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Zizzo Has Frustrating Day 2 at Indy After Two Boomers

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

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

Zizzo Has Frustrating Day 2 at Indy After Two Boomers

Brandon Mudd
High Side Media
Zizzo Racing
September 4, 2015


Brandon W. Mudd

Zizzo Racing Zizzo Racing Zizzo Racing
INDIANAPOLIS—After losing a round of NHRA Mello Yello Series qualifying Friday at Lucas Oil Raceway due to rain, the Chevrolet Performance NHRA US Nationals resumed Saturday. Unfortunately for TJ Zizzo and the Rust-Oleum Top Fuel team, two broken engines have left the Chicago-based crew on the outside looking in after passes of 4.080 seconds and 4.452 seconds for Q2 and Q3, respectively. The two laps have Zizzo sitting at No. 17 going into the final day of quals Sunday.

“Frustrated right now," he said after the second pass of the day. "It’s a simple word that I can use right now, I’m frustrated. You get behind the wheel of one of these cars and you have all the confidence in the world that everyone on your team has put everything together well and all is well.

"That's still is the case, but it seems like half the runs I’ve made since Indy last year are balls of fire. That last one, we broke a crankshaft I believe. Where does that come from? When does this end? It’s just become too costly and too ridiculous."

But Zizzo understands the importance of making the field at the Big Go, a field that, right now, sees drivers such as Doug Kalitta and defending event champion Richie Crampton not qualified.

"But hey, we’re at the US Nationals, you try really hard to qualify and we blew up an engine today, two of them, and oiled the race track twice," he said. "It’s very frustrating and I don’t like to do that. We’ll see how tomorrow goes, but there are a lot of cars out there that aren’t qualified. It’s either feast or famine out there and there was a lot of famine out there. And that includes us.”

Three-time Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon enters Sunday as the provisional top qualifier with a pass of 3.744 seconds at 326 mph.

On a positive note, Zizzo was able to represent Rust-Oleum and the NHRA Mello Yello Series to a multitude of fans Saturday with announcer Alan Reinhart in the Top Fuel veteran's second stint as the teacher at the Nitro School. While Zizzo said there are some changes that can be made, the program is a positive one for all involved.

“Nitro School was great!" Zizzo said. I think it’s a wonderful program, I really, really do. The fans have certainly given me a lot of feedback and has said it’s been wonderful for them and that they’re learning, which is good. As simple as our sport is, it’s very complex, so we try to put it in terms that they can understand when they’re up there watching.”

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.

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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