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Zappia wins Nationals and ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship

Reigning Australian ANDRA Top Doorslammer Champion, John Zappia pulled off the greatest comeback in the history of doorslammer this weekend, to win his sixth consecutive title coming from 42 points behind and winning the Nationals Final. The Australian Nationals was the last and most prestigious event of the extended ANDRA 2012/2013 season held at Sydney Dragway, and the two top contenders Zappia and Kapiris were locked in an emotional battle in the event lead up.

“Coming into the event, it seemed like an impossible assignment – having to win the event, and Peter having to either not qualify or loose in the first round” said a jubilant Zappia, “but we stayed positive and focused, and the fairy tale did come true. The team, sponsors, supporters, friends and fans are all very excited with the result”.

The track proved a little tricky for the eighteen teams attempting to qualify for the top eight, and elapsed times were a little off the pace as most struggled with tyre shake and uneven traction.

“This is our first event win this season, and to do this against my old mate Victor Bray and equal his six straight Championship wins was a highlight. We both pioneered doorslammer racing in this country, and to make that final pass together was historical. It was a fitting matchup as the record of six consecutive wins was achieved against the person holding the record. Our deepest commiserations go to our good mate Peter Kapiris who led the series all year and just fell 19 points short to run a valiant second for the second year in a row”.

Qualifying was run on the Saturday, with good weather conditions for most of the day. On Zap’s first pass in the Fuchs Lubricants / Striker Crushing and Screening Monaro he suffered vicious tyre shake and had to pedal to a 6.002 @ 248.61mph. That put him at No 2 behind Gary Phillips on 5.99.

The Second run saw Zap run an awesome 5.86 @ 250.46mph to secure No 1 position, ahead of Kapiris on 5.90. The last qualifier was slightly quicker with a 5.83 @ 250.74mph that earned him valuable top qualifier points.

“We felt we had a mental advantage over Pete by top qualifying – showing him that we were quickest and he would have to step it up to catch us. As it turned out the Sunday track proved a little trickier than the Saturday track, and we never dipped into the “five eights” again”. “The tension was high on race day, and we watched in amazement as Peter Kapiris shook, pedaled but never recovered against Victor Bray who had a big hole shot advantage with a 0.030 reaction time. I knew we had a chance at the championship right there and then. In our first elimination run, the Crusher with a pedaling 5.951 @ 248.75mph put away Sean Mifsud and his Duster”.

“We put a little more in the motor for round 2 to try and get over this tyre shake, but it did it again and luckily Phillips had the same problem. Our 5.975 @ 248.48mph got us through to the final. Victor got through over Sutton with a hole shot and slower time to set up a repeat of the final in Perth”.

We felt for Peter Kapiris as he watched the final with a camera focused on him, with such tension and trepidation as Zap and Victor lined up. We were in a similar position last year but luckily Robin Judd did us a favour and defeated Peter Kapiris to give us the championship. “Victor got me on the tree, but the Crusher surged ahead until the dreaded tyres started to rattle hard. I thought ‘Not again!’ – so punched second quickly and the car went crazy. I could not see Victor in my peripheral vision and tried to steer the car straight, and run through for a 6.071 @ 246.98mph – not a very good time but considering I had to pedal twice and pull the car away from the wall, I was happy to get the win

“The feeling of jubilation after winning was just amazing. It has been a long and hard season, and to finally get a win and take the ANDRA Gold Christmas Tree home to all our Perth Sponsors and Supporters was priceless”.

“Thank you to Fuchs Lubricants for their Co-naming Rights Sponsorship for the year. We look forward to more racing with their partnership in the coming seasons. Also a big thank you to Striker Crushing and Screening, K Trans WA, Procomp Electronics, Speedmaster, PRG (Process Resource Group), Beta Spuds, Southside Engine Centre, Noonan Race Engineering and PPG because without your support we would not have been able to win our sixth consecutive ANDRA Championship. We would also like to thank our supporting sponsors who all contribute to making Zappia Racing the most successful Top Doorslammer team in Australia. We look forward to your ongoing support”.

“I rang Craig Pedley who was away on Striker business, and let him know that the car he owns and has never driven has just won a fourth consecutive championship. He was rapped”.

“A big thank you to all the crew, management team and supporters who are close to me. We work hard technically, but mentally as well – staying positive and striving for better performance each time we race and having a win makes all the hard work worth it”.

The event will show on national television on SBS Speedweek in the next couple of weeks – check your local guides for details or keep an eye on Zappia Racing on Facebook.

