Rome wasn’t built in a day, but for TJ Zizzo and his Rust-Oleum Top Fuel dragster team, they are working to build Rome a bit faster. The Chicago-based driver and team owner entered race day for the NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway in the No. 13 spot, falling to Justin Ashley in round one, who is currently No. 4 in points in the Countdown for the Championship.
“This is a tough sport,” said Zizzo. “You can’t make any mistakes and you don’t get any do overs. The challenges make it very rewarding, but when things don’t go your way, it is tough. I have to thank everyone on this Rust-Oleum team for all their hard work here and at the shop.”
In his fifth race of the 2023 Camping World Drag Racing season, Zizzo made his second quickest pass ever during round two of qualifying, at 3.814 seconds and 326.40 mph.
“What we need is more track time,” said Zizzo. “At Indy we got five qualifying runs and that really helped us. We made two great runs that we are happy with, but it would have been better if we could have made one more. This weekend with only three total qualifying runs, it makes it hard to get a good race day tune up even with a great crew chief like Mike Kern.”
Zizzo has made a fierce return to the sport this season, after taking the 2022 season off. He is now more dialed in than ever to improve his team, compete in more races and get additional sponsorship dollars.
“I love this sport more now than I ever have,” said Zizzo. “I’ve got the support of friends and family behind me, as well as the fantastic guys at Rust-Oleum. I want to be out here more and that is what our plan is moving forward. If we want to win races, we need to come to more races.”
Over the next few weeks, Zizzo and his team will be back in their shop, making improvements to the car and evaluating the data they collected in St. Louis. The Chicago native will be back in competition for the NHRA Nevada Nationals in Las Vegas at the end of October.
“We are going to get ready for Vegas which should be a good race for us,” said Zizzo. “There we’ll be able to make four qualifying runs and the conditions will be more consistent. I love being in St. Louis and racing the best Top Fuel teams. This weekend has always been one of my favorite races. Everyone here was amazing, especially on Saturday with the sold-out crowd. I’m hoping we’ll get that again at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.”
Zizzo and the Rust-Oleum Top Fuel team will be back in action at the Nevada Nationals from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, October 26-29.