National Dragster – On The Run Column – T.J. Zizzo
When I look back on my late 30’s I am going to question how I got everything accomplished. One thing that will stick out is how many people were willing to lend a hand no matter what project I had in front of me.
My dad and I purchased our race shop one week after the NHRA Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. We had been renting it for two years and it is nice to know that the building is finally ours. Since then we have been working on making the building better and moving our body shop as well. Of course, both my dad and I wanted everything done yesterday and we have learned that things take longer than expected and we need to be patient.
On top of running Zizzo Enterprises (our body shop), expanding our body shop business, helping my mom with some “stuff, ”working on Zizzo Racing and making sure Rust-Oleum is happy, my house has turned into a bigger project than an I have ever imagined. I recently had a guy working on my house tell me to “stop thinking” because every time I think it costs me money and time. Unfortunately, that is my personality. It is hard for me to do anything without giving it my all and weighing every available option. I am full throttle or I do not do it at all. I always tell my kids no matter what you do, do it to the best of your ability. It might not be the “best,” but as long as it is the best you can do, that is all I can ask.
Switching gears, I was very proud to roll out Rust-Oleum at the 60th Annual U.S. Nationals. They are a great American company and we have created a wonderful partnership. Rust-Oleum is a partnership that is made in heaven.
I love it because it is not just a sponsorship,it is a true business agreement. We are constantly working on projects for them at our body shop. From testing and consulting on new products, to building props for sales meeting and trade shows, we do a lot for them. We work with their marketing department and their chemists in the lab every day. The race car is an added bonus that allows Rust-Oleum and Zizzo Racing some additional exposure. They believe in me, our entire team and they enjoy the exposure that is created at an NHRA event.
The Vice President of Marketing and some of his associates were at the U.S. Nationals on Friday night checking it out. They loved seeing fans able to enter the pit area. NHRA is very special because every ticket to the event is a pit pass. It does not get any better than that! They loved seeing our entire team spending a lot of time with fans. They witnessed first-hand happy people leaving our pit area and saw families with their kids leaving with huge smiles. It is a partnership that will last for many years.
I love racing in Vegas. The weather in Chicago is starting to turn cold and blustery and the weather in Vegas is perfect, sunny and dry. We have a ton of fans in Vegas and on the west coast. It blows me away on how many come out to “the drags” to see our team compete. The term “the drags” is total west coast old school lingo and I love it. The track is awesome and the racing facility is amazing. The palm trees that line the staging lanes are second to none. Let’s not forget about the awesome flight show that flies out of Nellis Air Force base. Does it get any better than that? Fast cars, great weather a free air show and to top it off and the weather is mint.
There are many good cars that will show up in Vegas and it will be a good show for everyone. If we can come into Vegas and run as well as we have in Joliet and Indy we’ll be in good shape. Please feel free to stop by our pits and ask as many questions you want. Our team loves educating fans and racers on all aspects of our sport and especially our Rust-Oleum top fuel dragster. The goal is to qualify well, go rounds and take home a Wally.
This article could not be written if it were not for all of our team members (past and present), all of our past marketing partners, my dad, my mom, my wife, my kids, my employees, my friends, my general contractor, my friends in the automotive world, my friends in the housing industry, my friends in the pit area, my fans, all the staff at NHRA and of course our current marketing partners: Rust-Oleum, The INDAK Group, HTP America, Liberty Lake Golf Course, Tuxco Corporation, Flatout Gaskets, Mechanix Wear Gloves, Automotive Engine Specialists, Clevite Bearings, Weld Wheels, GRP Connecting Rods and Strange Engineering . I am sure I missed a few people and I apologize. We’ll see you at the drags.