Qualifying Order: ZAPPIA – 71 HQ MONARO 5.831 @ 250.74;KAPIRIS – DODGE SARATOGA 5.906 @ 256.26; FABIETTI – 2006 MONARO 5.932 @ 246.57; DACK – FORD BA 5.936 @ 245.14; PHILLIPS – STUDEBAKER 5.990 @ 242.76; SUTTON – CORVETTE 6.044 @ 242.67; V BRAY – 57 CHEV 6.045 @ 236.59; MIFSUD – 70 DUSTER 6.089 @ 241.67.

Non – Qualifiers: GOONAN – CAMARO 6.101 @ 236.09; MICALI – DUSTER 6.144 @ 215.62; PRIOLO – 37 CHEV 6.145 @ 238.81; B BRAY – MONARO 6.423 @ 176.95; DUPOND – 67 MUSTANG 6.497 @ 213.00; CANNULI – 68 CAMARO 6.574 @ 210.70; WILSON – 65 CORVETTE 6.761 @ 231.32; GRADDEN – SARATOGA 6.844 @ 216.45; BISHOP – 67 CAMARO 6.909 @ 167.45; CARBONE – 68 CAMARO 15.168 @ 30.92.

ROUND 1: ZAPPIA – 71 HQ MONARO 5.951 @ 248.75 DEF MIFSUD – 70 DUSTER 6.074 @ 243.03. PHILLIPS – STUDEBAKER 6.678 @ 167.88 DEF DACK – FORD BA 11.399 @ 75.38. V BRAY – 57 CHEV 6.089 @ 242.45 DEF KAPIRIS – DODGE SARATOGA 6.577 @ 176.60. SUTTON – CORVETTE 6.053 @ 236.17 DEF FABIETTI – 2006 MONARO 6.181 @ 243.19.

SEMI FINAL: ZAPPIA – 71 HQ MONARO 5.975 @ 248.48 DEF PHILLIPS – STUDEBAKER 6.183 @ 239.95. V BRAY – 57 CHEV 6.072 @ 234.49 DEF SUTTON – CORVETTE 6.024 @ 242.93.

FINAL: ZAPPIA – 71 HQ MONARO 6.071 @ 246.98 DEF V BRAY – 57 CHEV 6.204 @ 233.88.

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Zap edges closer to Kapiris after Finals appearance at the Springnationals

Current and Five times Australian ANDRA National Champion, John Zappia made excellent progress in his championship bid, with a finals appearance in Adelaide at Round 7 of the Top Doorslammer Championship at the Lady Daly Hotel Springnationals, edging closer to leader Peter Kapiris. The Fuchs Lubricants / Striker Crushing Monaro were favourites to win after top qualifying and re-setting the track record, but unfortunately lost the final to young Benny Bray.

“We have got the gap down to 42 points, after gaining 98 points for the round with top qualifier, low ET, Top Speed and a finals finish. We are pretty happy with that, despite losing the finals. Congratulations on Ben Bray for his win – I know his crew worked hard for that win”. Qualifying on the Friday night started at 7pm and in John’s first pass, he got sideways in the burnout and struggled with traction in the right lane but ran a pedalling 6.525. Due to dew on the track and the cold conditions, it was decided to run the next set of qualifiers on Saturday.

“On the second qualifier the Crusher rattled hard in second, so I pedalled to tame it down but hit the limiter and blew the front burst panel out. The 5.305 showed us the car had some power, so we refined the tune up for the final session and ran a perfect 5.037 @ 223.82 to set fastest ET and quickest MPH for the meeting, and Top Doorslammer track record”. At 5pm in the Round 1 eliminations Zappia was matched up against Carbone, with Zap running a dead straight 5.050 for the win against Carbone’s 5.378.

“A Great run in the car, and that set us up against Kapiris in the semis – a real showdown for the two of us. I rattled at the top of first gear, pedalled and saw Peter disappear out of my view as I took the win with a 5.088. Pete’s lane failed to give a reading, but after viewing on-car video, we were confirmed as winners and went through to the final”.

Ben Bray defeated Bishop and Fabietti on his way to the final, and managed to literally blow a door off his Monaro in the braking area. After borrowing a door from Fabietti and delaying the final to 10.30pm the two Monaro’s lined up for the final.

“I didn’t get a good start after getting distracted by lights in my vision close to the tree, and also had a big pedal as the car rattled badly and headed sharply to the left. Young Benny had a better run and his 5.170 was good enough for the win”.

