John Zappia was crowned 2009/2010 ANDRA Top Doorslammer Champion

Zap goes 5.80

John Zappia was crowned 2009/2010 ANDRA Top Doorslammer Champion last weekend, after he successfully defended his back to back title by winning the final of the Castrol EDGE Winternationals against point’s leader Robin Judd, with a 5.817 @ 246.93 mph and reset the National Record with a blistering 5.805 @ 246.08 in his semi-final win against Ben Bray.

“I love it when a plan comes together” said a jubilant Zappia, “We set some pretty high goals going into the last event, and to almost achieve them all is a testimony to the maturity and standard of our team. We aim high, and work hard at a lot of one percent details on the car and thankfully most of them actually work”.

Zap Top Qualified after running 5.866 @ 241.07mph, 5.831 @ 245.90mph and 5.810 @ 247.02mph. In the first round Zap had an easy win against Bishop who tried to gamble on the starter’s finger and ended up with a massive red light and Zap running 5.852 @ 244.52mph in the Striker “Crusher” Monaro. Round two saw Zap put away Benny the Kid Bray with a 5.805 @ 246.08mph – resetting the National ET record.

The Final saw Zap with a hole shot over Juddy and win with another “five Eight” – his sixth for the event – 5.817 @ 246.93mph and confirm his status as Australia’s king of doorslammer tuning and driving. Zap is also $12,000 richer as winner of the Karcher Tri-State Shootout. The $20,000 prize money is shared between the top three competitors in the Shootout with a breakdown of $12,000, $5000 and $3000.

“This win is mainly for Craig Pedley and Striker Crushing and Screening, who have given me the opportunity to race professionally with their naming rights sponsorship. Jumping into Craig’s “Crusher” Monaro doorslammer gave us the opportunity to move reliably into the five eight second region and maintain a dominant position in performance”.

“Many thanks to Fuchs Lubricants, whose support for the Pro Series racing and our team has been superb, with incentive bonus dollars as part of their sponsorship package an added motivator for us. It’s a credit to Fuchs Lubricants that the car performed at that level all weekend and there was next to no maintenance on the engine. Local sponsors United Industries and Beta Spuds have been extremely supportive in our efforts, and allowed us to run all our local meetings at the Perth Motorplex”. Also thanks to Dave from Mi Camcorders who has helped in filming our runs and giving us more insight into the handling of the car, and also for adding some glamour to the pits and staging lanes with the promo girls.

“Our list of sponsors is long, because we take on a lot of advice and technology from suppliers who are keen to work with us and gain the advantage. Mickey Thompson supply us with their wheels and a good inventory of tyres, and we have been working with Noonan Race Engineering with their billet heads using Victory Valves. We use two sets of components that make it possible to go five eights reliably – Santhuff suspension, and B & J Transmissions”.

Heading the Zappia Racing crew on race day was engine guru Graham Jones from Southside Engine Centre who has been involved with Zappia for his full 26 years of racing. “This is a huge team effort with lots of people involved – in the lead up to events and on race day. The crew worked well together, with a heap of tools from Force Tools on hand. We rely on our knowledge and data systems for detailed analysis, but we are forever learning and incorporating new technology and ways of getting more power”.

Holding his two ANDRA Gold Christmas Trees and the $20,000 Karcher cheque, John Zappia was all smiles.

“Thanks to everyone that’s given us a hand with the car – the crew has done an awesome job all year. The stress everyone copped after crashing and getting up on the wall over here (Willowbank) was huge, and we managed to come back and still run fives with a car untested. But once we realised we could do that, we thought we can put this new car (The Striker “Crusher” Monaro) together and it’s going to run fives straight away, which it did on it’s first pass and ran five eight on it’s fourth pass. A year later we are running back to back eighties and eighty ones like clockwork”.

“A big thanks to all our race fans that have supported us with encouragement and purchased our merchandise. I sign a lot of autographs and myself and all the crew enjoy talking to the fans in the pits. We hope you enjoy the One HD ANDRA Pro Series coverage of the event, which will be coming to you soon. See you next season for more Top Doorslammer action”.

“We are also looking for a Naming Rights Sponsor for next season. Striker had done a three year deal with us – they will still be a Major Sponsor, but we need a Naming Rights Sponsor for a one car, or a two car team for bigger and better things”.

John Zappia:
2009/2010 Australia ANDRA Top Doorslammer Champion
2009/2010 Winternationals Top Doorslammer Winner
2009/2010 Winternationals Top Doorslammer Top Qualifier
2009/2010 Karcher Tri-state Shootout Winner
ANDRA Top Doorslammer National Record Holder 5.805

2009/2010 Perth Motorplex Top Comp Champion

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Zappia racing for third straight championship

Nine points separates the top two ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorslammer racers coming into the final round at the Castrol EDGE Winternationals this weekend with defending Champion John Zappia aiming for his third championship in a row.

Zap dominated the last two seasons of doorslammer racing, but this year two racers have excelled in their performances and stepped up to the top level – Robin Judd and Maurice Fabietti. The season has been a thriller so far, with each final being an unpredictable event.

The final round continues that thrilling competition with any one of the three a chance at winning the Championship, and with the added bonus of a cash payout in the Karcher shoot-out.

“We are leading the Karcher shoot-out by 20 points and we intend to stay in front there, and we are only nine points adrift in the championship chase so there is plenty on the line at the Winters,” said Zappia.

