Zap’s Winters Story

John Zappia finished the 2008/2009 season on a high last weekend, by Top Qualifying and winning the Final in Top Doorslammer at the Winternationals. It was a demonstration of power and consistency – typical of his teams performance all season in which the Striker Monaro Top Doorslammer remained unbeaten.

“What a season” said a reflective Zap this week, “Everything came together this season after years of preparation and testing, and it’s a credit to all of us in the Team. I wanted to win this Winternationals for so many reasons, but we had to work hard for it. We had a component failure in the first qualifier, and had to change an engine after the second run, which we did in record time.”

Sixteen teams started qualifying on the Friday, and fellow West Australian Robin Judd led the pack with a 5.912 @ 241.8mph, and Fabietti and Benny Bray both managing fives. Zappia was last out and just blew the tyres off on the hit, causing him to abort the run.

“We had a component failure in the lock-up clutch mechanism, and I guess we were lucky it happened then and not later in racing. We repaired the car, and having watched the other cars and the way the track was biting, I put a tune in I knew would be on the money, and something the Mickey Thompson slicks could handle.”

Second qualifying session saw Zap move to the top of the qualifying ladder with a 5.901 @ 242.33mph in true Zappia style. The engine suffered damage on the run though, and the crew were faced with an engine change in a short time frame. An oil down just helped the crew fire the car up quickly, and race to the staging lanes. A 5.922 @ 242.33mph was not to shabby on a new untested engine”.

Zappia faced off against Bishop in Round One, but was too strong with a 5.999 @ 239.49mph to the Bishop’s Camaro 6.176 @ 233.64mph. Benny Bray was Zap’s opponent in Round Two, and a 5.930 @ 240.77mph was enough to take the win after the Castrol Monaro broke a gearbox and coasted to a 7.914 @ 119.30mph.

The consistency of our runs can in some way be contributed to our B&J gear boxes which have performed brilliantly all year with no maintenance required between meetings.

The stage was set for another Zappia versus Judd final – the fifth such finals match up for the season. The Blue Collar versus the White Collar – a classic battle of the super quick West Australians.

“I staged the car as usual – these cars are a little hard to get exactly right on the start line – and knew I had to react well to win. I cut a 0.477 light (0.077 at Kwinana or WSID) and never saw Juddy out my window – the Rat just took off and ran a 5.909 @ 242.85 mph for the win.”

Robin Judd indeed had a slow 0.752 start, and his 5.943 @ 245.63 mph would not have been enough for the win as the three car length advantage showed. These two West Australians have indeed set the pace and stepped up a notch this season in Top Doorslammer. Interestingly the 5.8’s run by both finalists in previous meetings proved more difficult to run at the Winternationals. The track was super sticky and there was a considerable head wind for most runs.

“I was thrilled with the win, and meant I had achieved so many goals I had set for the meeting, and the season. We take home the two trophies as well as a brilliant Karcher High Pressure Cleaner, which will get plenty of use in the workshop. Many thanks to the management of Karcher for sponsoring the bracket and their involvement in Drag Racing.”

“I must thank some key players in this Teams success, both who could not attend the Winters this year. Graham Jones from Southside Engine Center must take credit for using his drag racing wisdom and setting in motion the game plan to get consistent this year, and didn’t it show with amazing bracket car like times.”

“In order to achieve that plan, we needed support and some systems, and Striker Crushing and Screening Director Craig Pedley stepped up to the plate with his naming rights sponsorship and cash injection used for inventory. He demanded proper systems and accountability in the team, like he has in his successful business, and those were implemented by myself and the Team. The result was success and a move away from the backyard mentality to professionalism – and that also showed.”

“The crew have responded amazingly, and winning makes drag racing so much more enjoyable for them – the hard work and travel certainly can be a burden.”

“I think we have proved a point this meeting and season – we know what we are doing in Top Doorslammer. We will prove next year that we can do similar things with two cars, and maybe some customer cars. We hope to get the chance to compete against the best in the world, if the opportunity presents itself and the terms are right.”

“Drag Racing is such a fantastic motor sport, and our Sponsors Striker Crushing and Screening, Fuchs Lubricants, United Industries, Force Tools and many of our other sponsors are getting their money’s worth, and we thank them for their involvement”.

“Thanks to all the Zap’s Rat fans who continually come to watch us race, visit us in the pits and give us so much encouragement. You have bought our merchandise and wear it proudly, and thanks for that. We will open an online store soon so purchases will be easier for fans”.

“See you all next season, where the burnouts will be long and smokey and the HQ Monaro’s will be even quicker. Blown alcohol Doorslammer action at it’s best”.


Zap Wins Winters!