“The scene is set for an amazing final round in Sydney on 1st – 3rd November for the Australian Nationals, where the pressure will be high on a typically fast track for Doorslammers. We will test in Perth before that and see if we can get the Crusher to go even quicker – we need to match the speed Kapiris gets in his slippery Saratoga to maximise our points and improve our chance of taking out our sixth consecutive championship.”

Qualifying (1,000ft): ZAPPIA HQ Monaro 5.037 @ 223.82; BISHOP 67 Camaro 5.076 @ 217.12; B BRAY Monaro 5.178 @ 218.65; DACK Falcon 5.193 @ 219.03; KAPIRIS 59 Dodge 5.253 @ 221.34; FABIETTI Monaro 5.315 @ 198.76; V BRAY 57 Chev 5.345 @ 185.22; CARBONE 68 Camaro 5.555 @ 176.17: NQ – O’CONNOR 5.770 @ 207.18.

Eliminations (1,000ft) Round 1: ZAPPIA HQ Monaro 5.050 @ 226.35 def CARBONE 68 Camaro 5.378 @ 187.89; KAPIRIS 59 Dodge 5.274 @ 218.49 def DACK Falcon 5.375 @ 202.38; BISHOP 67 Camaro 5.055 @ 221.18 def V BRAY 57 Chev 5.934 @ 142.42; B BRAY Monaro 5.181 @ 211.81 def FABIETTI Monaro 5.191 @ 211.61:

Round 2: ZAPPIA HQ Monaro 5.088 @ 223.82 def KAPIRIS 59 Dodge 000; B BRAY Monaro 5.190 @ 218.71 def BISHOP 67 Camaro 5.439 @ 157.15: Final: B BRAY Monaro 5.170 @ 211.86 def ZAPPIA HQ Monaro 5.200 @ 222.33.

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New National Record 5.745 pass for Zappia – still the quickest in Oz.

A thrilling 2013 Australian Winternationals was brought to an early end this year by the weather, and all Group 1 classes failed to complete any eliminations. Top Doorslammer saw four rounds of qualifying over two days, with reigning champion John Zappia top qualifying with a sizzling 5.745 @ 252 mph that re-set the National Record.

“That is two meetings in a row we have not had the chance to win where we were positioned really well” said a laconic Zappia, “We have nudged closer to Kapiris in the championship race, and with just two rounds to go it will be another close finish to the season”.

“We are back in the five sevens with our 5.753 and 5.745 back to back runs this meeting, and we are very happy with that. We have struggled to get the power down this season, and we have finally worked it out. To re-set the National Record we set last year at the Nitro Champs and top qualify was great for the Team and for our naming and event sponsors Fuchs Lubricants”.

Zappia now sits second on 325 points by gaining 53 points this meeting, behind leader Kapiris on 401 points who gained 52 points, and Victor Bray 271 with 20 points for the round.

“76 points is a handy margin, but anything is possible in racing so we haven’t conceded just yet”.

ANDRA Top Doorslammer Qualifying Results:
Qualifiers: 1. JOHN ZAPPIA HQ Monaro 5.745 @ 252.24; 2. PETER KAPIRIS Saratoga 5.824 @ 249.81; 3. MARTYN DACK Falcon 5.876 @ 243.94; 4. STUART BISHOP Camaro 5.885 @ 243.19; 5. MURRAY O’CONNOR Falcon 5.902 @ 241.89; 6. MARK BELLERI Camaro 5.913 @ 225.15; 7. BEN BRAY Monaro 5.937 @ 246.35: 8. MAURICE FABIETTI Monaro 5.970 @ 240.17.

Non-Qualifiers: 9. RUSS PAVEY Corvette 5.974 @ 243.81; 10. ANDREW SUTTON Corvette 5.991 @ 243.41; 11. DANIEL GREGORINI Camaro 6.01 @ 234.57; 12. VICTOR BRAY Chev 6.014 @ 236.55; 13. GRANT O’ROURKE Monaro 6.195 @ 234.57.

In other news to hand John Zappia has been declared the Runner-Up of Round 4 of the Top Doorslammer championship held at the Sydney Dragway Nitro Champs. The decision was made after the ANDRA Appeals Tribunal hearing in Sydney recently, based on an appeal lodged by Zappia Racing following disqualification in the semi-final race against Murray O’Connor.

“It was not an ideal result but a reasonable outcome for us” said a contemplative Zappia, “The Tribunal was very well run and fair, with a level of independence and was evidence based, so we feel justice has been done”.