Zappia Racing will present Craig Pedley’s Striker Crushing and Screening “Crusher” Top Doorslammer for the first time at Willowbank International Raceway. The stunning HQ Monaro has proven to be a very straight running race car since its debut this season, and is the current ANDRA National Record Holder at 5.815 seconds, and has run an even quicker 5.814 second pass in Perth at a local meeting.

“We know our Zappia Racing Team confidence is high, and we produce the goods on race day” said Zap, “We beat Juddy in the semi last round, but Maurice got me in the final. It’s going to be close, and the team with the best package on any particular run will win”.

“We top qualified at last years Winters in Zap’s Rat, and ran five 5.9 passes in a row and won the event. The Crusher is a quicker car than the Rat, and the conditions at Willowbank suit our car and setup better. I have never been more relaxed and confident going into this weekend’s event”.

“We have been in four of the five finals this season, but took runner-up more times than the win. So we are out to make amends this weekend with a focused professional performance”.

Racing schedule for the event:

Friday 11th June 2010 – Qualifier 1 from 12.00 pm EST. Qualifier 2 from 2.45 pm EST

Saturday 12th June 2010 – Qualifier 3 from 11.30am EST. Qualifier 4 from 2.20 pm EST

Sunday 13th June 2010 – Round 1 from 10.30 am EST. Round 2 from 12.45 pm EST. Final Round from 3.00 pm EST


Zappia gets to finals at Nitro Champs

Sydney – Australia’s largest city, was host to some of the most exciting ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorslammer drag racing last weekend at the Nitro Championships – and John Zappia managed to knock out Championship leader Judd, and go on to the finals with Maurice Fabietti. The championship race has now hotted up with one round to go.

“It was a very interesting meeting” said the current National Champion John Zappia, “The weather and track temp were major factors all weekend, and selecting the right set-up for each race was critical for all teams”.

“We were pleased to make the final after the Striker “Crusher” Monaro almost missed qualifying. I take my hat off to Fabietti for winning the final and such a good comeback after a major crash – I know personally how much effort that required after crashing Zap’s Rat in Round 1 this season, and getting it fixed for the next round”.

Qualifying started on Friday night on a cooling track, and Zap blew the tyres off in the Crusher and rolled through for a 10.993 – tenth in the field of fourteen. Judd managed a respectable 6.095 to head the field, and Phillips was the only other racer to make a six second pass.

Saturday’s qualifying saw Zap repeat Friday night’s performance by over powering the track, putting pressure on the team to get into the field to keep his championship hopes alive. A 6.128 @ 241.93mph pass in the last qualifier was enough to qualify fourth, and set up a first round match up with Belleri in the Camaro.

Judd top qualified with a stunning 5.848, followed by the roots powered Willy of Mifsud on 6.050, and Fabietti on 6.076. Bump spot for the meeting was 6.396, with Deno sneaking into eigth spot.

“It took a while for us to match the clutch to the track in qualifying, but the data looked good and we were set for our elimination runs with more confidence”.

Sundays racing started in round one with Zap running over the young Mark Belleri with a 5.885 @ 243.77mph to the Camaro’s 6.147 @ 230.1mph. Other winners were Judd (5.870), Bishop (5.995) and Fabietti (5.942).

Round two saw another tough match up between Zap and Judd – possibly a championship decider. But the race was over before it started with Judd rolling the beams and red lighting.

“I was so determined to win this race – we had hotted up the Crusher to make sure we had the power, and it just took off and spent a lot of time on the back wheels on the run. I sit pretty low in the Striker Monaro and when it lifts the front wheels the view is pretty exciting. The 5.841 @ 245.18mph was quick enough for low ET of the meeting, giving me vital points to catch Juddy. This was a very satisfying win for all the team”.

Fabietti (5.873) put away Bishop (6.265) in the other semi to set up a killer final between the two Monaro’s.

“The track temp started to go away as we waited in the staging lanes, and after Fab beat me on the tree the Crusher shaked and rattled and I had to fight the wheel and use up most of the track to try and catch him – but he had the perfect setup for the run and his 5.946 @ 245.76 was too good for my 6.043 @ 241.97mph”

The results of the final opened up the championship for Fabietti, who is now on 500 points and brought Zappia to 526 points – 9 points behind Judd.

“This sets up one of the most interesting Winternationals ever in Top Doorslammer, with the championship decided at that event. We are confident we have what it takes to make it three championships in a row – but as we know in racing, anything can happen on the day, and on any of the runs”.

Zap takes control of Karcher Tri-State Shootout

The quarter mile cross-country race for $20,000 has a new front runner in defending ANDRA Top Doorslammer champion, John Zappia.

As high pressure as their cleaning products; the Karcher Tri-State Shootout is a 3-race swing that started at the Perth Motorplex in February. Points are awarded for progressing through race day eliminations.

In a sporting gesture, all teams agreed to split the $20,000 payday between the top 3 points earners.

Coming in to the penultimate round at Sydney Dragway’s Nitro Champs, Zappia was tied at the top with fellow West Aussie Robin Judd. The two met in the semi finals, where Judd’s red light rendered the points lead in the favour of the Striker Crushing and Screening Monaro.

Zappia failed to extend his points lead in the final, where he struggled to get a grip on the cooling track. Local hero Maurice Fabietti had no such trouble in the other lane, moving in to Karcher Tri-State contention with his third consecutive 5 second pass.

Proof of how focused Zappia is on winning the cash was clear from the moment he removed his helmet after his final round loss.

