TJ Zizzo Joliet Final Report

Route 66 Raceway

Zizzo Earns Upset Round Win at Home Against Massey

TJ “David” Zizzo came in to Sunday at Route 66 Raceway qualified 16th, facing top qualifier Spencer “Goliath” Massey. Massy, by the way, had 40 consecutive runs without any problems, going A-to-B perfectly.

T. J.. Zizzo in his Peak Performance Top Fuel Dragster
T. J.. Zizzo in his Peak Performance Top Fuel Dragster

Photo by: Ted Rossino

Forty-one wasn’t meant to be.

Zizzo and the PEAK Motor Oil/Herculiner NHRA Full Throttle Series Top Fuel team earned a popular upset win in Round 1 of eliminations at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals against the heavily-favored Massey, who smoked the tires during the pass. It was the first time the two have been paired against one another in NHRA competition.

“We’re No. 16 qualifier this weekend,” said Zizzo, a native of nearby Lincolnshire, Ill. “We didn’t expect to do that. We expect to be middle of the pack somewhere, we’re a middle-of-the-pack team. Then you have to go up against Spencer Massey. Great driver, great team. I knew it was going to be a tough race. I knew we were going to need a touch of luck.

“The thing is, we create our own luck. We went A-to-B and that’s what you have to do on a hot, slimy track. It was a great, great feeling, crossing that finish line and seeing that win light. It felt great.”

Zizzo’s father, team owner and former Top Alcohol dragster pilot Tony Zizzo, echoed his son’s sentiments and was visibly pleased with the efforts of his team. “I think it’s fantastic,” he said while helping the team tear down the car. “Everyone did a great job on the car. We needed that. Everyone said, ‘Yeah, yeah, Massey’s due to lose,’ but you know what, we need this win to pump us up a little bit. We don’t need it, we deserve it. That’s how I look at it. We deserved everything we got today.”

Unfortunately, the potential Cinderella story was halted in the second round against Team Kalitta driver David Grubnic, who went on to the class finals later in the day. Once again, Zizzo was facing a driver he had never raced before.

“The second round came along and we had to replace an engine,” Zizzo said. “We turned the car around well, the team worked together well like they always do. We got up there, we had Grubnic, we had lane choice, and we just didn’t do exactly what we planned to do. So we went out there and rattled the tires. We learned a lot and we’ll put that towards Indy and we’re looking forward to it.”

By: zizzo racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers David Grubnic , Spencer Massey
Tags chicago, joliet, nhra, route 66 raceway, top fuel, zizzo