Yet Another Look at Driver Suit Blog Favorite TJ Zizzo

Editor’s Note: I have another project to attend to this week, so I’m going to repost a TJ Zizzo feature from last year.

By David G. Firestone

TJ Zizzo is the driver, he’s based in Lincolnshire Illinois, I’m based in Evanston, I’ve purchased a number of items from him.

One of the things that I got was a visor. When I purchased it back in 2014, I’d been wanting to get an NHRA visor from some time, and I got one that had the modification I’ve been seeing. The visor shows some light use. I asked TJ why he had this modification, and he said that he wants to focus on the task at hand. He said that drag racing drivers can notice things, birds, scoreboards, women in the crowd, etc in the car in the moments leading up to the race, and this modification helps the driver by giving him tunnel vision. Tunnel vision is seen by the majority of people as a bad thing, but in something like drag racing, where intense focus for a brief period of time is a mandate, tunnel vision is a good thing. Top fuel dragsters have 10,000 horsepower and can go from 0 to 325 mph in less than 3 seconds. When you are behind the wheel of a car with that much power, you need to focus on the race as much as possible. TJ wears this style of visor because, the less he can see out of the helmet, the more he can focus on the race. TJ even said that this visor is much less covered than his current version, which looks something like this…In 2014, at the U.S. Nationals, TJ suffered a major engine explosion. He still has the blower drive seen flying in the video. I was amazed how heavy it was. He has one shelf in his new shop that has the pieces of the engine, and the damage suffered, from a fan’s stand point. The manifold that blew was made of solid magnesium and was heavy duty. The crankshaft in question was not only broken, but was slightly bent near the break. I wound up getting one of the rear tires from that race. Rear tires from top fuel dragsters are 3 feet tall by 17 inches wide. I’m planning on getting a glass to and making a coffee table at some point. The level of wear on the tires is amazing, with large patches of damage from the explosion. TJ also signed it and personalized it to me! I also got a front tire, which is 22 inches tall, by 3 inches wide. I’m not sure when it was raced, but it does show wear and it has ZIZZO written on the tread. To give an idea the size difference between the two, here are the two of them together in my office…One of my big gets was a TJ Zizzo Peak parachute. Zizzo ran two of these chutes on the back of his dragster from 2010 to 2013., and this example is 12 feet by 12 feet. It shows a decent amount of wear, with stains and holes. There is a hole in the center that allows the chute to be deployed, and there is an inventory tag placed here as well. On the cables connecting the chute to the car, there is some extra protection. This is necessary because on top fuel dragsters, the engine is very close to the parachute attachment, and in the event of a fire, the chute will still be able to function. TJ’s example shows some wear on the silver layer. One thing that a lot of non drag racing fans don’t realize is that many drivers pack their own chutes. Race car drivers are control freaks, and so this makes sense. The logic a few drivers use is that if I mess it up, I don’t have anyone to blame for it except myself.

The pilot chute is attached here as well. Pilot chutes are universally used to deploy parachutes. When the cords are pulled, and the chute is released, the pilot chute deploys, which catches air and pulls the primary chute behind it. The chutes are strapped to a bar at the back of the car, the straps pre-covered in Nomex to prevent fire damage, then packed into a bag, before the race. I’ve discussed the importance of spark plugs, and their prevalence in the auto racing memorabilia market before, so I won’t go into that again. I will show one of TJ Zizzo’s race-used spark plugs, which he managed to autograph. Given the size of the plug, that isn’t easy to sign.Next week, I will discuss autographed die casts.

Paint Scheme Grades-April 4, 2020

By David G. Firestone

Editor’s Note, due to the cancellation of the NASCAR season through May, I will do the Paint Scheme Tracker every week, and the Paint Scheme Grades every other week. This will last until the racing season resumes, or until I run out of new schemes. DGF

Brad Keselowski #2 Money Lion Ford Mustang-This is a great looking scheme. The color scheme works with the gradient. I can’t say anything bad so I won’t. A

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s/Appalachian State University Toyota Camry-I like the look, the black M&M’s motif works well, and the car looks great. A

Kyle Busch #18 M&Ms Messages Toyota Camry-The new motif doesn’t look too bad, it’s not that different, so I will give it an A.