“That’s OK,” He told the OneHD television crew, “Tyre shake cost us that race, but we are 20 points ahead in the Karcher Tri-State Shootout now.”

Only 30 points separate the top 3 racers going in to the final round in June, the Castrol Edge Winternationals. With 100 points up for grabs on race day, teams will have to bring their A-game if they want to be crowned the inaugural Karcher Tri-State Shootout Champions.


Zappia lurking at Nitro Champs

John Zappia and his Zappia Racing Team are in Sydney for the Nitro Champs at Sydney Dragway this weekend, and is dangerously lurking in second place in the ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorslammer Championship.

Fresh off some very quick passes in Perth, and with a Top Comp Championship Trophy in the bag, professional drag racer John Zappia is poised to make his move.

“We all know when competition is even between competitors, that it’s harder to defend a lead than it is to come from behind” said veteran John Zappia with a smile, “The last few seasons we had a performance advantage – so it was easier to lead and win. But the field is close in performance at the moment and anyone in the final eight could win the event. Gerry and I are full time professional drag racers and we work all day every day on the Striker Monaro at the dedicated Zappia Racing Workshop, and we are constantly trying and learning things to test to improve performance. Sometimes they work and other times they don’t.

“We went 5.814 in Perth at the Nitro Funny Car meeting – quicker than our ANDRA Top Doorslammer National Record, and we beat Juddy in the first round with a killer 0.991 sixty foot time. The pressure is on us more at the local Top Comp meetings, because blown alky is so competitive you need to go five tenths or better under the index to get a win. It seems Top Comp is “on fire” at the moment, with some very exciting racing and teams pushing the envelope and digging deep for innovation. Pressure is an amazing motivator!”

John Zappia will present Craig Pedley’s “Crusher” Striker Monaro for competition and compete with seventeen other Top Doorslammer teams trying to first of all get into the eight car field – then go through three rounds of serious competition.

“While the numbers are encouraging, it really is a four car race in this Championship between West Aussie quick man Judd, myself, New South Welshman Fabietti on a comeback after a serious crash, and young Queenslander Benny Bray”.

“Really we have been combining consistency with experimentation in our local Perth Motorplex rounds. We can dial in a 5.8 tune up – and the Crusher will do it consistently. We have enough data to do that. But I am never happy without improving, experimenting, trying new things – and our engine program is moving in the right direction for even more horsepower. A “five seven” is close – with the right conditions”.

“We know our team has depth – all our volunteer guys do it with a passion, and we have a mixture of “old hands” who have 20 odd years of experience, and the “new turks” who are as keen as mustard to make their mark”.

With two rounds to go in the Top Doorslammer Championship, it will be so close between the top teams and often it is attitude, confidence and the one percent details that make the difference between winning and losing.

“Our confidence is high at the moment in the team. It has not always been that way this season – this is a tough motorsport, and it is very easy to get lost in the tune and setup of the car and go off on tangents. But recently we hit the winning node, and we can feel the confidence and energy amongst the crew”.

“Sydney is a good track for us. It was the venue for our memorable “first in the fives” run in Zap’s Rat, and the track and weather suite us very well. We will be relying on brilliant lubricants from Fuchs to keep things going – our rear bearing wear is negligible at the moment with the good oil, and the Mickey Thompson tyre performance is matching our hard hitting tune. We are seeing some interesting data with clutch settings and wheel speed out of the hole”.

“You may see us start to get aggressive in the sixty foot area of the track – we have always been fairly lazy in that area. It has been a twenty year strategy to built engines with massive torque and gear accordingly. It is in that area we are building confidence. The new Crusher chassis built by SCS Race Cars is just superb, and gives us confidence with more aggressive gearing and clutch settings”.

Qualifying for the Nitro Champs will commence at 6:25pm Friday 30th April with the first qualifier – a chance for teams to stamp their mark on the event. More qualifying starts from 3pm on Saturday 1st May with Round 2, and Round 3 from 6pm. Eliminations begin from 12pm on Sunday 1st May with Round 1, Round 2 from 3pm, and the finals from 4.40pm.

Sponsors, supporters and fans are welcome to come to the pit area and watch the crew in action and purchase merchandise and souvenirs or just to chat to John and the team.




Zap Wins Westernationals – his story.

Last weekends Westernationals saw John Zappia give a commanding performance in the 5th Round of the ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorslammer bracket, driving Craig Pedley’s Striker “Crusher” Monaro into the winner’s circle and stamping his authority on the race to the finish line for the Championship.

“The win was fantastic”, said a jubilant Zap this week, “It’s our first win this season, and back-to-back Westernationals wins for Zappia Racing. We worked hard for it, but our confidence was high all through the event, which saw some brilliant crew turnarounds and my driving lifting a level”.

Zap picked up the Pro Auto Service and Performance $1,000.00 cheque for Top Qualifying on the Saturday night, and reset his own ANDRA Top Doorslammer National Record to 5.815 seconds.

“This meeting is really a win for our Naming and Major Sponsors – Striker Crushing and Screening, United Industries, Fuchs, Force Tools Australia, Mickey Thompson, Beta Spuds, Southside Engine Centre and Noonan Race Engineering who have put their faith and sponsorship dollars behind our team and allowed me to purchase such top quality gear”.