Zappia Racing set for Winters

John Zappia – the man that has set the pace this season in Top Doorslammer with stunning pace and consistency – has arrived in Queensland with his Zappia Racing team ready for the Castrol EDGE Winternationals this weekend.

Undefeated so far this season, Zap is all set to unleash his magic again for his sponsors and fans in the Striker HQ Monaro, with his famous long smoky burnouts and wild driving style.

“We are really looking forward to the Winters this year” said Zap, “We were knocked out in the Semi last year, so we would like to make amends for that. We would love to keep our unbeaten record for the whole season going, just to make a point. The crew have been amazing this year – like a Formula One Team in discipline and performance”.

“Some of the other racers are capable of surprising us but having said that, we don’t look over our shoulder when we race – the crew and I are committed to being out in front and winning by doing the basics very well, and finding all the one percent advantages”.

Zap has sufficient points to win the 2008/2009 ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship, his second Championship in a row, without even qualifying but that is not the way Zap thinks.

“The season is not over until the final is run, so it’s back to our usual routine for the qualifying sessions. Despite our strong consistency this season, Top Doorslammer is still a very difficult bracket to master and so much depends on the track condition. The last round in Sydney showed us that as I really had to drive the car to get it down the track. I am confident the Mickey Thompson tyres can handle the typically sticky Willowbank track”.

“As an Added bonus, we would really like to win the Karcher Pressure Cleaner prize for winning the event. Would be a great tool for the workshop back in Perth”.

“Big congratulations to Victor Bray for his achievement of 30 years in the Sport. He has won more Championships than anybody in Doorslammer, so I have a lot of catching up to do. I started my career in the original Zap’s Rat in 1984 with an injected 454 in A/GAS, a total of 25 years, although I did have a break from the sport for a few years”.

“We are entering the most exciting times in our sport in Australia and Internationally, and our sponsors Striker Crushing and Screening, Fuchs Lubricants, United Industries, Force Tools and many of our other sponsors are really impressed with the quality of the ONE HD TV programs from ANDRA”.

“There is also a lot of talk regarding International drag racing possibilities at the moment, and we are involved in those developments in the early stages. As a full time professional drag racer, the opportunity to take our Aussie ingenuity overseas and prove ourselves against the world’s best would be an exciting prospect”.

The Castrol EDGE Winternationals is Australia’s largest and most prestigious drag racing event, and the largest drag racing event outside of North America.

The inclusion of Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup match racing each other should also prove an added draw card to what will be a huge meeting.

First qualifier for the event is scheduled for Friday 5th June at 5.30pm EST. Fans not attending the event can listen live on www.speedfm.com.au or check the www.zapsrat.com.au web site for regular short updates.

Second and third qualifiers are scheduled for 12.00pm EST and 2.30pm EST on Saturday 6th June. Sunday 7th June features all the eliminations, with Round 1 at 12.30pm EST, Round 2 at 2.19pm EST, and the Final 2 – 3 hours later as the finals progress.


Zappia in the drive of his career

John Zappia showed Sydney fans why he is the Australian Top Doorslammer Champion on the weekend at the Karcher Nitro Champs, by driving his way to Top Qualifying position on a track no other competitor could get down, and winning the Final with an ANDRA National Record setting wild ride of 5.828 seconds at 246.17 MPH.

“The Striker Monaro took a lot more driving this weekend than normal to get down the track” said Zap – still smiling from the win, “The track was prepared really well – very sticky. But the weather and other factors made the car a handful on occasions. It’s fantastic to take this win for Striker Crushing and Screening – our naming rights sponsors, and all our other Major and Supporting Sponsors”.

“ANDRA have been all over the car to verify compliance, as well as downloading our Motec data and checking for any illegal outputs to hopefully put an end to all the rumors and innuendo about unfair advantages. As expected we have come up clean after checking the engine capacity, blower overdrive, clutch setup and computer data outputs and been awarded the Winners Trophy, and National ET Record. This win is a result of years of experience, and an extraordinary amount of hard work by a lot of people associated with the team. I personally thank everyone who has supported our racing efforts”.

Zappia now has an unbeatable lead in the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship heading into the final event – the Winternationals at Willowbank International Raceway.

The final saw Zap up against arch rival Benny Bray, who had only managed one five second pass during qualifying. Young Benny got the hole-shot on the tree with an amazing 0.023 reaction to Zap’s 0.106 and was out in front until the huge power of the Striker Monaro overtook him and went on to take the win with a 5.828 @ 246.17 mph to Benny’s 6.042 @ 240.12 mph.

