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Zappia Sets Australian Pro Slammer National Record – 5.683

The Home Group WA 45th Westernationals were run this weekend at the Perth Motorplex under the IHRA sanctioned 400 Thunder Australian Professional Drag Racing Series and John Zappia stamped his authority in the Pro Slammer class by re-setting the Australian National Record at 5.683, getting to the final, and maintaining his lead in the series.

Qualifying on Friday night between thirteen teams saw Zappia Top Qualify with an off the trailer 5.71 @ 252.96mph in his Fuchs HQ Monaro, from Mark Belleri on 5.84 in the Holden Trade Club Monaro, and Grant O’Rourke 5.89 in the O’Rourke Motorsport Camaro. Bump spot for the field was a modest 6.217 as the top three teams seemed to be two and three tenths quicker than the rest of the field.

“The Fuchs Monaro ran well in that first round” said the champ Zappia, “The car ran dead straight with no pedals. I think we may have overcome our niggling tyre shake problem that has bothered us for a few seasons. The car could run a five eight with a pedal, but now that is fixed the Crusher will run really quick as long as we can keep on top of the tyre shake issues ”.

“Second qualifier saw us shut down on the start line with a tree malfunction. We went to the back of the field, re-fuelled and ran a 5.76 @ 252mph, with the engine a little hot. We stepped up the tune for Q3 and the car did a huge wheel stand towards the centre line – I had to pedal, correct and run it out the back for a 6.01”.

The teams serviced the cars overnight and were welcomed with brilliant weather for the day in Perth. Round one matchup for Zap was Paul Canulli in the roots powered Duster featuring an automatic gearbox.

“We went back to the 5.71 tune up from the day before, and like clockwork the car went 5.707 @ 253.86mph to defeat Cannuli’s 9.11 and go through to the semi final”.

Other round winners were Chapman in a hole shot 6.09 win over Priolo 6.08; O’Rourke 6.19 took out Dack 6.95; and Belleri took the gift win when Kapiris shut down after the burnout.

In the semi finals Zappia ran an incredible 5.683 @ 253.76mph to defeat Chapman 6.015, who got off it early and possibly missed out on his first five second pass. O’Rourke 6.32 managed the win against Belleri in an untidy pass that saw both cars off the noise by 1,000 feet.

“Incredible run really – we ran 3.75 to half-track (3.74 PB) and PB 203.28mph, but a strong second half and huge mph speed of 253.76. That was identical to our previous PB 5.683 remarkably, set here at the Perth Motorplex. The previous run also reset the Perth Motorplex top MPH record beating our previous record of 253.52 with the 253.86mph”.

Congrats to the Chapman Brothers– they are getting a handle on their new car and are very professional in their engineering. Certainly a team to watch out for in the future.”

“We left the tune alone for the final up against Grant O’Rourke, and after a strong burnouts we faced each other at the tree. On the hit the Crusher backfired the blower burst panel and I knew it was all over. O’Rourke took the well-deserved win with a 5.942 and notch up another win against us”.

“Grant and I have been racing each other for years – back in the Ravenswood days in the old Zap’s Rat, and his tidy little Torana. We have a strong rivalry, and respect for each other and he is a tough competitor. Pro Slammer is a tough class – just look at today’s field, all trying they’re hardest to crack the magic formula and run regular fives. It really is very complicated and difficult - and we suffered a rare mechanical failure this weekend”.

Back in the pits the Zappia Racing crew removed the rocker covers on the 502 Hemi and quickly saw the problem – a failed valve train component. IHRA officials conducted engine checks to verify compliance for the Australian National Record with the signoff completed satisfactorily.

“Well I guess the perfect weekend was not to be – but that’s drag racing. We are happy with the overall result – and are still leading the Thunder 400 Pro Slammer Championship”.

“Congratulations to the Dannani Hotshots sponsored Stuart Moresby who won the Competition Eliminator Bracket. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it a double celebration for Danni.”

“Our next event is the West Coast Nitro meeting on the 19th and 20th February at the Perth Motorplex where we will be testing some new components in readiness for the remainder of the current Drag Racing season”

Photos courtesy: Thunder400/Phil Luyer, High Octane Photos

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Zap Shines Bright at 2016 Nationals

In a spiritual renewal, drag racing returned to Calder Park in Melbourne Australia last weekend in a big way with the running of the 2016 Nationals that attracted great crowds on both days and some close competition.

Reigning eight times back-to-back ANDRA Champion John Zappia showed why he is the champ in a stunning display of driving and tuning to win the event and take a commanding 144 point lead in the 2016 Championship.

Zap gained 100 points for the win, 7 for qualifying second, 5 points for low ET (and the Calder Track Record), and 5 points for Top Speed. Kapiris gained a valuable 85 points to gain second spot with a final appearance.

“Great event, thanks to Peter Pisalidis, Ray Treasure and all the ANDRA staff”, said Zap, “It was great to be back here in Melbourne, and to take the win for Fuchs and all our other sponsors. It was a tricky meeting for Top Doorslammers with the track and weather conditions, but we are thrilled with the result”.

Saturday qualifying in front of a good crowd produced some spectacular runs from the Top Doorslammer wild beasts as the drivers struggled to keep them in a straight line.

“First qualifier in the burnout the Crusher just jumped lanes! On the run I had to pedal three times and was able to put down a 6.103 to come in at No 2. That was a scary run with the car heading towards the wall really quickly – the second qualifier was a little better but still had trouble keeping the Fuchs Monaro in a straight line – a few stabs at the throttle were needed to keep it sort of straight, and managed a 6.070 and missed out top qualifying by 6 thousands – congratulations to Paul Cannuli on his top qualifying run”.

Round three of qualifying was cancelled due to racer concerns with the cool night air coming in, and eliminations were to commence with the qualifying order after round two.

All teams were then facing a dilemma – how to tune their wild beasts for racing. The first 330 feet of concrete was probably the best many had raced on – as good as a Winters track at Willowbank.