“The Crusher was on rails this weekend, thanks to the perfected four link we run with special Aurora aerospace rod ends, and the Santuff suspension setup. The car was launching straight and all I had to do was hang on for the ride. The combination of Mickey Thompson Tyres and Mickey Thompson Pro 5 Forged Billet Wheels complemented the suspension perfectly. The addition of Mi Camcorder’s digital camcorder has also assisted in fine tuning the suspension, observing my driving patterns, as well as improving security within the marquee”.

“The air was really strange during the meeting though. The odd combination of high temperatures, 2,500 ft corrected air and low humidity made tuning difficult. Quite a few engines suffered damage in the field, including one big bang for us. The data gained will make the next meeting with this combination much easier”.

“Qualifying on the Saturday night began with a 6.069 et @ 238.09 mph where I had to pedal after experiencing blurred vision from tyre shake, and seeing the Karcher Chev heading into my lane. Back in the pits we discovered we had melted some pistons- so it was blower and heads off to replace those and a mad thrash on the Force Tools to get ready for the next round”.

“With a revised tune, the next pass of 5.815 et @ 244.56 mph was a surprise – the quickest racecar with doors in Australian history. The third qualifier was almost exactly the same with a 5.818 et @ 244.56 mph – enough to back up the last run and secure the National Record from ANDRA. Both of those passes had excellent 60 foot times, as I perfected my staging technique”.

“Round one was up against rookie Scott Maclean who made the trip from Darwin, who got me on the lights – but the Crusher hauled him in pretty quick. Around 1,000ft the car nosed over and probably went lean, but I held the boot into it until the TFX let go with a huge bang – with the rods punching a big hole in both sides of the block. We later found out we had a blocked nozzle which caused the piston to overhead and disintegrate “.

Southside Engine Centre guru Graham Jones led the crew on an engine change thrash before the next round, with Fabietti, Phillips and Judd the other round winners. “Definitely a weather factor in the tune” said Jones, “Our engines are now pretty much bullet proof with the Victory 1 Performance Valves, Noonan Race Engineering heads, CP Pistons, and other top class gear we use, and bearing life is pretty good with the quality of the Fuchs oils we use. It’s a good thing we have a good inventory of engines in cases like this”.

Round two saw Zap up against Maurice Fabietti, but in a stunning side by side five second race the Crusher edged ahead and took the win with a 5.828 et @ 244.56 mph to Fab’s 5.955 et @ 242.58 mph. Judd took out Phillips in the other semi, setting up the much advertised battle of the wild wild west between local arch rivals Zap and Judd.

“I was wrapped with running a 5.828 on a brand new motor after the crew did an amazing job of swapping over that engine” said Zap, “That shows depth in a team when things like that happen. I was very confident for the final – we had just ran four fives in a row, with three pretty close together as low five eights. Judd was running high five eights throughout the meeting, so I knew I had to cut a good light and be at my best to turn the tables on Judd for this season”.

“Judd got me on the start line and to sixty feet, but then the Striker Crusher rattled of another low five eight to take the win – 5.829 et @ 243.24 mph to Juddy’s 6.079 et @ 241.28 mph. Fantastic racing for the fans, and topping off a great weekend for our team. We edged into second spot in the Championship, only 34 points behind number one spot held by Judd, and equal points leader in the $20,000 Karcher Tri State Challenge”.

“Many thanks to all our local Perth Sponsors, supporters and fans who helped us celebrate the win. Merchandise sold like hot cakes, and fans took the opportunity to wear their Zappia Racing T-shirts with a winners’ grin. Interstate and International fans will be able to purchase merchandise online soon in the new online store. Special Thanks to Greg and Joanne from United Industries for their hands on help in getting parts ready for the engine swap. Also thanks to the many friends and supporters who got their hands dirty helping put various parts of the car together and taking pressure off the crew. Thanks should also go the Motorplex staff and track crew for the track preparation and the running of the event”.

“I feel we are back in the winning zone now after this meeting, and our confidence is high in the race to the finish in this year’s ANDRA Pro Series Championship. You can see all the action on One HD in a few weeks in a high definition experience well worth watching”.

“The Westerns win gave us enough points to lead the local Top Comp Championship by 10 points, and we will round out the Perth season with two meetings (20th March and 10th April) to try and clinch Perth’s most coveted Championship. We then travel on to Sydney Dragway for Round 6 of Top Doorslammer at the Nitro Champs from 30th April to 2nd May”.

Zap’s battle in the Wild Wild West

This weekend is set to be the biggest battle in ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorslammer drag racing, as the quickest slammers in Australia fight for positions in the Championship at the 39th Annual Westernationals event at the Perth Motorplex.

Returning from a washed out Round in Sydney, John Zappia and his Zappia Racing Team are poised to enter the event as one of the favourites.

“We predicted that the Striker “Crusher” would be the best at putting the power to the track in Sydney” said a confident Zap this week, “We were right, and the pedaling 6.10 @ 239mph on a track all other racers found difficult to get down proved the point. We were disappointed with the washed out meeting for sure, but the extra points for quickest and fastest pass edged us closer to the top of the Championship table”.

“It would have been nice to follow that up with a win, but I think this weekend will be our event. Our team’s confidence is high after coming off some good performances in Top Comp here in Perth, and I have a renewed confidence in my driving. I really drove the Crusher with my throttle in that first pass last event, and am getting better at all aspects of my game”.

“We don’t have that edge in performance we had for the last two seasons, so it’s my driving and the depth of our experience as a team that will make a difference on race day. We know this track well, and have the data set to match any weather conditions that are thrown at us”.