Upon review of the race it was found that the starter had activated the Compulink Autostart system when both racers were in pre-stage, meeting the requirements of a race start as per section 4.1 of the ANDRA rulebook which states: “Start – in relation to a race, means the initiation of the start of the race, by the starter”. Following on, both racers were deemed to have fouled the start, but with O’Connor the first offender, Zappia was reinstated. There is also the new ruling which addresses Dual Disqualifications which was added to the 2013 rule book which states ”

1.4.24 Disqualification – “The ideal outcome of any race is to have one winner and one loser; however situations arise where both racers are disqualified during the same elimination race. There are varying degrees of rules infractions, with policy being that the driver committing the major infraction will be disqualified and the other driver with the lessor offence is reinstated, providing the grounds for disqualification were equal for both competitors”

“With both these events behind us, we head to Adelaide for Round 6, where the racing is over 1,000 feet rather than the quarter mile. We have had great success racing the eighth mile distance in the Slamfest series, so look forward to racing there. It is our second appearance at the track in our new Top Doorslammer race car, and we will have the Fuchs/Striker Crushing Monaro tuned up and giving it our best shot”.

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Zappia Ready for Battle

Reigning five times back to back ANDRA Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia has arrived in Sydney Australia for Round 5 of the Australian Championship at the prestigious Nitro Champs this weekend – set to do battle with the other 17 competitors.

“We will have the Fuchs / Striker Crushing Monaro cranked up for this weekend” said Zappia, “the competition has caught up to us with several racers capable of five sevens, and five eights – so we need to put our recent race time experiences in Perth to good use, where we have been trying to get the extra power to the track and reduce the amount of tyre shake”.

“A 5.83 @ 250.5mph off the trailer at the test and tune today set our baseline, and we can work from there. We are pretty confident after that pass”.

“We are hoping for some luck this meeting, to get our championship progress back in line with our goals. The Zappia Racing team are pumped and ready for the challenge. Gerry, Richard and I have been working very hard on taming the beast of an engine we have now. Designed entirely in-house, the combination has shown us there is a lot more power in these Hemi’s than we thought, with the Noonan Race Engineering heads working out really well for us”.

“Sydney has been a great track for the team over the years, and we want to build on last year’s Nitro Champs success where we top qualified, ran three consecutive five sevens, and reset the National Record at 5.769 @ 251mph. A loss in the final last year has motivated us to aim for the win this year”.

The Championship sees Peter Kapiris leading with 271 points, followed by Victor Bray on 208 points and Zappia on 185. With four rounds remaining, it is still early days to say who will win.

“We may see some upsets this weekend, as quite a few teams have run the odd five eight. It was unfortunate Garry Phillips was unable to compete in his new Camaro, but he will be back for sure. This is one of the most wide open fields we have raced this year with Kapiris, Fabietti,Sutton, Bishop, Belleri, O’Connor and the Brays who have found form. There is also Mike Janis racing Mifsud’s Duster who could be a surprise packet”.

“All this means we will have some very exciting doorslammer action at the Nitro’s this weekend. Our Co-Naming Rights Sponsors Striker Crushing and Screening, and Fuchs Lubricants will have representatives at the track, and we enjoy their continued support”.

Qualifying starts at 12.20pm on Saturday 4th May (Eastern Standard Time), with Q2 at 3.40pm and Q3 at 6.40pm.

Eliminations are at 11.50am, 2.23pm and 4.40pm on Sunday 5th May (Eastern Standard Time).

The best way to follow the action if unable to attend the track is to tune into the ANDRA Twitter feed, the ANDRA Facebook page, or the www.dragnews.com.au live feed.

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Zappia to Semi Final at Westernationals

Eliminations for the 42nd Westernationals started last Sunday with a magnificent day and by 6pm the temperature had dipped to 25 degrees C (77.f F) with 66% humidity and 1900ft corrected air.

John Zappia had qualified second the day before with a 5.963 @ 245.90 mph, behind Maurice Fabietti on 5.921 @ 240.64mph.

Round 1 saw reigning Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia take on Benny Bray and hole shot him 0.087 to 0.108 and led to 60 feet when he had to pedal. Bray took the lead, but by 1,000 feet Zap had pulled level, and went straight through for the win.

Gregorini 6.047 took out Sutton 6.043 in a tight race. Victor 6.036 took out Pavey 6.063, and Kapiris 6.030 won when Fabietti (6.364) dragged the beams.

The Semi Final of Victor Bray and John Zappia – the two pioneers of Doorslammer racing in Australia, ended up a steady win to Victor whose dead straight 6.012 @ 237.46mph took out Zap after he went sideways at mid track and ran through for a 6.197 @ 238.09mph.