Martin Truex Jr. #19 SportClips Toyota Camry-Same scheme as #20, same C- grade.

Paint Scheme Grades-March 21, 2020

By David G. Firestone

Editor’s Note, due to the cancellation of the NASCAR season through May, I will do the Paint Scheme Tracker every week, and the Paint Scheme Grades every other week. This will last until the racing season resumes, or until I run out of new schemes. DGF

Quin Houff #00 UNITS Moving and Portable Storage Chevy Camaro-Love the color scheme, the design scheme is good, so I’ll give this an A.

Kevin Harvick #4 Hunt Brothers Pizza/Fields Ford Mustang-This scheme is way too over designed, and I can’t get behind it. The color scheme also clashes with the design scheme. This gets an F.

Tyler Reddick #8 Roland Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same F grade.

Aric Almirola #10 Eckrich Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Paint Scheme Grades-March 14, 2020

By David G. Firestone

Quin Houff #00 Permatex Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A- grade.

Quin Houff #00 Ashurst American Honey Chevy Camaro-An over designed mess with a mediocre color scheme will always earn an F

Tyler Reddick #8 Caterpillar MinExpo 2020 Chevy Camaro-I like this, it’s bold, not over done, and has a great color scheme. A

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry-Same scheme as last year, same B+ grade.

Ryan Blaney #12 Menard’s/Tarkett Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Kyle Busch #18 Pedigree Toyota Camry-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Kyle Busch #18 SportClips Toyota Camry-Same scheme as #20, same C- grade.

Erik Jones #20 Reser’s Fine Foods Toyota Camry-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Erik Jones #20 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry-Same scheme as #18, same F grade.

Corey LaJoie #32 MotorTrend Ford Mustang-I love the color scheme here, but the car is over designed. I think toning down the red would work better. Still, it isn’t horrible so I’ll give it a C-.

Chris Buescher #37 Velveeta Chevy Camaro-Like many great recipes, adding the extra cheese really didn’t hurt. This looks good, so I’ll give it an A.

John Hunter Nemechek #38 MDS Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same B+ grade.

John Hunter Nemechek #38 Mystik Lubricants Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same B+ grade.

BJ McCleod #51 Jacob Companies Chevy Camaro-This new look is much cleaner, but is still bold, and has a great color scheme. A

JJ Yeley #52 Window World Chevy Camaro-This is a great look, and I can’t say anything bad about it. A

JJ Yeley #52 Jacob Companies Ford Mustang-A smooth look with a great color scheme will always earn an A.

Joey Gase #53 One Legacy Ford Mustang-I think that this is over designed, and the color scheme doesn’t help. This doesn’t look good, and gets an F.

Timmy Hill #66 Pit Boss Grills Toyota Camry-This is a great look, and I can’t say anything bad about it. A

Daniel Suarez #96 Commscope Toyota CamryA smooth look with a great color scheme will always earn an A.

Paint Scheme Grades-March 7, 2020

By David G. Firestone

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Killz Coatings Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same B+ grade.

Ross Chastain #6 Wyndham Rewards Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same B+ grade.

Tyler Reddick #8 I Am Second Chevy Camaro-This scheme has too many things going on at the same time. It’s just a jumbled mess that doesn’t look good at all. F

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry-Same scheme as last year, same B+ grade.

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry-Same scheme as last year, same B+ grade.

Ryan Blaney #12 Menard’s/Pennzoil Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same B- grade.

Ryan Blaney #12 Body Armor Kobe Tribute Ford Mustang-The snakeskin motif works very well here, and the color scheme works well too. This is a great look, and I give it an A.

Brennan Poole #15 CHOC Children’s Hospital Chevy Camaro-Getting tid of the stripes, and just having the child drawings would work better, but this isn’t bad, so I will give this an A-

Kyle Busch #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry-In addition to having a really bad shade of green, the lightning motif is very over done, and the car looks terrible. F

Matt DiBenedetto #21 Quaker State Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same B- grade.

Joey Logano #22 AAA Southern California Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same D grade.