The Perth Motorplex has ramped up the advertising for the event, claiming it will be the battle of the two quickest men in Perth – Robin Judd and John Zappia.

“I think there is more than a battle between Robin and I this weekend. The field is hot and numerous teams are set to put down some good passes. If the conditions are right we could see another field with at least 6 sub 6 second cars competing. This will make for some very exciting racing and fans will be in for a treat both at the track, and on One HD television when broadcast by ANDRA Pro Series Drag Racing”.

First qualifier for Top Doorslammers is on the Saturday at 6pm WST where fifteen teams will do battle. Five Perth based teams are joined by ten from other states in Australia, with several teams making their debut in the class. The second qualifier is at 8pm WST, and the final qualifier at 10pm. Eliminations are on Sunday with the first round at 6pm WST. The semi-final is at 8pm WST, and the Final at 10pm WST.



Zap in Sydney and confident

John Zappia has travelled the width of Australia in the Zappia Racing transporter from Perth to Sydney – a distance of over 4,100 km (0ver 2,500 miles) to compete in the Summernationals this weekend at Sydney Dragway, and is confident the Striker “Crusher” Monaro will produce the goods in ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorlammer Round 4.

“This is the first interstate trip for the new “Crusher” Monaro”, said a pumped John Zappia, “The fans will like the car, if the response from Perth is any indication. We have the new Mickey Thompson wheels on this car as well as the tyres, and they look the piece”.

“Craig Pedley from Striker Crushing and Screening who owns the car has heavy business commitments here in Australia and overseas, and has so far not been able to get in the car to license. I like the car so much it will be hard to give it back, but looking forward to fielding two cars in the future”.

“This weekend is shaping up to be a thriller for Doorslammer fans. I have competed locally in the Top Comp competition at the Perth Motorplex recently – Australia’s toughest Blown Alky competition, and learnt a lot about this car and its potential. Let me just say that I am confident it can consistently run “five eights”, and we will see what the track and weather conditions bring”.

Back-to-back Australian Top Doorslammer Champion Zappia is running third in the current Championship, after final appearances in Rounds 1 and 2 in Zap’s Rat, and being knocked out in the first elimination in Round 3 in the Crusher’s first appearance in competition.

“This new car has so much potential. Our design of the chassis has proven successful on the track, and Zap’s Rat will be brought up to the same design spec before re-entering competition. All teams have found new power with certain modifications to the engine accessories, but I think we will prove to be the more consistent in applying that power”.

“I feel hungry for victory this meeting. Victor Bray always said it was harder defending your lead in a Championship than hunting competitors down, and after setting the standard for the last few years in performance, we are ready to take it up to those teams that have found form and stepped up. There may be a few wildcards in the field this meeting as well – newcomers and some old hands may prove deadly in competition”.

“Top Doorslammer will be very exciting this weekend. The Zappia Racing Team is pumped, and waiting for victory – they are used to winning and want more. Such a dedicated bunch of people that have worked tirelessly in the sport they love”.

“Fuchs are a Major Sponsor for us, and will be well represented this meeting. We use all their oils and lubricants exclusively on both our HQ Monaro race cars”.

“Special thanks go to United Industries and all our local sponsors who gave great support in our local Perth meetings. We ran a 5.950 @ 233.76mph and 5.896 @ 244.56mph to qualify eighth in a field of 15 in Top Comp at the Top Alcohol meeting last meeting, before crossing the centerline in the eliminator”.

Qualifying starts on Friday 12th Feb at 4.40pm EST, 7.10pm EST and 9.40pm EST where nineteen Top Doorslammer teams will contest eight positions in the field.

Eliminations are on the Saturday at 4.25pm EST, 6.50pm EST and 9.06pm EST. Fans can listen live on the internet by going to the Sydney Dragway web site www.wsid.com.au

Zappia Racing fans are welcome to visit the pits and talk to Zap. He especially likes signing autographs for young race fans, so check out the merchandise van for your race souvenir or clothing.


Zappia out in Round 1

John Zappia is licking his wounds this week after a Round 1 loss in the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Pro Series Round Three run at the annual Goldenstates last weekend, despite running three 5.8 second passes.

Zap came up against Ben Bray in a Round 1 match up that had the local crowd on edge, and young Bray recorded one of the biggest snatches of the meeting with some clever driving.

“I got beaten fair and square on reaction time” said Zap, “Congratulations to young Benny Bray – it took the quickest side by side pass in history for him to do it, but that’s the excitement of Top Doorslammer racing at its best”.

The huge crowd at the Perth Motorplex looked stunned and confused after the run, as Craig Pedley’s “Crusher” recorded the lower ET of 5.834 @ 245.23mph, but the green win light was on Bray’s board with a slower 5.880 @ 248.61mph. It was a reaction time of 0.087 from Bray that got him the win against Zap’s 0.140.

Earlier in the weekend Zap ran a gorgeous straight 5.881 @ 243.24mph in the first qualifier on Friday night, after most of the field had trouble getting down the track.

“I wanted to run a 5.7, so I hotted the “Crusher” up for Round 2, but the track could not hold the power and I blew the Mickey Thompson tyres off. So I went back to a safer tune and progressed with a quicker 5.858 @ 243.24mph third qualifier that put us third on the order behind Fabietti’s 5.844 and Judd’s 5.857. Not really where I wanted to be, as it gave me a Round 1 match up against Benny Bray – and he always digs deep to try and beat me”.