“We did a lot of small changes overnight – to soften the car more and make it smoother. The B & J Transmission allows more finessing with shifting, and we did some engine timing and tyre changes”

Top Doorslammer racing has two very important functions – driving and tuning. It’s the tuning carried out by the Crew Chief (or in many cases in this bracket – the driver) that determines the deliverable power, and the driver has to drive the package presented to him.

“We have very strong targets and high expectations with dozens of parameters we track in our data system. My brother Richard handles this, and the software allows us to zoom in on each of these areas and make a plan to reach the targets set. I would say this is our strong point in our racing – we have great power, but so do the other teams now, so it’s the decision making about what to change that makes the difference”.

John’s driving ability also helps when steering this beast from start to finish.

“Our decisions are based on data, not guesses. There is an element of that – we have tried a lot of variables over the years and been surprised that a certain change can make such a difference in performance. We were confident our changes would settle the car down a little and get it anchored to the track for the whole run. We noticed that Supercharged Outlaws were getting down the track so we put our tune in and were surprised and pleased with the results”

Day two of eliminations saw Zap up against Mark Belleri in the Fabietti Monaro who launched with a killer 0.080 light, but was overtaken by the staunch Fuchs Monaro (new Calder Park track record) with a 5.749 @ 249.81mph to Belleri’s 6.023 @ 215.31mph.

“I expected a 5.90 or a 5.89 on that run, but not a 74 – beautiful!”

Other first round winners were Kapiris, O’Rourke who ran the first five-second (5.999) Top Doorslammer pass at Calder, and Cannuli.

Round two Zap drew Grant O’Rourke, and with lane choice selected the left lane – believed to be better and smoother. In the first side by side five second pass at Calder Zap narrowly defeated O’Rourke 5.823 @ 248.39 mph to 5.955 @ 244.47mph. Kapiris 6.140 @ 221.60mph defeated Cannuli 6.436 @ 176.17mph to set up an epic final.

The atmosphere was electric at Calder Park. Kapiris was in front of his home crowd with many family and friends present, and Zappia seeking a second Nationals win at this event – last won in 1995.

Kapiris had the jump on Zap with a 0.093 light in the final, but the super strong Fuchs Monaro flew by for the win with another five seven – 5.762@ 248.29mph to Pete’s 6.065 @ 231.36mph.

“It was fun to drive today. Awesome to win after being all over the track yesterday – pretty scary stuff! The track was prepared well overnight and we did our homework – detuned the car and today it’s the first time in a while where I didn’t have to pedal and the car went straight”.

“Big thanks to Fuchs and all our sponsors for the opportunity to represent them at this great event. I am glad for Peter Pisalidis that the crowd came out in droves – I think with better weather the numbers may have been even better. It sets up a great future for Melbourne drag racing and we can’t wait to return”.

“Special thanks also to sponsors Reid Machine, whose new rocker arms contribute to our high revving reliability”.

It was great to catch up with so many people that were at Calder Park back in 1995 and to reminisce about the “lawn mower run” and to see how appreciative they were that we made the trip to support the sport of Drag Racing in Melbourne.

Zappia Racing will return to Perth for the running of the 45th Westernationals at the Perth Motorplex on Fri 5 and Sat 6 Feb.

Qualifying:

P CANNULI – DUSTER 6.064 @ 240.29; J ZAPPIA – 71 HQ MONARO 6.070 @ 225.26; G O’ROURKE – 68 CAMARO 6.164 @ 283.93; P KAPIRIS – 59 SARATOGA 6.226 @ 220.01; R TAYLOR – 68 CAMARO 6.316 @ 225.94; G GRADDEN – 36 SARATOGA 6.348 @ 232.79; M BELLERI – 06 MONARO 6.392 @ 238.55; T DEFELICE – 67 CAMARO 6.544 @ 216.51.

Round 1 Eliminations:

P KAPIRIS – 59 SARATOGA 6.176 @ 232.11 DEF R TAYLOR – 68 CAMARO 6.269 @ 233.84; G O’ROURKE – 68 CAMARO 5.999 @ 243.37 DEF G GRADDEN – 36 SARATOGA 8.084 @ 125.16; J ZAPPIA – 71 HQ MONARO 5.749 @ 249.81 DEF M BELLERI – 06 MONARO 6.023 @ 215.31; P CANNULI – DUSTER 6.106 @ 241.63 DEF T DEFELICE – 67 CAMARO 6.303 @ 222.69.

Semi Finals:

P KAPIRIS – 59 SARATOGA 6.140 @ 221.60 DEF P CANNULI – DUSTER 6.436 @ 176.17; J ZAPPIA – 71 HQ MONARO 5.823 @ 248.39 DEF G O’ROURKE – 68 CAMARO 5.955 @ 244.47.

Final:

J ZAPPIA – 71 HQ MONARO 5.762 @ 248.29 DEF P KAPIRIS – 59 SARATOGA 6.065 @ 231.36.

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Zap has his Eye on the Prize for the Nationals at Calder Park

Australian Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia is on his way to the Australian Nationals at Calder Park this weekend to take on seven other Top Doorslammer teams, and has his eye on the prize. The event is round four of the ANDRA 2015/2016 Championship and the first time the Nationals has been run at Calder in fifteen years.

“Calder Park has strong memories for us at Zappia Racing” said Zap, “We travelled to Calder back in the early 1990’s because the crowds were huge and Doorslammer racing was new to this country. It’s great to be going back to race the full quarter mile with an upgraded track”.

In 1995 one of the most memorable Top Doorslammer races of all time – in front of 55,000 people, John Zappia took out the final from Brendan McSweeney by “mowing the grass” at Calder in the original Zap’s Rat.

“That was a memorable race, and it got a lot of attention over the years. We were running mid six second passes back then with some pretty rough chassis cars – compared to todays standard. The Fuchs HQ Monaro is a state of the art chassis and has all the latest go-fast bits in it”.

“The horsepower has increased dramatically as well – even over the last year or so, with Noonan Engineering manufacturing their own hemi heads that are bolt on power. We have not only found more power, but through testing many different combinations have found a level of reliability that allows 10,500rpm regular racing with few problems”.

“We are looking to set a few more records this weekend. No Top Doorslammer team has run a five second pass at Calder yet, and the track record is up for grabs as well. Getting all the new power to the ground is the challenge for all race team tuners”.

