grubnic would go on to the finals to lose against last weekend’s runner-up at Sonoma, Morgan Lucas.

“I can’t say I’m happy with (a loss in the semis), but I definitely feel good about the weekend,” Zizzo said in his pit after his third run of the day. “We have to keep it going. These guys work really hard and I’m glad to give these guys a bigger bonus check than normal.”

While crew chief Mike Kern would also liked to have gone another round, he said this weekend’s success is a game changer for Zizzo Racing. “It gives us a new sense of being, I guess,” he said, smiling. “Our turnovers were quick and we were able to fire the car up twice in under 40 minutes, which is keeping up with the big teams. It’s just a great feeling to know we can do it and that we’re just as good as (the full-time teams) are.”

At the end of the day, the goal is always to finish the weekend in the Winner’s Circle hoisting a Wally, but for Zizzo and his team, the success at Pacific Raceways shows the Top Fuel class there is another racer to watch out for.

“It was a great weekend,” he said. “I wanted to do it one more time. I just wanted to turn this thing around one more time. I’m super proud of my guys. I’m super, super proud of them. When push comes to shove, we get it done. It’s pretty awesome.

“It was a great day, just wanted it to last longer.”

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 will race next at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minn., for the 32nd Annual NHRA Nationals. The first round of nitro qualifying starts at 3 p.m. local time Friday, Aug. 16, with a second round at 6 p.m. Saturday’s qualifying is at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. with Sunday’s eliminations scheduled for 11 a.m. For ticket information, 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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