“I was out in front – we went 0.994 to sixty feet – but like most of our runs this weekend the dreaded tyre shake at the top of first gear got us again. I tried to drive through it but the Fuchs / Striker Crushing Monaro ended up pretty sideways. I pedalled, corrected and tried to catch Victor to no avail as he was through for the win”.

Gregorini red lit in the other semi and ran a 6.079 @ 236.22mph to a winning 5.961 @ 237.46mph by Kapiris, setting up a great final between the top two championship leaders – Victor with his second final in a row.

The final round matchup was held up by a track incident, and Peter Kapiris in the Saratoga managed the quickest run for the event 5.868 @ 240.00mph to defeat Victor Bray in the ’57 Chevy who got out early in the run after experiencing tyre shake.

“Congratulations to Peter for the win. That last run was out of the ordinary for the event at five eight, and even crew chief Brew really had no idea why it went so much better than all their other runs on the day. I think the track had dew on it, and allowed a lot more wheel speed and the car got up and over the tyre”.

“We are still third in the Top Doorslammer Championship, and look forward to the next round at the Nitro Champs in Sydney on 4th and 5th May. We will run two local events here at the Perth Motorplex to see out the WA season, before heading off to Sydney”.

“Many thanks to Fuchs and Striker Crushing for their support in our championship bid. We are on one of the hardest missions of all – to defend our 5 Back-to-Back Championships. We have been at the top of the game for five years and now into our sixth, and that takes enormous effort from us and our team. We enjoy support from a lot of local Perth supporting sponsors, and we thank them deeply. We will really have to dig deep if we are to keep our hopes of a 6th straight championship alive but as they say in racing, “anything can happen on the track” and we just need a bit of luck to go our way. There are still 4 championship rounds to go and hopefully we get to compete at all and give us the best chance of catching Peter and Victor.

“I am just as determined to bounce back and get this Fuchs / Striker Crushing Monaro back into the five eights, and five sevens. As a team we are focused and excited – drag racing has such a great future in Australia”.

Photo – thanks to Phil Luyer High Octane Photos

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Zappia qualifies second at Westernationals

The west turned on perfect weather for their biggest event on the calendar – the 42nd Westernationals at the Perth Motorplex. Seventeen teams turned up for Round Three of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship, with anticipation of some tight racing.

First qualifier was delayed for the last few runners due to John Cannuli entering the sand at high speed after a parachute failure. A good reaction time of 0.091 got Zap started well, but tyre shake at the top of first gear meant a lift of the throttle was required, and back on the throttle to drive it out the back door for a 5.963 @ 244.56 mph.

That time put the team at the top of the qualifying order after Q1 ahead of Ben Bray on 6.051, Sutton on 6.066, Cannuli on 6.07 (with a damaged car) and Gregorini on 6.089.

Second qualifier saw Zap suffer tyre shake in first gear forcing him right towards the centreline and another pedal job and still ran a 5.966 @ 245.90mph. Fabietti was back in form running a 5.921 to take top spot from Zap. Victor Bray ran third with a 6.002, and Gregorini bettered with a 6.013 to take out fifth.

Third qualifier saw Zap run a straight pass, but was down on et and mph running a 6.031 @ 245.90mph. Fabietti did not run Q3, so Zappia maintained second position in qualifying.

“We have struggled a little with tyre shake today” said Zappia after racing, “But overall we are happy with our position in the field. The engine is sweet, with no damage or issues; it’s more a fine tuning issue with us – we run a fairly complicated tune and setup on the run, and getting it all together perfectly takes some skill”.

Zappia will run Ben Bray in the Fuchs / Striker Crushing Monaro tomorrow in Round 1. Fabietti will meet Kapiris in an important race, Victor Bray will match up with Pavey, and Sutton will take on Gregorini.

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Zappia into the Final at Goldenstates

John Zappia took the Fuchs Lubricants / Striker Crushing and Screening HQ Monaro to the final in the 41st Goldenstates at the Perth Motorplex this weekend. The meeting was Round two of the Australian ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorslammer Championship, and the result has thrown open the field to good competition for the remainder of the season.

The Final was set for six time champ Victor Bray to take on the new five time back-to-back champ John Zappia in a race where both racers are very popular with the crowd here in Perth. It was Victor Bray who won with a personal best 5.95, as Zappia overpowered the track.