“We actually made no changes to the car for that last pass. The air came around really nicely, and on the launch the Rat lifted the front wheels like it never has before. I had to short shift to get the wheels back on the ground, then settled in to catch Benny. At about 800 feet a fuel nozzle line in the supercharger hat started hosing out fuel – so much so that I could hardly see out of the windscreen. I think Lady Luck was smiling on us as that leaned the engine out just enough to produce the 5.828 and the huge 246.17 mph speed”.

Earlier Zap had disposed of Ray Bernard in Round One with a 5.861 @ 244.34 mph to a 6.292 @ 230.06 mph, and Maurice Fabietti in Round Two with a fantastic close race. Maurice’s 6.055 @ 238.55 mph was not quick enough for Zap’s 5.839 @ 244.65 mph though.

“It was unbelievable to run three 5.8 second passes in Eliminations! That’s fantastic racing and sets a high standard for us to maintain. Combine that with our 5.843 @ 245.14 mph Top Qualifier on the Saturday, and that has guaranteed us to win the Championship for a second year in a row”.

“Friday’s first qualifier was a memorable one though. When all the other teams had trouble getting down the cold track, the Striker Monaro managed a 5.991 off the trailer to stamp our mark on the weekend. The car went right, I over corrected and went left and hugged the wall in a run that took my breath away”.

“The data logger shows Zap did not lift his foot off the accelerator for the entire run” said his brother Richard – resident IT guru and data manager, “That was a ballsy drive for Zap – I have watched my brother race for many years, but that was a noticeable and memorable run”. Just when I thought that was the drive of the series John produces a better one in the final. Most drivers would have eased off at the sight of fuel hosing out of the fuel line but the Motec data shows the throttle position was at 100% for the entire run with not even a hint of backing off. Back at the pits when I showed this to the John and the team, John said ‘I wasn’t backing off for anything, and being the final we had nothing to lose’ “.

The Zappia Racing Team fly back to Perth for a short break, then head back to Willowbank International Raceway on June 4th for the famous Winternationals, where Round 8 of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship will be held, and the Championship Trophy duly awarded.



Striker Monaro ready for Nitro Champs

John Zappia is the man to beat in Top Doorslammer, and his Zappia Racing Team are in Sydney Australia for the Karcher Nitro Champs for three days of full on drag racing including Top Fuel, Top Bike, Top Alcohol, Pro Stock and Round 7 of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship.

“We love coming to Sydney” said Zappia while setting up for the event, “We have always had good results here, and the track is good and safe. It’s a huge event over three days, and with Doorslammer having nineteen competitors, the pressure will be high on teams performing well”.

“We are coming off one of our best events at the Tin Tops last meeting, where the Striker Monaro was super consistent with five runs in the 5.8’s, an event win, and a new National Record. Hopefully the weather will be cooler here in Sydney so we can go even quicker. One HD Television has a repeat of the Tin Tops event on Friday 1st May at 2.45 Eastern Standard Time, and 12.45 for those in Western Australia”.

Zappia leads the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship after six rounds, on 553 points with four event wins. Fellow Western Australian Robin Judd is the only close contender, 153 points behind on 400 points.

“We will race as per our usual plan this weekend, with the only changes being new Mickey Thompson tyres on the rear. The Striker Monaro can handle the extra power we are delivering, with most runs straight down the middle of the track. A testimony to the crew, and our dedication to constantly improving our set up and the pursuit of those one percent advantages”.

First Qualifier for the event is on Friday night 1st May at 7pm Eastern Standard Time. Day two 2nd May sees the remaining three qualifiers at 3pm, 5pm, and 7pm. Live audio of the event can be heard at www.speedfm.com.au

“We have a history of top qualifying in these events, probably due to the fact that we race a lot at our home track in a very competitive Top Comp bracket, and have extensive data in our electronic systems. The car is well set up, so there is no experimentation or guessing in competition for us – it’s all known set-ups and known tune-ups and the repeatability is there for us”.

“I think a few guys in Top Doorslammer have hot tune ups at the moment, and are making plenty of power, but it’s the repeatability and consistency of quick ET’s that gives us the advantage over a whole event”.

“I believe there is more to extract from these cars, and the Striker Monaro may go even quicker. I remember when a 5.9 second run was a dream for us, then a 5.8 became a distinct possibility, and now 5.7’s are not unreasonable if the weather and track conditions are spot on. That’s pretty exciting!”.

“We still have to be on our game though, it takes a lot of work to get these cars race ready, and free from unforced errors. We have some modifications that are available for these TFX engines, and some of our own that give us more power and reliability. The crew do a fantastic job, and are all professionals at their individual tasks”.

Eliminations get underway on day three 3rd May, with Round 1 at 12pm, Round 2 at 2pm, and the Final is at 3.30pm.