“We are aiming to improve all aspects of our racing this meeting. With me taking a break over the Christmas period my mind is fresh and focusing on a few key areas, and am keen to do well”.

“We top qualified at the last T/D event in December at the Perth Motorplex with a 5.829 @ 251.05mph, but had a clutch problem on the start line in Round 1. My 5.864 @ 249.63mph was beaten by Priolo’s 6.074 @ 238.64mph after a late light. We have fixed that problem and will return to regular racing”.

John Zappia leads the 2015/2016 ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship on 311 points after winning Rounds 2 and 3. His closest and most dangerous opponents are Grant O’Rourke on 213 points, and Mark Belleri on 202 points – both teams are at the pointy end of the field running five eights consistently.

“It’s hard to predict who will win this round, with six of the eight having won Top Doorslammer rounds before, and will probably come down to who can read the track and weather the best and adjust their tune accordingly”.

“We welcome new Major Sponsor Dananni Hotshots to the team, and hope their HOTSHOT freight business gets exposure across Australia from their investment in our team and the sport of drag racing”.

Zappia racing fans are welcome in the pit area to watch over the crew and the Fuchs Monaro, and get their merchandise personally signed by Zap.

The Australian Nationals will be live streamed to viewers via the ANDRA web site www.andra.com.au

Tickets and info at www.calderparkdragracing.com.au

Race Schedule:

Q1        Saturday 23rd       3:14pm EST

Q2        Saturday 23rd       6:33pm EST

Q3        Saturday 23rd       9:26pm EST

Round 1Sunday 24th        1:33pm EST

Semi     Sunday 24th        4:18pm EST

Final     Sunday 24th        6:18pm EST

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WA Top Doorslammer Championship Win for Zappia

Western Australia is the blown alcohol capitol of Australia, with a large contingent of teams competing in the local Top Comp bracket in Top Doorslammer, Top Alcohol and Competition classes – with many record setters and national champions among the group.

The standard is high, the knowledge deep, and anybody is encouraged to join the ranks and compete. There are enough Top Doorslammers in the West to run a dedicated local meeting – and last weekend the Perth Motorplex ran the WA Drag Racing Champs, featuring Top Doorslammer and Top Bike.

Eight cars presented for racing, in a three round format with A and B Finals. Eight times National Champion John Zappia in his Fuchs Monaro was the hot favourite, with Daniel Gregorini in his Camaro nipping at his heels, and Wayne Keys steady in the five nines in his roots powered Monaro.

Pino Priolo in his 37 Chev Coupe is a regular in the national series and is also a five niner, and Mark Chapman in his gorgeous Fury starting to get a handle on his setup. Rounding out the field were Steve Aldridge – still getting a handle on his angry Chev, Owen Ducker in his roots powered 36 Chev – and newcomer Paul Carey in his ex BSR Falcon sporting a quad cam small block.

Saturday was a very hot day, with temperatures searing into the 40’s C (104 F) and two sessions of qualifying saw Keys at the top of the list with a 5.996 @ 237.88, followed by Chapman on 6.07 @ 237.12. Zappia sat out the first qualifier due the heat and track condition, and then in the compulsory qualifier had the blower backfire that produced a spectacular fireball, but were still able to qualify in 5th position.

“We had a fuel system component fail causing a fuel mixture problem” said Zappia, “It actually did quite a bit of damage to a piston, and blower pulleys. We were under the pump getting ready for the first eliminator when a thunderstorm came over the Motorplex and caused postponement of the meeting to the next day. It was a get out of jail free card for us”.

The thunderstorm was very spectacular with lightening flashing and the rain pouring down around 7:30pm closing the meeting. Racing resumed on the Sunday and seven cars faced each other at 1.30pm in moderately hot conditions.

Keys had the bye after Ducker failed to qualify and managed a 6.227, Chapman 6.142 disposed of Carey 6.891 who snapped a blower belt; Priolo 6.454 took the win against Aldridge 8.816 who went up in smoke; and Zappia 5.798 was too strong for Gregorini 16.014 who overpowered the track.

“That was a nice pass and set us up for an A Final against Chapman. The crew turned the car around and we headed for the staging lanes anticipating a good result. But the track was a little tricky, and Mark Chapman is getting down the track pretty consistently this season so I had to make sure that I didn’t overpower the track”

In the A Final Zappia reacted quicker and went straight through for the win with a 5.815 @ 248.20mph to Chapman’s 6.203 @ 234.78mph. The B Final saw Wayne Keys 6.222 @ 234.08mph defeat Pino Priolo 6.723 @ 144.21mph.

“Congratulations for Mark Chapman for his A Final runner-up – it’s great to see new guys coming on well in Top Doorslammer. Big thanks to all sponsors and my dedicated crew for keeping the Fuchs Monaro running strong. 3 wins in 3 weekends from Perth to Sydney and back to Perth. Also congratulations to Brodie Zappia for coming runner up in Jnr Dragster”.

The Fuch Monaro will be on display at the Narrogin Rev Heads event from the 20th to 22nd November and will be doing some ear popping start ups for the crowd.

For more details see http://www.narroginrevheads.com.au/

Photos Courtesy: Phil Blondel, Perth Motorplex, and WA Police “Polair”

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Zappia Wins East Coast Nationals

John Zappia and his Fuchs Monaro won the East Coast Nationals Top Doorslammer event in Sydney with a resounding 5.762 at 249.58mph in the final.

It was an extraordinary weekends racing where teams had to get a handle on a very tricky track, and master the ever changing weather.

“It was a tough weekend for us in the pits” lamented champ Zappia, “We were doing it tough back there and the Zappia Racing crew were on top of it as usual. It was great to get the win – the track came around nicely for us in the final and we were able to at least put down a five seven”.

Qualifying on Saturday saw two sessions finished before the weather forced a stop to racing. Zap’s 5.921 @ 241.63 off the trailer was enough for him to top the list.

“We discovered a serious chassis crack before Q3 that required a repair. Luckily Craig Burns from SCF Racecars was at his home track, and we were able to get him to complete a chassis repair on site. Craig built the Crusher originally and this is our 7th season of racing with it. We were not able to make the third qualifier Sunday morning, but were good to go for eliminations”.