William Byron #24 Axalta Kobe Tribute Chevy Camaro-It’s a very toned down scheme, it’s smooth, and it has a great look. I can’t give this less than an A, so I won’t.

Kyle Larson #42 McDonald’s Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same B grade.

Darrell Wallace Jr. #43 Victory Junction Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A- grade.

Garrett Smithley #51 Chevy Camaro-A smooth look with a great color will always earn an A.

JJ Yeley #52 Ford Mustang-New scheme for 2020, black. A

BJ McLeod #52 Christensen Arms Ford Mustang-Not a bad look.  The carbon fiber motif works, and the red roof is a good look. A

Joey Gase #53 Nevada Donor Network Chevy Camaro-A smooth look with a great color will always earn an A.

Timmy Hill #66 Manscaped/Lasvegas.net Toyota CamryMy only complaint here is that the red stripe is pointless. Other than that, this is a great scheme. A-

Paint Scheme Grades-February 29, 2020

By David G. Firestone

Quin Houff #00 Victory Weekend Chevy Camaro-My only complaint is I think that the red stripe splitting in to two different stripes is pointless. Other than that, this is a good scheme. A-

Tyler Reddick #8 Tame the Beast Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same B+ grade.

Clint Bowyer #14 Blue Def Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same C grade.

Brennan Poole #15 GOETTL Chevy Camaro-I like the color scheme, the design scheme is great, and the car looks good. A

Kyle Busch #18 Snickers White Toyota Camry-I like the color scheme here but I think that the design scheme is a bit over designed. It’s not a bad scheme, so I will give it a B

Martin Truex, Jr. #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry-Even though I don’t like this shade of orange, the cleaner look makes this car look better. This gets a B.

Erik Jones #20 Irwin Tools Toyota Camry-This is another case of great color scheme with bad design scheme. They cancel each other out, so this scheme gets a C.

Ryan Preece #37 Natural Light Seltzer Chevy Camaro-It has a horrible color scheme, it’s badly designed, and it makes you sick when looking at it with a hangover. I’ll give this an F.

John Hunter Nemechek #38 Berry’s Bullets Ford Mustang-I can’t say anything bad about this. The color scheme is great, as is the design scheme. This gets an A.

Cole Custer #41 Production Alliance Group Ford Mustang-I like the color scheme here, but the red and white designs are over designed. The car has a very cluttered look as a result. Still, it isn’t horrible, so I’ll give it a B.

Darrell Wallace Jr. #43 Coca Cola Energy Chevy Camaro-New scheme for 2020, black with a series of tiny red stripes on sides. F

Another scheme that makes you dizzy when you look at it. There are too many lines, and the car looks horrible. F

Reed Sorenson #77 Chevy Camaro-It’s a smooth look, with a great color scheme, and that will always gets an A.

Paint Scheme Grades-February 22, 2020

By David G. Firestone

Brad Keselowski #2 PPG Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Justin Haley #16 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same B grade.

David Ragan #36 Select Blinds Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same B grade.

BJ McLeod #52 Ford Mustang-I think the curve design is a little over done, but the car doesn’t look bad, so I’ll give it a B+

JJ Yeley #54 Ford Mustang-A smooth look with a great color scheme will always ear an A.

Brendan Gaughan #62 Beard Oil/South Point Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Daniel Suarez #96 Toyota Toyota CamryI think the side design is over designed. I also like the color scheme, and the rest of the car is decent, so I’ll give it a B-.

Paint Scheme Grades-February 15, 2020

By David G. Firestone

Quin Houff #00 Jacob Construction Chevy Camaro-My only complaint here is that the red stripe on the front isn’t needed. Otherwise this is a great scheme.

Brad Keselowski #2 Money Lion Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same C grade.

Austin Dillon #3 Symbicort Chevy Camaro-Last year’s scheme was bad, but this is so much worse. This is an ugly over designed mess, and I give it an F.

Kevin Harvick #4 #PIT4BUSCH Ford Mustang-This is a great look. Blue and silver with white outlines work well, and the design is great. I give this an A.