“It’s a long event with plenty of time, so make sure you come down to the Zappia Racing pit area and watch the crew working on the Monaro. We have our merchandise trailer loaded with goodies, and I spend a lot of time with fans individually signing items and having a chat”.


Zappia Dominates Tin Tops

John Zappia simply blitzed the field in this years Castrol Edge Tin Tops with an amazing string of consistent 5.8 second passes, and won the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Final in Australia’s first side by side five second pass. The final win by Zap of 5.858 also resulted in him reclaiming the Australian National ET Record which he previously held.

“This was just an amazing weekend for the Zappia Racing Team” said a jubilant Zap, “The Striker Monaro was on rails all weekend, and we are so glad to have the win for our new Sponsors United Industries. Striker Crushing and Screening deserve all the credit for sticking with their Naming Rights package through these tough economic times, and the support from our other Major Sponsors Fuchs Lubricants, Force Tools, Mickey Thompson Tyres, Beta Spuds, and Southside Engine Center has been fantastic”.

With thirteen cars all hotted up and ready to qualify for eight positions, it was Zappia who sizzled the field in round one of qualifying. Having been shut down after the burnout due to Travis Conner damaging his engine, Zap was allowed to run after the Pro Stock qualifying runs, and rattled off a 5.886 @ 243.38mph to claim the top qualifier spot.

“The engine really never cooled down properly, and got pretty hot on that run. We had it backed down a little from the 5.83 tune from Perth, but it still damaged several pistons on the run. The crew were not able to get the car ready for the second qualifier, but the third was a nice straight 5.888 at the same mph of 243.38. That put us 0.083 ahead of the rest of the field, who struggled to get down the track, with any consistency”.

First Round saw Zap rattled off a 5.870 @ 245.77mph against a struggling Victor Bray who suffered severe tyre shake and had to button off. Second Round was up against Garry Phillips who also suffered tyre shake – Zap making the better of the conditions with a 5.895 @ 244.70mph to Garry’s 8.545 @ 108.91mph.

The Final was up against the two leaders in Top Doorslammer – John Zappia and Robin Judd. The battle of the tuners – Zap versus Rowland, and the battle of the drivers. Both Western Australians – home of the quickest blown alky cars in Australia.

“Juddy actually hole shot me with a 0.473 reaction time to my 0.524, and I could see him out in front up until half track. But the Striker Monaro came on hard in the second half of the track and I went round the outside and took the win by about half a car length”.

Zap’s 5.858 @ 246.58mph over Judd’s 5.946 @ 242.20mph reset the record books, and stunned the crowd who were all on their feet to witness one of the most memorable runs in Top Doorslammer history.

“It took until the Striker Monaro achieved 48 five second passes before we were able to have a side by side five second run in Australia – and what a race it was! We have now done ten 5.8 second passes, with the weather conditions governing any real advancement on the day. We had extra heat and higher corrected altitude to contend with here in Willowbank this weekend compared to Perth, but who knows what will happen in the next two rounds”.

“We stay in Queensland to service the car, then head down to Sydney for the Nitro Champs and Round 7 of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship. With 556 points, we are now 156 points ahead of Judd on 400 points – a nice healthy advantage. But make no mistake – we are always out to win and do our best, and in Sydney make sure you turn up for some great Aussie Doorslammer action – every time I get in and drive Zap’s Rat, I drive to go the quickest, the fastest, and to win! Long smoky burnouts are pretty cool to do in a 3,500 horsepower monster, and Sydney’s track sure makes those Mickey Thompson’s belch white smoke like no other track”.

Many thanks to the Willowbank International Raceway management team and staff for putting on a fantastic event.

Zap’s “Tin Top” Striker Monaro Ready

The 2009 Castrol EDGE Tin Tops at Willowbank International Raceway this weekend will see some exciting Top Doorslammer action, and John Zappia has his Striker Monaro in it’s quickest and consistent form yet.

“Our latest testing in Perth proved to me and the team that the possibilities for improvement are endless with these Top Doorslammers” said Zap, “We managed consistent 5.83’s and 5.84’s with just a couple of changes. We simply cannot rest on our laurels as competitors like Peter Kapiris, Ben Bray and Robin Judd proved that they are also capable of running consistent fives”.

“I think, what we have demonstrated this year, is a huge reduction in forced errors and failures on the car, and a more professional approach to scheduled maintenance, race day systems and data development. The result is a steady and consistent increase in performance levels. ”.