The qualified field saw two newcomers to the pointy end – a returning Andrew Searle and Mr 10.5 Frank Mamone making his transition to Top Doorslammer. Top runners Mark Belleri, Ben Bray, Grant O’Rourke and Peter Kapiris all qualified successfully.

Round one saw Zap up against his arch rival Peter Kapiris, and it was Zap who got very lucky when his Fuchs Monaro running a 5.879 at 204.35mph dropping a valve before the 1000 foot mark and sneaked in for the win by .001 seconds to Pete’s 6.134 at 228.81mph.

Other winners in round one were Belleri with a great 5.894, Ben Bray and a lucky Searle who got a solo after O’Rourke chose not to run due to a problem with the car.

The Zappia Racing crew managed a complete engine change in the turnaround and presented against Andrew Searle in the semi final and took the win with a pedaling 5.952. Ben Bray got the win in the other semi against Belleri who had an unfortunate collision with the wall to disqualify his run.

This set up another huge battle between the two big teams in Top Doorslammer racing – Zappia vs Bray. The reigning champ Zappia won the final with a Meeting Low ET 5.762 to maintain his position at number 1 in the Top Doorslammer championship and further increase his points lead in his quest for an unprecedented 9th straight championship.

“This meeting was all about the tune and setup, and having over 550 runs of data at our disposal, our Monaro is able to be set up to get down most tracks – even with a pedal. My clutch guy Gerry, data analyst Richard (thanks Paul Topping for filling in for Richard) and I can usually come up with a fine tune that will give us a competitive pass, and we are able to adapt to various conditions based on the recorded data we have”.

The Zappia Racing crew also attended the 2015 ANDRA Championship Dinner on Monday night, where John Zappia was presented with his Trophy for his 8th consecutive Top Doorslammer Championship.

Zappia Racing heads back to Perth for this weekends (14 Nov 15) WA Championship Top Doorslammer meeting with the NCQR to be run at 3:30pm followed by the Compulsory Qualifier at 6:00pm, Elimination Round at 8:00pm and the B and A Finals at 9:56 and 10:00pm.

We welcome all Sponsors, Supporters and fans to come down and watch some Top Doorslammer action and visit the pit area for a chat with John and his crew or purchase some merchandise.

QUALIFIED

BELLERI         5.886 @ 246.08

ZAPPIA           5.921 @ 241.63

SEARLE           5.940 @ 233.52

MAMONE       5.943 @ 239.78

B BRAY           5.989 @ 239.27

O’ROURKE     5.990 @ 242.67

KAPIRIS          5.997 @ 251.30

GRADDEN       6.237 @ 237.55

NON QUALIFIERS

TAYLOR          6.266 @ 219.58

CARBONE       6.293 @ 237.38

PRIOLO           6.487 @ 217.00

GOONAN         6.488 @ 192.14

ROSO              6.602 @ 225.11

MICALI           6.858 @ 159.97

WILSON          7.253 @ 228.19

CANNULI        8.586 @ 94.73

ROUND 1

BELLERI 5.894 @ 246.39 DEF GRADDEN 12.344 @ 54.82;

B BRAY 6.255 @ 210.05 DEF MAMONE 8.578 @ 110.54

ZAPPIA 5.879 @ 204.35 DEF KAPIRIS 6.134 @ 228.81

SEARLE 6.364 @ 227.04 DEF O’ROURKE NTR

SEMI FINAL

B BRAY 18.459 @ 25.06 DEF BELLERI 12.297 @ 40.03 (HIT WALL)

ZAPPIA 5.952 @ 247.93 DEF SEARLE 8.626 @ 107.33

FINAL

ZAPPIA5.762 @ 249.58 DEF B BRAY 6.325 @ 186.74

Photos courtesy: Joe Maday Drag News  Cackling Pipes  ANDRA

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Zappia on track for East Coast Nationals

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John Zappia is on track for a big 2015 East Coast Nationals event in his Fuchs HQ Monaro Top Doorslammer after recent events. Sixteen Top Doorslammer Teams have registered for the event, with some tough competition for the champ.

“We are going to have to be on the ball this weekend,” said Zap, “O’Rourke, Kapiris, Belleri and others are hot on our heels and marching into the five eights more easily now. We have a five seven car though, but a lot will depend on track and weather conditions and how it all comes together”.

Last weekends much talked about blower vs turbo shootout ended up a victory to the blower guys with Zap dominating the day in the APSA Extreme Class.

“My first APSA event at Perth Motorplex running in Extreme Outlaw class, and I managed to get the Fuchs Monaro down to 2,696 lbs – only 4 lbs lighter than for legal Top Doorslammer weight. Was able to add a bit more overdrive on the D PSI blower, but struggled with tyre shake and had to peddle all runs but still managed 5.77, 5.80, 5.76, and 5.78 in the final for a win over Shane Catalano”.

“We had a win over Paul Mouhayet’s Moits turbo Camaro running a 5.80 @ 406mph to his 5.90 @ 402mph, settling that score on the day. My best speed for the night was 253mph (407kms). Big thanks to all my sponsors, my awesome crew, and fans. Got my first APSA Trophy to add to my collection”.

Zappia leads the 2015/2016 Top Doorslammer Championship after winning the last round at Darwin. He gained enough points with the win and low ET to head the Top Doorslammer Championship points table with 199, ahead of O’Rourke with 170 and Kapiris on 152.

Live coverage of the event is available online at www.dragnews.com.au and the Twitter feed to your mobile, and will be live from 3pm AEDT Saturday and 12:30pm AEDT on Sunday at http://www.epicentre.tv/promoter/400-thunder/..