“The delays and weather caught me out in the final” said Zappia, “We had a five eighty tune up in the car, and due to delays in the schedule the fog and dew started to settle on the cars in the staging lanes and it was too much power in the end. I had a little difficulty staging, when I could not see the tree in the mirror and the crew had to adjust it, and my visor got fogged up and I had to unglove to fix that, so it affected my reaction time. Congratulations to Victor Bray though – it was his weekend and he pulled it off”.

Zap ran a 5.869 @ 247.93mph first qualifier, almost hit the wall on Q2, and top qualified with a 5.828 @ 248.61mph in the last run for the Friday night.

Round one saw Zap meet up with 8th Qualifier John Cannuli in the Camaro, and ran a safe 5.930 @ 245.90 mph to a 6.01 @ 240.64mph. Round two was a good straight and safe run for Zappia with a 5.884 @ 247.25mph win over O’Connor (timing error).

“We learnt a lot over the weekend – trying to tame the wild beast of an engine we have now. We got back to consistent five eighties most runs. Where I tried putting more power into the Hemi it turned into an animal – like on the second qualifier where I nearly hit the wall. The future is looking good for us as a team though with plenty up our sleeve, and we look forward to a spirited fight for the championship by all”.

The ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorslammer Championship point’s standings after two meetings finds Kapiris leading with 160 points, flowed by Victor Bray on 122 points and Zappia on 118 and a heap still in contention.

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Zappia Back on Top and Top Qualifies with 5.82

John Zappia showed who was boss in qualifying here at the 41st Goldenstates at the Perth Motorplex by top qualifying his Fuchs Lubricants / Striker Crushing and Screening Monaro in a tough field of Doorslammers. “Were back!” said a jubilant Zappia straight after the run, “I used the entire track on that last pass, but great to top qualify on our home track.”

Zappia led the first round of qualifying at 6.30pm with a 5.869 @ 247.93mph on what the team knew was a five eight tune-up.

Qualifier two for Zappia Racing took everybody’s breath away as Zap turned left at the top of first gear and headed for the wall in the other lane, before turning sharply and narrowly missing the wall. That was just after rookie Shane Catalano did a similar thing and crashed his Studebaker into the wall badly a few passes before.

The final qualifier Zap thrilled his local crowd with a 5.828 @ 248.61mph that put him at the top of the list. The 0.993 sixty foot time was a noticeable jump for the team who traditionally were conservative in that part of the track. Kapiris was not too far away with a 5.876 and Fabietti make a great comeback 5.889 pass to make third.

“The engine is still softened up to get us down the track compared to last meeting, so if we can massage the car a little in the tune-up race day is looking pretty good. The car is running well with no damage, and the crew will complete normal maintenance overnight to get ready for round one tomorrow”.

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Zappia set for Goldenstates

Australian National Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia is competing at his home track for the 41st Annual Goldenstates at Perth Motorplex this weekend for round two of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship, and is hoping to turn around his luck at the event.

“Round one was a setback for us after not qualifying” said Zappia, “But the Fuchs Lubricants / Striker Crushing Monaro will be back strong and competitive, and the team are keen to turn our luck around”.

“We have been runner-up at the last two Goldenstates, losing to Peter Kapiris last year in the final and Belleri the year before in a rain delayed final. The cooler weather gives more power to the cars – top qualifiers for the last three years have been Kapiris 5.847, Judd 5.845 and Fabietti 5.844 – but achieving consistency and putting the power the track is usually the biggest challenge”.

The Perth Motorplex will see a huge field of nineteen Top Doorslammers competing for glory, in a city that breeds very competitive blown alcohol racers – ten of the nineteen are Perth based teams.

Five times back-to-back champion John Zappia has not had an easy run in his championship seasons, with numerous defeats, crashes, non-qualified meetings, and blow-ups. But one thing for sure is his ability to bounce back, be the quickest slammer in the country, and win the critical races when it counts.

Zappia Racing has just signed a new Co-Naming Rights sponsorship deal for the new season with Fuchs Lubricants and Striker Crushing and Screening. The National Record Holder HQ Monaro will see a new look this meeting to reflect the deal.

“We are delighted to have Fuchs Lubricants as Co-Naming rights sponsors again for the season, and their contribution to drag racing in Australia is second to none. Fuchs Lubricants sponsorship allows us to race nationally, with a very competitive package”.

“Striker Crushing and Screening have stepped back up to Co-Naming rights sponsors, complimenting their already large support they give the team. Director Craig Pedley owns the “Crusher” race car but is still spending most of his time up in Malaysia with their factory there. He is really keen for us to maintain our winning form and run quicker”.

“Procomp Electronics are our senior Major Sponsors, and they join a host of other local Western Australian sponsors and supporters who will be at the track supporting us this weekend”.