The event was won by local West Australian racer Robin Judd, who defeated a hurt Fabietti in the final.

“There is a lot more to this season yet, and we are still third in the Championship – so all is not lost. Some new higher performing parts have finally arrived that I was sort of counting on for this meeting that will go into the “Crusher” for local meetings here. We have four National Open meetings here to contest in Top Comp before the next round of Top Doorslammer. We are now running second in the Top Comp Championship here in Perth and we have a strong chance at this”.

“There are a lot of positives to this meeting even though we went out in the first round. The new Crusher race car is only nine runs old and we are still fine tuning the chassis, suspension and engine. We are quite excited at the potential that we have seen with this car and are looking forward to the remainder of the season”.

“A special thanks to our major Sponsors United Industries, who were at the event for the weekend. They presented us with an amazing coffee making machine that made life easier for the Zappia Racing Team to relax and enjoy the meeting”.

“Crusher” owner and Striker Crushing and Screening Director Craig Pedley and Chris Lane, one of the other Directors were a surprise and welcomed visitors to the meeting to watch Craig’s car compete its first round of the Championships. We hope to see more of them in the coming events.

Some interesting facts on Zappia Racing Top Doorslammer times:

“Zap’s Rat” and “Crusher” combined:
73 total passes of 5.999 or better
23 total passes of 5.899 or better

The pedigree of the new “Crusher” with only 9 full passes:
7 total passes of 5.999 or better – of those 5 have been 5.899 or better
1 pass of 6.005



Zap into Second Final

John Zappia took his newly repaired Striker Monaro to the final of Round 2 of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Pro Series at the Fuchs Nationals last weekend, and in one of the quickest side by side passes in history Robin Judd pipped Zap on the finish line to take the win.

“We are just thrilled to have done so well at this event” said a cheerful Zap after the event, “To make runner up at this event after rebuilding the car and missing out on any testing opportunities, is a good achievement. I lost that final against Juddy with a slow reaction time, and his 5.857 to our 5.870 was as close a Top Doorslammer final as you could get.”

“We are now equal leaders in the Pro Series with Juddy, and are just so glad we have a complete race car in great shape for the next round. We really did not lean on the engine this meeting, as we concentrated on getting the Striker Monaro down the track a little straighter with adjustments to the suspension. The engine was bullet proof all weekend and our maintenance was light, enabling the crew to really enjoy the weekend.”

Friday night qualifying ended up getting cancelled due to scheduling, so the Zappia Racing Team were behind the eight ball after also missing out on testing in Perth due to bad weather the week before. The Striker Monaro had not turned a tyre since the rebuild, but with a nice safe tune and clutch setup Zap managed a very straight 5.996 @ 240.0 mph that took the pressure off the team.

“We were glad to get that pass out of the way, and step the car up to match the top runners in the field. Second qualifying pass the car launched to the right and I short shifted to get it to correct but it stayed close to the wall and it took a heave on the wheel to get it back in the groove and out the back door for a reasonable 5.941 @ 240.8 mph. Third pass was a right off on a cold track, as we made an error in reversing the car outside the tyre marks from the burnout, and consequently launched savagely to the left. With memories of the accident a few weeks ago, I got out of that run pretty quickly and settled for third in the qualifying order”.

First round match-ups saw Zap up against Bishop in his Camaro – who had qualified sixth with his first five second pass. But it was Zap who took the win with a steady 5.955 @ 240.6 mph over Bishops 6.036 @ 240.8 mph. Other winners were Judd 5.874 over Victor Bray 6.105, Ben Bray 6.000 over Kapiris 11.523, and Brijeski 6.155 knocked out Championship leader Fabietti 10.722.

“Deno Brijeski is a dangerous opponent – he has gone very quick in this car into the fives, so I had to step the Rat up a little for Round 2 and to keep up with Judd, so our 5.916 @ 243.1 mph over Deno’s aborted 8.672 was a step in the right direction. Judd disposed of Bray with a 5.951 @ 244.9 to the Monaro’s 6.074 @ 243.5. So it was another final up against fellow West Aussie Robin Judd. I knew he had the edge having run two 5.8′s so far, so I hotted up the Striker Monaro for a 5.8 pass”

The final was filled with suspense as there had been several upsets at the meeting so far in the Pro Series, and the two leaders of Top Doorslammer in Australia faced off against each other. But it was Judd who finally got the win that has been eluding him for years, with a 5.857 @ 245.6 mph to Zap’s 5.875 @ 243.4 -the quickest side by side pass in history that had the crowd on their feet and applauding in stunned amazement.

“How’s that for exciting drag racing! That pass was the culmination of a lot of blood sweat and tears, and intense thought for both teams over the last few years. I am proud of both of us, as we have taken the bracket to a new level of competition, and the other competitors are not far behind. So far this year we have had 2 events where the top 6 qualifiers have been in the 5.9’s and we will soon see a qualifying bump spot of all 8 qualifiers below the 6.0 mark. The rest of the season should be exciting to say the least.”

“A special thanks to all the people that have helped to get the Rat back on track either with materials, advice or personal help. It was a fantastic turnaround time and to have it able to perform like it did off the trailer was a credit to everyone involved.”

Round Three of the Top Doorslammer Pro Series is on 13th/14th Nov with the Goldenstate Titles at the Perth Motorplex, WA. Zappia Racing now head back West for further testing, and the Pro Stock Championship Season Opener at the Perth Motorplex on 31st October.