Tickets and details at www.sydneydragway.com.au

Qualifying Sat 7th Nov 2015

Q1 – 3.16pm

Q2 – 5.16pm

Q3 – 7.16pm

Eliminations Sun 8th Nov 2015

Round 1- 1.25pm

Semi     – 3.13pm

Final     – 4.52pm

Top Doorslammer Field

1 Mark BELLERI NSW 67 HOLDEN
2 Ben BRAY QLD 2639 CHEV
3 Paul CANNULI NSW 226 PLYMOUTH
4 Pat CARBONE WA 1386 CHEV
5 Bill GOONAN QLD 1239 CAMARO
6 Geoff GRADDEN NSW 1936 CHRYSLER
7 Peter KAPIRIS VIC 4 DODGE
8 Frank MAMONE NSW 670 HEMI
9 Charlie MICALI NSW 3583 PLYMOUTH
10 Grant OROURKE QLD 1067 PONTIAC
11 Pino PRIOLO WA 144 CHEV
12 Johnny ROSO ACT 169 CAMARO 69
13 Andrew SEARLE QLD 1257 FORD
14 Robin TAYLOR VIC 1670 CHEVROLET CAMARO
15 Jeffery WILSON NSW 1004 CORVETTE
16 John ZAPPIA WA 846 HOLDEN

 

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Photos courtesy Phil Blondel  https://www.facebook.com/phil.blondel?fref=ts

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Zappia charges back to lead the ANDRA Championship with Darwin win

Reigning eight times ANDRA Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia won the second round in Darwin over the weekend, to wrestle back the lead in the 2015/2016 ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship after winning a great final race.

The event was staged at Hidden Valley Raceway – an Australian Government funded racing facility in northern Australia – and drew a good crowd of fans to see the racing over two days.

“We as a team are pretty happy right now” said a jovial Zappia, “We had a setback at this event in the first round here when we overpowered the track and glanced the wall, losing the semi-final. So we were keen to make up for that with a steady performance over this meeting. That all went pear shaped when we snapped a valve and damaged the LH Noonan head in the Fuchs Monaro in the first qualifier”

Qualifying on the Friday night was good, with six racers managing five second passes – testimony to a good track and great preparation. Bump spot was 6.057 and five unlucky racers had to settle for the Chicago Shootout, which is run between the Elimination races and allows non qualifiers to gain some valuable points towards the championship.

“Our first run resulted in a huge blower backfire as an inlet valve let go and did some damage. Back in the pits the crew found the damage was restricted to one head. We could have thrashed and made Q2, but decided to change both heads as a pair. These heads were on Frankenstein – our old freak engine that is our number 2 backup, so they had to be removed and fitted onto the best engine that was in the car and already set up.”

Zappia consequently missed Q2, but lined up in a situation he has been in many a time – not qualified and one run to get in the field. The champ has a history of doing well under pressure, and he did it again – going straight to number 1 with a 5.907 @ 248.43mph. This was short lived as the in-form Grant O’Rourke thought better of that and rattled off an impressive 5.838 @ 249.12mph to top qualify, followed by local Darwin racer Matt Abel who ran second with his 5.870 @ 236.59mph.

Saturday night racing in front of 3,500 eager Darwin race fans saw some exciting Top Doorslammer match ups and wins. Zappia was back in the five eights with a win over Belleri; Carbone had a hole shot win over Abel despite a slower time; Kapiris threw everything at Phillips and had another hole shot win with the slower ET; and O’Rourke put away Bray to advance to the semis.

The semi-finals saw Zappia fine tune the Fuchs Monaro to a 5.842 @ 250.09mph win over Carbone who broke, and Kapiris’ come back to form with a 6.008 @ 223.76mph win over O’Rourke’s 6.182 @ 230.65mph.

“We had the HQ back in the groove and matching the track and conditions, but knew we had to hot it up to a five seven to defeat Peter Kapiris. I was pretty confident we had the power, even though his super sleek Saratoga has huge speed. First to the finish line always wins.”

Kapiris got the jump on Zap with a .065 light compared to a .081 – but by 60 feet the stout power of the Zappia Racing 502 hemi saw Zap in front and surge to a 5.786 @ 250.74mph win over Kapiris 5.897 @ 253.71mph. A huge spectacular drag race, and one the Darwin fans really appreciated.

“The ANDRA stewards were again at our pits and checked our engine capacity, overdrive ratio, Motec outputs and Powergrid setting and got a clean bill of health with everything being to spec”.

“A great win for the team and Fuchs, and one we dedicate to Noeleen Hale who passed away recently. Noeleen was a part of my family and race team for years, and a dedicated drag racing fan.”

“Another big thank you to Adrian from Pedder’s Darwin for the loan of his cars and his help crewing. Also thank you to Matt Abel for the loan of his F250 and the accommodation for the crew. The hospitality and atmosphere at Hidden Valley is second to none and each year we look forward to racing there”.

Zappia gained enough points with the win and low ET to head the Top Doorslammer Championship points table with 199, ahead of O’Rourke with 170 and Kapiris on 152. The team next head to Adelaide for the Spring Nationals and round three of Top Doorslammer on 17/18 October.

Looking forward to seeing as many of our Sponsors, supporters and fans at Adelaide International Raceway to make this another outstanding event.

QUALIFYING:

G O’ROURKE – PONTIAC FIREBIRD 5.838

M ABEL – 1957 CHEV 5.870

J ZAPPIA – HQ MONARO 5.907

P KAPIRIS – SARATOGA 5.926

G PHILLIPS – STUDEBAKER 5.966

M BELLERI – MONARO 5.973

P CARBONE – CAMARO 6.036

B BRAY – CORVETTE 6.057

 

NON QUALIFIERS:

P PRIOLO – CHEV 6.339

M O’CONNOR – XM FALCON 6.544

D GREGORINI – CAMARO 6.844

R TAYLOR – CAMARO 7.273

P CANULLI – DUSTER 10.844

ROUND 1:

G O’ROURKE 5.927 @ 246.75 DEF B BRAY 6.087 @ 240.94

P KAPIRIS 5.956 @ 243.72 DEF G PHILLIPS 5.954 @ 245.00

P CARBONE 6.026 DEF M ABEL 6.003 @ 247.97

J ZAPPIA 5.861 DEF M BELLERI 10.403 @ 82.14

SEMI FINAL:

P KAPIRIS 6.008 @ 223.76 DEF G O’ROURKE 6.182 @ 230.65

J ZAPPIA 5.842 @ 250.09 DEF P CARBONE .000

FINAL:

J ZAPPIA 5.786 @ 250.74 DEF P KAPIRIS 5.897 @ 253.71

Photos:

www.dragnews.com.au

www.highrpm.com.au

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Zappia resets TD Track record in Darwin

Hidden Valley Drag Strip in the remote northern city of Darwin hosted Round 1 of the new Australian ANDRA Championship Series, and what a show it was! Huge crowds turned out to watch Top Fuel for the first time, Top Alcohol and Top Doorslammer racing and the buzz around Darwin was high during and after the event as fans turned out in force to watch the action.

