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Zizzo Bad Fast at Big Go, Jumps to 7th in Saturday Qualifying at the U.S. Nationals


zizzoINDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 1 2018)  – TJ Zizzo announced to the world Saturday on a hot, greasy track that he doesn’t plan on going home after E1 Monday here at the Chevrolet Performance NHRA US Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway. Coming into Saturday, the Rust-Oleum Rocket was in 12th after hazing the tires during Friday’s only qualifying pass.

TJ Zizzo profile

TJ Zizzo

Tomorrow is always a new day.

After a solid pass of 3.928 seconds at 289.63 mph in the second round, which earned the team a bonus point for being fourth-quick, crew chief Mike Kern worked his motor magic. His voodoo gave Zizzo a car that would lay down the second-quickest pass of the third round with a 3.812-second lap at 321.27 mph. The run earned TJ three more small points.

As tends to be the case, that impressive run wasn’t achieved without some drama.

“Pretty neat deal!” Zizzo said of his Q3 run. “We found out that the mag unplugged itself coming down the race track during Q2. We found that out late, right before the third round. We had to change our game plan again and some major deals went down in the pit area. We put another engine in it because we set aside the first engine to use for Race Day.That second engine did not start, so we had to swap engines at the last minute with about 25 minutes before our run and replace the bad one with the first one.

“We have a great team. We have faith in our parts, we have faith in our team members, and that’s all you need in this sport. If you have faith in your parts and faith in your team, good things happen.

TJ ZizzoQualifying Results:
Q1: 4.514 seconds at 171.05 mph
Q2: 3.928 seconds at 289.63 mph
Q3: 3.812 seconds at 321.27 mph

Mike Salinas stunned the crowd Friday night by earning provisional top qualifier with a run of 3.756 seconds at 321.04 mph in his first-ever start at the Big Go. The pass was strong enough to hold through Saturday.

The final two rounds of qualifying run Sunday at 12:45 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Eliminations are expected to commence Monday at 11 a.m.

TJ in the Media: TJ was the subject of a feature at where he discusses the team’s decision to race the Big Go. Also, produced an awesome write up of Tony Zizzo’s return to the track with the legendary Avenger!

Fans of TJ Zizzo and Zizzo Racing can find updates and photos of the Rust-Oleum Top Fuel team by checking out, Twitter at @ZizzoRacing, Instagram at @TJZizzo, and 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 for more information.