Fans can see the Fuchs Australian Nationals – Top Doorslammer coverage in high definition digital on OneHD Monday, October 5 (8:30pm east Coast – 6:30pm West Coast) – see your local guides for details. The show is repeated on One HD Prime Time Rewind – Sunday, October 11 (1:30pm East Coast – 11:30am West Coast).



Zap Returns with Confidence

John Zappia is in Sydney this week fired up and ready to take on stiff competition in Round 2 of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Pro Series Championship at the Fuchs Nationals. The National Champ has rebuilt his Striker Monaro after a horrific accident in the Final of Round 1 at Willowbank, which captured the nation’s interest on television.

But as the old saying goes “opportunity and crisis are on the same wind” and the Zappia Racing Team have responded to the crash with a stunning turnaround to have the same car ready to present for competition this weekend, and found new opportunities for improvement during the rebuild.

“I am pumped coming into this event”, said Zap this week, “We have worked very hard not only to rebuild the Striker Monaro, but to improve it in so many areas that we would not normally attempt. Clyde Carstairs and I were able to redesign certain parts of the chassis, and do a very accurate dimension checks that found room for modifications”.

“I think the improvements will make for a better race car, with better geometry and weight distribution. It might help with those huge wheel stands we have been doing lately”.

“A big thanks to Santuff who supplied their latest design front struts and rear shocks just in time for the car to go back on its wheels. The rear wheels are the latest one piece design from Mickey Thompson that add strength and will contribute towards preventing wheel failures.”

“All our sponsors and supporters have been right behind the rebuild, and the crew has been amazing with their efforts. We are proud to be representing Fuchs at their naming rights premier event this meeting. We are a winning team, and winning gives us all extra motivation to go the extra mile and work hard towards continuing the momentum”.

Victory1 have joined the Zappia Racing Supporting Sponsor group, with supply of their titanium valves for the 3,500 horsepower Hemi V8. Combined with the new head work being completed by Noonan Race Engineering, Zap is still finding more horsepower from these blown alky monster engines.

“Our consistency is still our biggest asset in Top Doorslammer and we have the runs on the board for that. Every team has to find the combo that makes their car go quick, then hold that at a consistent level at different tracks and in different weather and track conditions. A crew Chief has to be able to select a 5.9 tune from the data, and go and run that exact number. There are no shortcuts to achieving this, and to have component reliability is the final piece of the puzzle”.

“We are very confident we can do well in this event, and gain enough points in the Pro Series to contribute towards another Championship. Fans can be assured I will not be hanging back, and some exciting Top Doorslammer action can be assured at the track and on OneHD television”.

Racing will begin on Friday 11th Sept were seventeen Top Doorslammer cars will complete their first qualifier at 7pm EST.

The teams will get an overnight break, and then complete qualifier two on Saturday at 2.30pm EST, a third qualifier at 5pm EST, and the final qualifier at 7.30pm EST.

Elimination racing starts on Sunday 13th with round one at 1.15pm EST, round two at 3pm EST, and the final at 5.13pm EST.


Zappia into Final of Blown Alky Champs

John Zappia had a very eventful meeting at the ANDRA Pro Series Top Alcohol Championships over the weekend, and ended up on National television all over Australia for the wrong reasons. After reaching the finals of the Top Doorslammer class to face off against rival Maurice Fabietti, Zap ended up putting the Striker Monaro into the concrete wall in a spectacular crash.

“I am counting my blessings at the moment” said a relieved John Zappia, still at the Willowbank track packing up. “I thought it was going to be worse than what happened when I was facing the wall ahead at 100 miles per hour. Fortunately the car was at an angle and on two wheels, so it was a glancing blow and rode the wall without going over. My body is ok with no damage apart from some minor pain, and that is the main thing – I will be back next meeting ready to fight back”.

Teams struggled with the very high traction of the Willowbank track all weekend in the class, with numerous cars suffering tyre shake and having traction issues. Zap “rattled the tyres” at launch in the finals – a term racers use when the tyre shakes severely – and moved out of the well worn “groove” formed from hundreds of racer’s tyres over two days of racing, and into a super sticky part of the track.

“The rear wheels on the Striker Monaro have one axle connecting both rear Mickey Thompson tyres, so when they have different traction left to right the car wants to turn violently in a right angle direction. I caught it quickly, but the car had the momentum up and ended up on two wheels. The rest happened so quickly, and I was relieved when the Willowbank Track Crew got me out of the car”.

The meeting started on Saturday with three rounds of qualifying where 16 teams were aiming to get one of the 8 spots in the field.

“Our first two qualifying passes resulted in tyre smoke on the hit, as our crew had difficulty in matching the new higher horsepower engine to our clutch baseline settings”.

In a high drama end to qualifying, Zap had yet to qualify into the eight car field. It was make or break run for the defending Champion. But never one to play his drag racing at half pace, Zap had his crew back the clutch off just enough for him to run the quickest time in qualifying and go to the top of the ladder with a 5.894 @ 238.51mph.

“The last run really hurt – the tyre shake in these cars is severe and I suffered a headache after that one. The Rat was back into the five eights on that run though – where it should be based on our prior form. I was glad to pick up the extra five points for low ET, and show the rest of the field I meant business. We now had a baseline for elimination racing and confidence in the team was high”.