Reigning back-to-back 8 times Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia was top qualifier for the event, but was eliminated in the semi-final when the track went away and he dramatically grazed the wall.Paul Cannuli in the roots powered Duster came out winner for the event, holding his first ANDRA Top Doorslammer Gold Christmas tree aloft.

“It was one of the best drag racing meetings we have been to,” said an enthusiastic Zappia, “We would have liked the win, but that didn’t happen – but we got enough points to stay in the running for the championship. We encourage competition and Grant O-Rourke proved he could step up this weekend, and Cannuli was persistent to the end – and that was great for racing”.

Zappia set the pace in the Fuchs Lubricants Monaro in early qualifying with a 5.791 @ 250.74mph off the trailer to lead the field, ahead of O’Rourke on 5.866 @ 247.02mph. Like a bracket car – Zappia ran a 5.781 @ 250.97 in Q2 to slightly better the Q1 result and re-set the Darwin track record for TD.

“On both runs I had to pedal the car, so there was more in it if the track stayed there. Unfortunately the Zappia Racing Crew discovered a crack in the tri-drive that drives the magneto, fuel pump and oil pump. We could have run Q3, but we decided to sit it out and repair the drive. We had a nervous moment as O’Rourke ran a five seven and got really close to our top qualifying time. It was great to see Grant run those numbers and prove to others that it is possible with hard work and persistence”.

Q3 saw O-Rourke improve to a 5.794 @ 249.53mph and Belleri third with 5.922 @ 234.29mph, but the rest of the field were all six second times. Bump spot ended up 6.105, with surprise non-qualifiers Abel, Bishop and Gregorini having to earn extra points in the new ‘shootout’ for all non-qualifiers – an innovative initiative from ANDRA, in consultation with the Australian Top Doorslammer Association.

Round 1 on Saturday saw four match ups that had plenty of interest. Zappia rolled out another impressive track record 5.770 @ 250.97mph to defeat an improving Pat Carbone. Paul Cannuli got into the fives to defeat Murray O’Connor; O’Rourke continued his power display to put away the struggling Peter Kapiris, and Belleri ran his new Fabietti Monaro ride into the semis as Ben Bray overpowered the track.

“The car was running great, with just small pedals to overcome tyre shake. We stepped it up for the semi final, but were a little nervous after watching O’Rourke win his round, but all over the track. On my run at around sixty feet I pedaled after tyre shake but didn’t hit second gear – next thing I know the car turned savagely right and grazed the wall. That happens when the traction is different under each rear tyre – we thing the track went off towards the edge”.

The final saw Paul Cannuli defeat Grant O’Rourke – both cars struggling to get down the track.

“We are still happy with the result. With extra points coming from Top Qualifying and Top Speed we have ended up third in the ANDRA Championship on 88 points in a revised point system for this season, behind winner Cannuli on 105 points and O’Rourke on 92. There is plenty of time to make that up this season”.

“A big thank you to Adrian and Karen for the loan if the cars and their help with the car and merchandise and Matt Abel for the accommodation for the crew”.

“Thanks to Scott MacLean and Ray Treasure and the Hidden Valley Drag Strip for putting on such an awesome event, and for the people of Darwin for showing their support. Drag racing in regional Australia is alive and well, and we look forward to returning for Round 2 of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship on 14 – 15th August 2015 to put on another great show for the fans”.

1. J ZAPPIA 5.781 @ 250.97

2. G O’ROURKE 5.794 @ 249.53

3. M BELLERI 5.922 @ 234.29

4. P CANNULI 6.005 @ 237.42

5. M O’CONNOR 6.056 @ 242.45

6. B BRAY 6.072 @ 236.75

7. P KAPIRIS  6.089 @ 232.71

8. P CARBONE 6.105 @ 236.13

NON QUALIFIERS:

9. P PRIOLO 6.203 @ 231.87

10. M ABLE 6.350 @ 227.65

11. R TAYLOR 6.561 @ 160.12

12. S BISHOP 6.729 @ 166.11

13. D.GREGORINI 12.799 @ 156.05

14. M DACK

ROUND 1:

J ZAPPIA 5.770 @ 251.72 DEF P CARBONE 6.029 @ 240.77;

P CANNULI 5.931 @ 242.28 DEF  M O’CONNOR 6.215 @ 236.05;

G O’ROURKE 5.906 @ 248.29 DEF  P KAPIRIS 6.234 @ 210.01;

M BELLERI 5.927 @ 235.97 DEF  B BRAY 16.111 @ 49.55.

SEMI-FINAL:

P CANNULI 5.977 @ 239.44 DEF J ZAPPIA 7.615 @ 124.25 (HIT WALL);

G O’ROURKE 7.105 @ 204.08 DEF M BELLERI 10.531 @ 81.33

FINAL:

P CANNULI 6.097 @ 240.12 DEF G O’ROURKE 6.194 @ 239.95

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Photography thanks to www.highrpm.com.au

-       Mike O’Neill

-       Jeremy Horvath

-       Ed Forman

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Zappia wins 8th Back-to-Back National Top Doorslammer Championship

ANDRA Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia made a clean sweep of the 2015 Fuchs Winternationals in a dominating performance that saw him Top Qualify, Win the Final Round, Low ET and Top Speed for the meeting, reset the National Record and win his eighth back-to-back Championship.

“A great season” said a jubilant Zappia, “Reminds me of our 2008/2009 season where we remained unbeaten after venturing consistently into the five nines. Here we are six years later and we are running five sixes – an amazing advancement for our team”.

The shortened 2015 ANDRA Top Doorslammer season was one that John Zappia and the Zappia Racing crew will remember for a very long time.