Chase Elliott #9 Kelly Blue Book Chevy Camaro-The change of colors helps this scheme, only slightly though. I give this a C+.

Aric Almirola #10 Smithfield Pure Farmland Ford Mustang-My only complaint is that I think the green is too light, that aside, this is a great scheme, and it gets an A-.

Ryan Blaney #12 Menard’s/Peak Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same B+ grade.

Brennan Poole #15 Spartan Mosquito Chevy Camaro-I don’t like the colors used here, I think blue should be the primary color. Still, it isn’t bad, but I’ll gvie this a B+

Martin Truex Jr. #19 Sirius XM Toyota Camry-Same scheme as last year, same B- grade.

Erik Jones #20 SportClips Toyota Camry-This is just not a good look. It’s not awful, at least the color scheme is good, I’ll give it a C-.

Reed Sorenson #27 Chevy Camaro-A smooth look with a great color scheme will always earn an A.

John Hunter Nemechek #38 Fire Alarm Services Ford Mustang-I like the look here, the colors are great, and I like the design too. This gets an A.

Joey Gase #51 Page Construction/ASC Agri Services Chevy Camaro-I think that this is over designed, and the color scheme doesn’t help. This doesn’t look good, and gets an F.

Paint Scheme Grades-February 8, 2020

By David G. Firestone

Kurt Busch #1 Gear Wrench Chevy Camaro-A downgrade from last year, I think that the designs are a little over done. Still, it isn’t bad, so it gets a B.

Ryan Newman #6 Koch Industries Ford Mustang-A good color scheme with a great design scheme will always earn an A.

Chase Elliott #9 UniFirst Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same B- grade.

Chase Elliott #9 Hooters Chevy Camaro-I love the orange on black look, and the car perfectly designed, so this gets an A.

Ty Dillon #13 Geico Chevy Camaro-It’s still not great, but it’s a lot cleaner than it was, so I’ll give it a D.

Kyle Busch #18 Skittles Dips Toyota Camry-I do not like the white added to the red. It’s still not terrible, so I’ll give it a B+.

William Byron #24 Axalta Chevy Camaro-This color does not work with this scheme at all. It does not fit well at all. This color is so bad, it takes an A scheme down to a C.

Corey LaJoie #32 RagingBull.com Ford Mustang-A good color scheme with a great design scheme will always earn an A.

Michael McDowell #34 Love’s Truck Stops Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

John Hunter Nemechek #38 Citgard Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same B+ grade.

Cole Custer #41 Haas Automotion Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same F grade.

Timmy Hill #66 RoofClaim.com Toyota Camry-While this design might work with another color scheme, it is a total failure here. F

Alex Bowman #88 Adam’s Polishes/Chevy Group Chevy Camaro-A good color scheme with a great design scheme will always earn an A.

Alex Bowman #88 NOCO/Group Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as Adam’s Polishes/Chevy Group, same A grade.

Alex Bowman #88 Truck Hero/Chevy Group Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as Adam’s Polishes/Chevy Group, same A grade.

Alex Bowman #88 Valvoline Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Paint Scheme Grades-February 1, 2020

By David G. Firestone

Kurt Busch #1 Monster Energy Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Austin Dillon #3 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Off Road Chevy Camaro-I like the Dale Earnhardt based design, and the car as a whole looks great. I can’t give this less than an A.

Ryan Newman #6 Castrol Ford Mustang-Another example of a scheme with nothing really wrong or right with it. It’s a mediocre scheme that earns a C.

Ryan Newman #6 Oscar Meyer Ford Mustang-I don’t like this. I get what they were trying to do, but I think it’s over designed. F

John Hunter Nemechek #36 Speedy Cash Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Darrell Wallace Jr. #43 Air Force Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Darrell Wallace Jr. #43 World Wide Technology Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same C grade.

Jimmie Johnson #48 Ally Financial Chevy Camaro-Even with the changes, this is still a great scheme. A

Chad Finchum #49 Garrison Homes/Toyota Knoxville Toyota Camry-If the curves on the rear was toned down I would give this a solid A. But I think the curves are over designed so this gets a B+

Christopher Bell #95 Procore Chevy Toyota Camry-Same scheme as last year, same F grade.