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Zizzo Honored to Rep Rust-Oleum at the Big Go

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Drag Racing Topics:  TJ Zizzo, Chevrolet Performance NHRA US Nationals

Zizzo Honored to Rep Rust-Oleum at the Big Go

Brandon Mudd
High Side Media
Zizzo Racing
September 3, 2015


Brandon W. Mudd

Zizzo Racing Zizzo Racing
INDIANAPOLIS—After a strong home track showing at Route 66 Raceway earlier this summer, TJ Zizzo and the Rust-Oleum rail are ready to return to action and there's no better place to do it than the Chevrolet Performance NHRA US Nationals. Steeped in history, the Big Go is considered by both fans and teams within the NHRA Mello Yello Series to be the biggest event of the season and Zizzo is ready to come out with all eight cylinders blazing.

“Every year, I feel honored to go to Indy," he said. "It’s in the neighborhood and it’s a big race. It’s the biggest race of the season, a lot of cars show up, it usually takes one heckuva a stout run to get into the show. More than likely, we’re going to be in the show on Monday, which is pretty awesome."

Zizzo Racing introduced Rust-Oleum as their primary sponsor at this event last year and put themselves solidly in the show, qualifying 11th. Although they exited in the first round, they showed that even as a part-time, family-owned team, they were to be taken seriously. Doug Kalitta found that out the hard way here in 2010 when Zizzo beat him in E1 courtesy of a holeshot. The Rust-Oleum crew expects to both qualify well and go rounds on Monday.

While work continues on their Chicago-based shop and the family's body shop which uses Rust-Oleum products exclusively, the rest of the team has stepped up to ensure they have the best race car possible.

“I’ll tell you, I feel a little bit behind," Zizzo said. "We’ve been working diligently on our shop and when I say ‘we,’ I mean my Dad and I and a couple other people while our team members have been working on our race car and getting it prepped.

"So our crew chief Mike Kern has picked up the ball again and has worked on this car with all of our team members and got it ready to rock and roll for Indy. I will certainly be the first one in the pit area and the last one to leave because I do love this sport so much.”

In addition to putting on a show for the fans on the track, Zizzo has been tabbed by NHRA to once again host the Nitro School. The classes are held between rounds and provide fans an idea of what Top Fuel teams have to do to refurbish their cars and prepare for a round of NHRA Mello Yello Series racing.

“We’re going to go out there and represent Rust-Oleum and we’re honored to do so," he said. "We’re doing the Nitro School again, which is really cool. We did that at Joliet and we were the first to roll that out with the NHRA and Route 66 Raceway and now, to be able to do it again at Indy, is spectacular. I think it’s wonderful for the sport, NHRA, Zizzo Racing, and Rust-Oleum, and all of our other marketing partners.”

With this being the biggest race of the season, qualifying is expanded as well with five rounds instead of the usual four. Nitro quals kick off Friday with a single run scheduled for 7:30 pm EST, resuming Saturday for two sessions at 4:15 pm and 7:00. Qualifying wraps up Sunday with two rounds at 12:15 pm and 4:20. US Nationals eliminations are scheduled for Monday at 11 am. The finals are being carried live by ESPN Monday starting at 1 pm.

Zizzo Fast Facts:

Career-best ET: 3.821 seconds
Career-best mph: 321.81 mph
Indy record: 2-8
2015 record: Raced one event (Joliet), qualified 15th, lost to event winner Tony Schumacher in E1
2014 US Nationals results: Qualified 11th, lost to Bob Vandergriff in E1

Fans of TJ Zizzo and Zizzo Racing can find updates and photos of the Rust-Oleum Top Fuel team by checking out ZizzoRacing.com, Twitter at @ZizzoRacing 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 Mello Yello Series.

About Rust-Oleum:
For nearly a century, Rust-Oleum has been the global leader in manufacturing innovative coatings that empower do-it-yourselfers and professionals alike across categories including small project paints, cleaners, primers, automotive, industrial, high performance coatings and wood care. Its wide breadth of brands and products include such trusted names as Rust-Oleum, Stops Rust®, Painter’s Touch®, Krud Kutter®, Universal®, EpoxyShield®, Varathane®, Zinsser®, MultiSpec®, Testors®, Modern Masters®, and Watco®. Visit www.Rustoleum.com for more information.

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