Prior to the season starting the team were informed by ANDRA that the grandfather clause for the original extended wing would expire and the wing would need to shortened by 250mm (10”) before being allowed to race in the new season, which commenced in January 9th 2015.

The team decided to cut the wing back in October 2014 to give us 2-3 meetings to fully test the Monaro with the shortened wing prior to the first National meeting.

The Fuchs/Striker Monaro performed exceptionally well and broke the track record at Perth Motorplex and continued to break track records at every meeting the team went testing. This gave the team a lot of confidence coming into the season proper and they enjoyed an almost perfect season dropping only one point and being undefeated for the 2015 season and winning an 8th Back to Back Championship.

The longer wing was considered an unfair advantage by a few other Doorslammer teams but proved to be a key element in the Fuchs/Striker Monaro being able to go quicker and faster at every track the team raced this year.

All this effort culminated in winning the 2015 ANDRA National Top Doorslammer Championship and the Fuchs Winternationals with a new ET National Record of 5.693.

“We had issues with the track all weekend; it just kept getting better and better … we just couldn’t keep up with it,” admitted Zappia. “The rattle kept getting worse and worse. The first pass was the best, and it just kept getting more and more challenging with each run. We were trying to back up the 5.73 and knew if we left it alone we were going to have an issue, but didn’t want to overpower the track either.”

“John truly is an amazing driver” said Richard Zappia – Zap’s brother and data manager for the team, “I look at the data after each run and can see John’s amazing ability to detect early shake and pedal the throttle in just the right way to keep the car’s momentum going forward. We have a throttle sensor and he can micro manage that pedal just the right amount and number of taps, and with the B & J Transmission super tough and smooth it makes runs competitive instead of an abort”.

John Zappia opened the event with a provisional record at 5.730 @ 252.37mph, but in subsequent passes battled tyre shake even though remaining consistently in the 5.80s. In the first Elimination, Zappia ran a pedalled pass of 5.756 @ 252.90mph which was enough to back up the 5.73 first pass and reset the Australian Top Doorslammer National Record.

The second elimination against Mark Belleri was quite stressful for both John and the crew who were looking on. Mark left before the tree had been initiated and may have had trouble with the sun on the Xmas Tree, bringing back images of the 2013 X-Champs but luckily John remained in stage until he saw the green and took off for the win with a big pedal and getting a little sideways and running through for a 5.917 @ 249.90mph

This setup a classic final of Zappia versus Bray in Ben’s comeback from his unfortunate accident at the same event the year before.

It was nearly the final that didn’t happen as Zappia confirmed his team went to adjust the clutch and stripped one of the threads. After trying unsuccessfully to tap the thread in situ they were forced to pull the tail shaft, gearbox and clutch-can out just 20 minutes prior to the final round call.

“We tapped it, and rethreaded it and finished it all with three minutes to spare,” Zappia said. “We started the car, lowered it off the jacks, towed around and got to the start just in time. Also thank you to Ben for the Sportsmanship shown in giving us time to get to the start line after hearing of our clutch issues”

“We had tyre shake and pedalled on every run except the final. We took a gamble as we thought we were going the wrong way, so let’s just try something, as whatever we did on the second run didn’t work. On that run it went back to a 5.91 second run and we knew Ben could run 5.91 and that he can cut lights, so we thought let’s try something we haven’t tried. We threw at tune at it, it took it, I punched second gear and didn’t have to lift. That was the first full-throttle pass of the weekend and I told everyone that if I could hold it flat it would run a 5.6 and it went a 5.69,” said Zappia, who then became emotional, adding: “This is for Craig Pedley from Striker Crushing and Screening – thank you for 10 awesome years, it has been a fantastic ride Craig – this win is for you.”

Zappia Racing team had to hold off on the celebrations until a full ANDRA tech inspection was completed. Four ANDRA stewards were present to inspect everything from the MoTeC computer download which had to be compared to the Powergrid settings, removals of the supercharger and Noonan heads to inspect bore, bore spacing and capacity and clutch to ensure it was mechanically operated and within spec. After getting a clean bill of health we were able to go to the winner’s presentation and start the celebrations.

“None of this success would be possible without the support and quality products from all our sponsors”.

“Firstly Fuchs Lubricants for their ongoing co-naming rights sponsorship and the quality of their products. It’s a credit to their products when you can do 6 passes at 5.91 or better and not have to replace or fix a single component. Even after the 5.693 pass the bearings still look like new”.

“Striker Crushing and Screening have been with us for the past 10 years and without their help we would not be where we are professionally and in performance. Due to the downturn in the Mining Industry, Striker will not be with us as Co-naming rights sponsor next year but we still hold a special bond with them for their support”.

“Speedmaster for their product sponsorship and allowing us sell and improve performance of many street , burnout  and hot rod cars”.

“Noonan Race Engineering for the Heads and Rocker Covers that not only perform above anything else on the market but also look like a work of art”.

“MACA Ltd who joined as a major sponsor this year and hopefully will continue for next season”.

“Appealing Signs who have repaired the vinyl wrap on several occasions to keep it looking presentable for our sponsors and supporters”.

“Hoosier Tires who produce tyres that are consistent and reliable and help with maintaining our consistency”.

“Santuff shocks whose shock absorbers have to stand-up to the rigors of being pounded at the start line and also to help overcome the dreaded tyre shake”.

“B&J Racing Transmissions who supply the best transmissions and ratios that are reliable and efficient. Running the ETs that we run and not having to repair or rebuild transmissions between runs is something we have only been able to do since using B&J Transmissions”.

“Aurora Bearing Company for the rod ends and bearings we use that helps our rear end keep the car straight and fast”.

“Southside Engine Centre who have been with us from the beginning and always provide the best machining and repairs to our engine blocks”.

“KCRAFT Bullbars for the very solid and attractive bullbars that keep the kangaroos and other wild life from damaging our transporter”.

“We would also like to thanks all the minor sponsors who are an integral part of Zappia Racing and every contribution, whether monetary or by service and product is greatly appreciated and contributes to our successes”.

