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John Zappia’s 2018/19 400 Thunder season did not finish in the fashion he would have preferred, bowing out in the first round of the Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway.
“The first qualifying session was cancelled, and the third session looked like it was going to be impacted by weather as well, so we figured we would only have one chance,” Zappia said. “Everyone was in the same boat and we all had to figure out how to get down the track. I made it more difficult on myself though when I backed up too far after the burnout and put my rear tyres back into the water tracks.”
Zappia spun the tyres on the hit of the throttle, but managed to recover for a 6.26 at 250mph, enough to put him into sixth place.
“It was cold and the water carried further than normal, it blew the tyres straight off. At least we got into the field, but with Paul Mouhayet qualifying in fourth he had enough points to get into race day and took out the championship – congratulations to Moits Racing.”
While the pressure of the championship was off, Zappia still wanted another Winternationals trophy to add to his collection. Zappia took on Scott MacLean in the first round but again the Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro spun the tyres early in the pass.
“We were waiting for a while for some delays and it was a nice, sunny day so we figured the track would be good,” Zappia said. “Once again the tyres were spinning right as we launched and Scott was long gone. We had the same tune up as when we went 5.65 in Sydney, but in hindsight we needed a lot less. The track felt sticky on top but was soft underneath from all the rain and it just didn’t come back.
“It was great to see Parry Bitsikas from Muscle Car Warehouse at Willowbank on the weekend and unfortunately we didn’t perform up to our best for him. We wish to express a big thank you to our naming rights sponsor Fuchs Lubricants and Dananni Hotshots, our major sponsors Muscle Car Warehouse, Crow Cams, Hoosier Race Tires, Noonan Race Engineering and all our supporting sponsors who give us the opportunity to race and compete at the highest level. Without their continued support we could not achieve what we have been able to achieve so far.
“Our form guide currently reads like a great race horse with a finishing record of 2, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2 since we entered the Top Doorslammer/Pro Slammer championships.”
Though Zappia was disappointed to end the season on a low, he is already looking to the future, beginning with the Grudge Kings event on July 6 at Sydney Dragway. Zappia will be racing both his current Pro Slammer, nicknamed ‘Crusher’, in the Pro Mod class, as well as bringing Zap’s Rat back to the track for the first time in over a decade to compete in the Pro Street class.
“We will go back to Perth now and prepare the steel body ‘Zap’s Rat’ and get ready for Grudge Kings with two cars,” Zappia said. “We want to do some R&D with ‘Crusher’ to see what we can find out that will help us next season and with both classes having $50,000 winner cheques there’s a lot of money on the line.
“’Zap’s Rat’ won two championships and ran 5.8s on the quarter mile back in the day. Grudge Kings is eighth mile for Pro Street and with what we know now we should be looking at 3.9s or 3.8s over that distance.”
Latest News History
John Zappia has been a part of drag racing culture in Australia for well over three decades, a time where Willowbank Raceway has also grown to be part of the bedrock of the sport. Ahead of the annual running of Australia’s biggest drag racing event, the Winternationals, the driver of the Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro recalled […]
A ray of hope remains for John Zappia in the 2018/19 400 Thunder Pro Slammer championship after he won Nitro Thunder at Sydney Dragway on Saturday. Zappia defeated Paul Mouhayet in a crowd-pleasing final, running a 5.65 to not only take the victory but also set low ET of the event. While the pace of […]
John Zappia is approaching the penultimate round of the 2018/19 400 Thunder Pro Slammer Championship with an understanding that nothing short of winning every round will give him the chance of a 12th national title. Sydney Dragway’s Nitro Thunder will be a make-or-break event for the veteran driver, whose Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro currently sits second in the points […]
John Zappia’s new Noonan engine combination paid off immediately at Perth Motorplex on Sunday as he wrapped up the win in the Summer Slam bracket as part of the ANDRA Grand Finals. Zappia’s Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro qualified second with a safe 5.770, before stepping up for a 5.724 win against Frank Taylor in the elimination […]
John Zappia has turned mad scientist recently with his Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro, testing a variety of theories in the Summer Slam Series at Perth Motorplex on Saturday. Using his third-in-line spare engine, Zappia reached the final of the Summer Slam before a lean condition in one cylinder resulted in a blown burst panel, allowing Mark […]
John Zappia will remember the 2019 Westernationals at Perth Motorplex as ‘the one that got away’ after a close fought final round. The Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro qualified in the number one position with a 5.72 second time, but the performance was throttled by tyre shake, which Zappia was trying to fend off both in the tune up and from […]
John Zappia has taken out his second Summer Slam event of the season at Perth Motorplex, striking back from a horror Sydney trip. Zappia had his spare motor in the Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro for his home track after breaking the crankshaft of his main engine at the Santo’s Summer Thunder event last month. With virtually identical parts there […]
John Zappia was left to rue what might have been for the Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots team at Sydney Dragway on Saturday. The team’s event began on Friday where they took part in two test sessions in difficult conditions but mustered the quickest times of the category. “There was a heatwave in Sydney and with 4000 feet of air […]