Missing the first five races of a season would likely affect almost any drag racing team, but for Chicago native T.J. Zizzo, the deliberate delay in starting the season works perfectly into his master plan. He and his team are, what some in the media and drag racing community have coined, a super part-time team.

Zizzo, who reached the semi-finals last season in his NHRA Route 66 Nationals debut, has visions of lightning striking twice with his Rust-Oleum Top Fuel dragster.
“Last year, we had all new equipment and had been away from the sport, so it took us some time to get our feet under ourselves,” said Zizzo, one of the most respected drivers on the tour. “We want to represent Rust-Oleum and all our sponsors to the highest level when we hit the track, so our goal in Chicago and throughout the season will be to make the most of qualifying and then give it our all on race day. This team has a lot of experience, and most importantly, we have a lot of heart.”

A fair amount of Zizzo’s 2023 success can be credited to fellow Chicago native Don Schumacher, who helped Zizzo with a new dragster for the 2023 season. Schumacher passed away last December following a courageous battle against cancer. 
“Don Schumacher is one of the major reasons Zizzo Racing is still getting to do what we love,” said Zizzo. “He was a great friend and mentor. His impact on racing and the Chicago business community was massive. I think about him every day and every time I go into the shop; I am thankful for every opportunity, every conversation, and the words of encouragement he gave me and our team over the many, many years we raced together and against each other. He was one of the iconic figures in our sport and this weekend will be a celebration of his generosity and impact.”



Zizzo’s limited schedule following the Chicago debut will continue with stops at the Norwalk Nationals, June 27-30 (Norwalk, Ohio), the historic U.S. Nationals, the iconic Norwalk Night Under Fire, August 3 (Norwalk, Ohio), August 28-September 2 (Indianapolis, Indiana) and the Midwest Nationals, September 27-29 (St. Louis, Missouri). 
“There is nothing that can compare to hitting the throttle on the Rust-Oleum Top Fuel dragster,” said Zizzo, who has raced to one final round in his Top Fuel career. “You can’t really describe it other than to say it is a handful, beautiful, powerful, and amazing all at once, and as soon as you make a 3.7-second pass, you want to get right back in the cockpit and do it again. I am looking forward to getting the season started in Chicago and talking with fans across the country about Rust-Oleum and how cool the NHRA is.”
On Saturday, May 18, Zizzo and the Rust-Oleum Rocket team will once again host a pancake breakfast on Saturday morning in their pit area for racers and fans alike.