The field had been quick, with Fabietti, Ben Bray, Judd, Kapiris and Able all managing five second passes. Phillips suffered a horrific double tyre blowout after the finish line in the second qualifier that permanently damaged his race car for the event.

First eliminator on the Sunday was up against veteran Steve Stanic in the Camaro, who was a little off the pace with a best qualifying time of 6.111. Zap was able to put him away with a 5.863 @ 244.78 mph, to Steve’s improved 6.102 @ 239.19 mph. Other first round winners were Judd over Kapiris, Fabietti over Bishop, and Bray over Able.

Second round saw Zap face his closest competitor from last season Robin Judd in a re-match of the Winternations Finals. It was Zap the victor again this time around with a brain rattling 5.834 @ 246.71 mph defeating Judd who had to back off after experiencing shake. Fabietti disposed of Ben Bray in the other match up. So it was the two quickest racers facing each other in the final – Zap and Fabietti.

“The data logger showed the front wheels were off the ground for all of first and second gears on that run with the new power, and I wrestled the torque through the steering wheel down the track”.

“I hotted up the Rat for the final, expecting Fabietti to do well after his 5.960 and 5.953 runs, and tried to get the power to the track to get some wheel speed off the line. But it still rattled on launch, so I pedalled it quickly as it went out to the left. Then the left rear tyre hooked up hard on the super sticky section of the track and turned the car hard right – then “whack”!

“Look, we are sad the car has been damaged – but we got 85 points to slot into second in the Championship and we have five weeks to repair the car. We rolled the car first meeting last year and still won the championship, so this setback, even though it’s worse than last year is not too great for me and the team to overcome. The car will be taken back to our workshop in Perth, where it will go on a jig for symmetry and crack checks. We will know then what our plan is after we have fully assessed the damage. We have a contingency plan up our sleeves with the second Striker Monaro nearly finished.”

“Many thanks to all the team members, sponsors, friends and fans that have rang to check up on how things are. A special thanks to the track and medical staff at Willowbank Raceway for their professional actions and treatment”.


Blown Alcohol Champs

ANDRA Pro Series drag racing kicks off the new 2009/2010 season this weekend the 8th and 9th August at Willowbank International Raceway with Round 1 of the Top Doorslammer Championship. Fresh off back-to-back Championship wins, legend John Zappia and his team are ready to take on all comers in his killer Striker Monaro.

“ANDRA drag racing only gets better and better” said veteran John Zappia this week, “The Pro Series is an evolution and step up for all Group 1 Teams, where we can perform on the national stage both at the track and on television. The One HD coverage has really made a difference to how drag racing is viewed on television, and the feedback from our fan base is excellent. There are many people who were not drag racing fans commenting on how good the coverage is and how exciting the sport of drag racing is. This is giving our sponsors enormous exposure and hopefully will expand to more sponsors getting involved in the best value for money motorsport”.

“The Top Doorslammer Championship will be tougher for us this year. We dominated last year because of a performance and consistency advantage, but many teams are stepping up their performance this year and may come closer. But in true West Aussie fashion we do not stand still in our drag racing – we move forward to set more benchmarks and set new records. It’s a tradition here in Blown Alcohol”.

The Striker Monaro sports new livery, with Fuchs and United Industries taking bigger stakes in their Major Sponsorship with larger stickers on the HQ. Striker Crushing and Screening are still the force behind the team, with Craig Pedley’s awesome new Top Doorslammer set for testing this season, and in full support of Zap’s journey towards a third championship win.

“We have refurbished Zap’s Rat over the winter break and fitted a brand new engine, so we expect a little more performance and much of the same super consistent runs from the car this season. I still have plenty to go in my tune up on this engine combo with a few new ideas brewing, and I think the new benchmark this season will be a 5.7 second pass”. For us to achieve three in a row, we need to be on our game as there will be stiff opposition from the likes of Robin Judd, Maurice Fabietti, Ben Bray and Gary Phillips. Each year the bump spot is lowered and we expect to have several bump spots in the 6.0’s this season. This doesn’t leave much room for error and could come down to reaction times or consistency of runs.

Competition for qualifying on the Saturday will be tough, with sixteen cars all trying to fit into eight spots for eliminations with runs at 1.00pm EST, 3.00pm and 5.00pm.

Overnight teams will be able to lick their wounds, repair damage or put the final touches for Sunday eliminations at 12.30pm EST, 2.15pm and 3.45pm onwards for the finals.

The Zappia Racing Team is focused on winning another Championship this year, with top level consistency being their strength, as John Zappia enters his 26th year in drag racing in 2010.

“John really is a big factor in the wins we have” said nitro guru Graham Jones from Southside Engine Center, “Going to Willowbank really is a tough assignment for any driver in these big events, and Zap is just so cool under pressure, and can produce the results when it counts. He really is as good a driver as you could get in this category, with the feedback he gives after each pass, and his tuning ability. It’s a formidable combination really – heading up this very seasoned team”.

“This crew we have now are the best” said Zap, “A lot of work goes into the car well before we even get to the track and they should be applauded. But it’s when something goes wrong that they really shine – those quick thrashes to do an engine change between races and still get on the start line are awesome. Gives me confidence to win”.

“A new range of T-shirts will be available at the Zappia Racing Merchandise Trailer. So make your way down to our pits and join in the buzz of Australia’s Top Doorslammer team going about their crew duties, massaging more horsepower out of the hemi blown alcohol engines to heat up those Mickey Thompson slicks”.