“We are looking for a win this round to keep our mate Peter Kapiris at bay, and give ourselves a chance at this year’s championship. I expect some tough competition this weekend. We have seen at the last meeting that the rest of the field are catching up to our 5.75 capability, with two cars in the five eights, and four in the five nines on a less than ideal track”.

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Champion Zap misses cut at the Nationals

Australian National Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia had a setback in his ambition to win a sixth straight Australian ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship last weekend, when he failed to qualify for the 2012 Nationals at Sydney Dragway.

Zappia qualified ninth out of the fifteen car field in the Fuchs Lubricants / Procomp Electronics “Crusher” Monaro with a 6.025 @ 246.71mph – not enough for the tough 6.012 bump spot in what ended up being an eventful qualifying day. Peter Kapiris won the meeting, defeating Garry Phillips in the final despite having a fiery crash and suffering minor facial burns.

“We make no excuses for the weekend” said Zap, “Our setup was a little off and we had a component failure, so we had to sit and watch Sunday’s racing in angst. Congratulations to Peter Kapiris and his crew for a very dedicated effort to win the round. ”

Zappia’s first qualifier was a pedalling 6.028 @ 245.67mph as the car rattled the tyres in first gear, with the second pass almost a repeat with a 6.025 @ 246.71mph.

“We found some more horsepower with our engine and putting that to the track proved a little difficult with the particular combination we ran and with the track conditions in Sydney. I backed it down a little for the final qualifying pass, but it still rattled. I pedalled it, and hit second and something let go – I had to hit third and ran out of revs in the end to run a slowing 6.701 @ 168.26mph”.

“We have seen at this meeting that the rest of the field are catching up to our 5.75 capability, with two cars in the five eights, and 4 in the five nines on an average track. We have to stay ahead, and for us that has not only meant buying the latest off the shelf items from the USA, but developing new technology here in Australia – designing a lot of our own engine components, and finding more horsepower in these Hemi engines. Whenever you find more power, there is a learning curve on putting it to the track, and that’s the trouble we had on the weekend”.

“We did get some interesting data from the weekend – our sixty foot times were better, and our speed is up, so we will study the data and learn from that. It’s a long season and we hope we can recover and get the Fuchs Lubricants / Procomp Electronics Monaro back to winning rounds. We have had similar bad starts in recent years, but were lucky enough to recover and go on to win the Championship, so we hope that by getting the car back on track we can do it again. Top Doorslammer is a tough class of racing, but our team has a wealth of knowledge and data to deliver some good results in the coming rounds”.

The Zappia Racing Team will pack up in Sydney, and head back to Perth for Round 2 of the Championship at their home track. The Goldenstates is on the 16th and 17th November, and details can be found here [ HERE ]

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Zappia heads to Sydney for Nationals

The Zappia Racing transporter has left Perth for the long trip across Australia to Sydney for the 2012 Australian Nationals, where team owner and driver John Zappia will start his defense of the 2012/2013 Top Doorslammer Championship title.

A good start for both a new season and his on-track efforts is what five times ANDRA Top Doorslammer champion John Zappia is chasing going into this weekend’s Australian Nationals at Sydney Dragway.

Zappia has made no secret of his desire to overtake Victor Bray’s legendary six straight titles in Top Doorslammer before eying off Gary Phillips’ overall record of seven consecutive professional championships.

“We just need to get a good start this year and put pressure on with our performances, rather than playing catch up through out the season,” he said. “We’ve learned how to run 5.70s and we now need to try and keep there as much as we can”.

Since winning the Top Doorslammer championship in June, Zappia’s off season has been spent competing at some Slamfest events at regional tracks, which provided him with some leads on a nagging tyre shake problem.

“We solved a problem in Darwin that we were having troubles with at both Sydney and Willowbank,” he said. “We were shaking the tyres even when we ran the 5.75 at Willowbank but we got away with it. On other runs I have had to pedal and that is how we have lost some races”.

Reaction times were also an area Zappia has cited as a concern, especially following a hole shot loss to Ben Bray in round one of the Fuchs Winternationals. His average for last season was a relatively slow 0.146 seconds.

“It’s half the car and half me,” he said. “That’s part of some of the changes that we are making to try and make the car leave harder, it’s a bit soft over the first ten feet so we need to make that area quicker which will help with the reaction times”.

Zappia is planning to test the Fuchs Lubricants/Procomp Electronics Holden “Crusher” Monaro on Wednesday at Sydney Dragway, mainly as a precaution ahead of the first round of the championship.