“We are now looking forward to the 2015-2016 season and our assault on the ninth straight championship starting in Darwin on the 17-18th July for round 1 of Top Doorslammer followed by a second Darwin meeting on the 14-15th August for round 2 of Top Doorslammer”.

“We are also looking for additional sponsorship to help the Zappia Racing Team maintain our dominance and to get to our goal of 10 straight Championships. We are looking at either increasing the level of current sponsorship or we have several packages available including Co-naming rights sponsorship with Fuchs Lubricants. Anyone interested in coming on board with this history making team please contact either myself John on 0400197171 or Richard on 0413067554”.

QUALIFIERS:

1. J ZAPPIA 5.730 @ 253.37;

2. G O’ROURKE 5.881 @ 246.53;

3. B BRAY 5.911 @ 235.02;

4. M BELLERI 5.948 @ 239.82;

5. M DACK 5.980 @ 239.48;

6. P KAPIRIS 6.024 @ 242.98;

7. P CANNULI 6.031 @ 243.99.

8. R PAVEY 6.051 @ 243.99

NON QUALIFIERS:

9. G GRADEN 6.055 @ 229.66;

10. J DONNELY 6.09 @ 230.21

11. J ROSSO 6.105 @ 241.54;

12. P PRIOLO 6.094 @ 240.00;

13. J DONNELY 6.09 @ 230.21;

14. J WILSON 6.134 @ 230.57;

15. S BISHOP 6.192 @ 236.51;

16. R TAYLOR 6.215 @ 217.25;

17. D.GREGORINI 6.312 @ 185.05;

18. B GOONAN 6.793 @ 202.42;

ROUND 1:

J ZAPPIA 5.756 @ 252.90 DEF R PAVEY 11.354 @ 75.42;

P CANNULI 6.643 DEF  G O’ROURKE 6.018 @ 244.87 (RED);

B BRAY 5.931 @ 236.92 DEF  P KAPIRIS 5.964 @ 247.97;

M BELLERI 5.937 @ 240.17 DEF  M DACK 10.722 @ 78.25.

SEMI-FINAL:

J ZAPPIA 5.917 @ 249.90 DEF M BELLERI 0.00 @ 0.00 (RED);

B BRAY 6.174 @ 225.30 (RED) DEF P CANNULI 6.012 @ 211.63 (CROSSED C/L)

FINAL:

J ZAPPIA 5.693 @ 250.97 DEF B BRAY 6.662 @ 159.53

PHOTO: Courtesy www.dragnews.com.au and Fuchs Lubricants

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Zappia ready for Winternationals and Championship Number 8

Reigning and seven times back to back Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia is on his way to Willowbank Queensland, Australia for the biggest drag racing event outside of North America – the 2015 Fuchs Winternationals. The event is the final round of the short 2015 ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship, and Zappia is fully prepared to race.

“We come into the Winters with a large lead in the championship” said Zappia, “But we have prepared thoroughly just like every other time we race, and we are coming to Willowbank hoping to win if luck goes our way. The Zappia Racing crew is treating this event as any other event and have prepared very well hoping to take out the event and the 8th Championship”.

Zap leads the Championship on 353 points, 136 points ahead of Fabietti, and eighteen Top Doorslammer teams have nominated to compete in this year’s event.

“The competition for qualifying will be intense amongst all the racers. The track is usually killer at Willowbank, and we have great data from last year’s event where we top qualified and won the event. We did 7 runs – all between 5.763 and 5.869 with no extra maintenance on the motor, diff or gearboxes. A credit to the quality of Fuchs Lubricants and B@J Gearboxes. That happens when all the hundreds of small elements in the car are right, the ratios, the tune and the driving is right. I think we may see some surprises this year, as a few new Top Doorslammer racers make their mark”.

We hope to win The Winternationals for both our Co-naming Rights Sponsors, Fuchs Lubricants and Striker Crushing and Screening, who have been with us through out this run of seven straight championships. We will have the Fuchs/Striker Crushing Monaro on display for Fuchs pre-event:
Wednesday 3 June 2015:
Meet and Greet at the Burson Auto Parts Booval store
Address: 196 Brisbane Road, Booval
Time: 4.00pm to 6.00pm

“Craig Pedley and Striker have been great sponsors for Zappia Racing over the years and we feel sad that due to the mining downturn they will not be with us for the 2016 season as co-naming rights sponsors. We will be hoping to attract a new sponsor for the start of Round 1 in Darwin on the 17/18th July 2015 to join Fuchs as a Co-Naming Rights Sponsor for the 2016 season. The show must go on, and we want to reach our goal of ten championship wins”.

“Being the championship leader puts added pressure on the team, not from within our own camp but from other people within the drag racing community who are skeptical of our achievements. We spend many hours testing and racing in local events and have data for over 600 runs. There are lots of comments and innuendo being pointed at us about our performance levels, and that’s only natural – human nature so to speak. Our HQ Monaro is the most scrutinised Top Doorslammer in the field as we get scrutinised by ANDRA every time we top qualify or win a meeting. They check engine capacity, overdrive ratios, computer downloads, fuel and total car weight. We invite their inspections as we race to the rules and let our results do the talking”.

“The advances teams worldwide are getting are not in the electronics. It’s just plain old engineering, and being bold enough to try something different. Top Alcohol has been even in performance for years, and then all of a sudden teams are going really quick – setting world records. We have been doing that more gradually over the years – little gains here are there. Hopefully we will continue to make advances at the Willowbank track and have a successful meeting”.

“We will also be paying Noonan Engineering a visit during the trip. We have just fitted their new super lightweight Hemi rocker covers on the car, to match their heads we run. Noonan’s Engineering products are being recognised worldwide and we are happy with the success we are having with their quality products”.

Zappia Racing welcomes all fans to the pit area to watch the crew work on the Monaro and get the new merchandise personally autographed by Zap.

Qualifying starts on Friday 5th June with Q1 at 4.04pm Eastern Standard Time.
Saturday sees Q2 at 1.13pm and Q3 at 3.22pm.

Eliminations are on Sunday 7th June, with Round 1 at 11.51am, the Semi-final
at 3.00pm and the Final at 5.40pm.

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