“We want to make sure we have no hidden gremlins,” he said. “It’s not testing anything new as such, but we’ve fixed ten things and maybe created a gremlin we don’t know about. The motor and clutch is still the same, but we’ve changed the throttle cable and moved some fuel lines, so there may be something we might have overlooked”.

“We’re still confident we could go in okay without testing but if we can say it’s all good then we should be good to go.”

The Australian Nationals begin this Friday 2nd November at Sydney Dragway with the Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship with the pros beginning qualifying on Saturday. Event details are [here]

 

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Zappia resets Australian National Record to 5.76 and gets to Final

Fourty five and a half points separates the 2012 in-form racers Zappia and Kapiris in the lead up to the final round of the ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorslammer Championship on June 8th – 11th at the biggest event on the Australian calendar – the Winternationals at Willowbank International Raceway. The event is Round 6 of the Championship, that has seen a tug of war between the two friendly rivals all season. None was more evident than Round 5 – the recently held Nitro Champs at Sydney Dragway.

After qualifying second quickest with a 5.782 @ 249.6mph, Zappia – the reigning four times back-to-back National Champion, worked his way through the field to meet up with Kapiris in the Final in an epic showdown.

Qualifying on the Saturday night saw some excellent racing from the thirteen car field, with a 6.016 bump spot eliminating all teams not up to that pace. Zappia brought the Fuchs Lubricants / Procomp Electronics Monaro out for the first pass and had a few mechanical issues – managing a 6.17 @ 245.0mph to sit on the first round bump spot.

Second run from Zap was a 5.802 @ 249.9mph where Zap got out of the groove slightly, but otherwise a nice pass. With the Zappia Racing crew fine tuning the car, a 5.782 @ 249.6mph third qualifier took them to second place in the qualifying list.

“The five seven eight was more like what we were expecting from the car” said Zappia, “It is behaving how we want, with nice straight passes. Thanks to the crew for some hard work in the break between rounds to tighten up the car and ensure we are well into the five seven zone”.

“We left the car alone for the first round against my fellow West Australian Gregorini, and just snuck in by the skin of my teeth. I was a little disoriented at the tree and a 0.210 reaction time to Daniel’s 0.073 gave him a holeshot. But a strong 5.769 @ 251.1mph pass was too much for the Camaro’s 5.959 @ 240.59mph – and backed up the qualifier National Record of 5.782, and reset the record again with the 5.769! A great result for the team and the hard work we put in to stay at number one”.

Other round winners were Belleri 5.910 over Benny Bray 6.189. Mifsud 5.963 over Sutton 6.486, and Kapiris 5.828 over Judd 6.166.

“Round two was a little more important because Mifsud has a great package at the moment and has stepped up to five eights. As it turned out Sean had to pedal resulting in a 6.378 @ 236.1mph. My run was a little better although it rattled at the top of first gear but I managed to drive through it to a nice 5.785 @ 251.1mph. We are slowly creeping up in the MPH but still a long way off the 256mph that Kapiris is able to get”.

“Kapiris 5.860 defeated Belleri 9.927 in the other semi, so it was obvious watching all the results that the fine line between going quick and overpowering the track and blowing the tyres off was very fine. The extremely fine adjustments of each team’s tuner accounts for everything”.

“We knew that Kapiris would throw everything at his car to win in the final – this was his only Championship chance. So we stepped up the Fuchs Lubricants / Procomp Electronics Monaro ever so slightly – the finest of adjustments based on our extensive data. Balancing ignition timing, with clutch settings, and the fuel management – all strong factors in how the car hooks up on this particular track on the day”.

“The final was an epic race, but unfortunately for me and the team we edged out of the perfect tuning window – and the car overpowered the track. My pedalling 5.941 @ 240.2mph was not enough as I watched Peter Kapiris streak ahead of me in the other lane to an amazing 5.789 @ 256.4mph win – a four hundredths improvement on his best for the day. Congratulations to Pete and his crew for an amazing tune in the final to keep his championship hopes alive”.

“We were very happy with the Fuchs Lubricants / Procomp Electronics Monaro during this event – one of the best Sydney events we as a team have been to. The Top Doorslammer bracket with three separate cars running five sevens , and other brackets provided the large crowd with plenty of wow factor, and close racing.”

“We now know that a second round win at the Winternationals will seal our fifth consecutive championship for Fuchs Lubricants, Procomp Electronics, Striker Crushing and Screening, and all our other Major and supporting Sponsors, and look forward to the challenge”.