“We have huge respect for our competitors and never take it for granted that a win will be ours. I lost the Grand Final last meeting at our local track against a very tough competitor, so I don’t always win. Judd, Phillips, the Brays and a couple of outsiders are chances here this weekend, and drag racing can be won or lost in seconds on the track”.

The Striker Monaro Top Doorslammer is based on a HQ Holden GTS – a popular muscle car of the 70’s in Australia. The body on Zap’s car is a true “Tin Top” – having the roof, quarter panels, boot area and rear wing of all metal construction, with the doors and front clip manufactured from the latest carbon fiber technology.

“We go into Round 6 of the Top Doorslammer Championship very confident, with both a healthy lead in the championship points – and a healthy lead in performance over the field. But having said that, we go into this weekend with our standard plan of qualifying in set combinations based on the track and conditions, and making our decisions on tune and set-up based on our data and astute observations after every run”.

“The weather is looking good for the weekend, and usually the Willowbank track has very good traction. We will decide on what Mickey Thompson rear tyres to use based on qualifying results, and track observations. We have consistent 5.88 passes on the 3186 tyre now, and consistent 5,83 passes on the 3187 tyre, giving us excellent choices on race day”.

This weekend will be the first event for new sponsor, United Industries WA Pty Ltd from Perth Western Australia, who have signed up as a Zappia Racing Major Sponsor. United Industries is a privately owned company manufacturing, supplying and installing industrial products for the Mining, Oil and Gas, Industrial and Commercial sectors.

“The United Industries Directors were down at the Kwinana Motorplex last meeting, observing our team and the performance of the Striker Monaro, and came away very impressed. For us they brought us luck on the day, and there was a lot of excitement and a real buzz in the pit area after running Australia’s quickest Doorslammer pass”.

“We look forward to United Industries sponsorship in the future – fans will notice the new logo on the front guards of Zap’s Rat – and that sponsorship allows us to keep our race plans going, and putting their name in the winners circle”.

Qualifying for this weekends Tin Tops starts on Saturday afternoon 18th April at 4pm, 6pm and 8pm, where 15 Top Doorslammers win attempt to fill 8 position in the field.

Eliminations start on Sunday 19th April at 12.30pm for Round 1, 2.15pm for Round 2, and Finals scheduled after 3.45 as required.

Zap’s Rat fans are welcome to visit the Zappia Racing pit area to see the crew in action between races. The Merchandise trailer will be open for business, where fans can avail themselves of the latest drag racing shirts, caps, stubby holders and bar mats. John Zappia will personally sign any merchandise for fans over the weekend.



Zappia wins the Westernationals

John Zappia and his Striker Monaro dominated the 2009 Westernationals last weekend at the Kwinana Motorplex, and with the bonus points on offer gained enough points in the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship to have one hand on his second successive Championship. In true John Zappia spirit, he won’t be relaxing, and will strive to win as many of the remaining three events as possible.

“For twenty years we have been trying to win this event at our home track” said Zap at the awards ceremony, “When I blew up the engine on the first qualifier pass, we all thought the bad luck was going to continue – in years past we have had some terrible bad luck. But the crew were fantastic, and we managed to get in the field and top qualify, and then follow up and take the final for the win”. A special thanks to all the crew, including friends and supporters who pitched in with cleaning up oil spray, dirty parts and general assistance around the pits. They all know who they are.

Zap now has 448 points, and takes a 128 point lead over fellow Western Australian racer Robin Judd on 320 points, followed by Gary Philips on 255 points, and Benny Bray on 253 points. Bonus points were awarded to racers for travelling the huge distance to Perth, and Zap picked up 150 points for the win and 8 points for Low ET. His 243.24mph run was equal High Speed with Benny Bray, but Benny secured the 8 points by completing that speed first over the event.

Qualifying on Saturday night was stunning and full of drama. Kapiris stunned the crowd with a 5.947 @ 241.93 first pass, and Zap’s run ended with a big bang at half track when the rods let go and lifted the blower. Unable to make the second qualifier, the Zappia Racing crew looked on as Benny Bray rattled off a clean 5.971 @ 243.24mph, and Robin Judd sat on the bump with a 6.443 @ 233.76 mph.

“We put in a spare engine that had a new Crow cams camshaft that had never run, and the crew were just amazing in their delivery. Everyone pitched in to repair the manifold, and adapt certain parts to the new engine. Plenty of Force Tools in the pit area for everyone to use made the job easier. We seem to strive on challenges, and I was a little unsure of how this engine would perform as it had a different cam profile that affected the tune”. With less than 10 minutes before the scheduled race start we still hadn’t started the motor. After a little hiccup with the timing we managed to start the car and set the timing. The car was quickly towed to the start line whilst John dressed into his race suit as he walked to the start line.

But Zap need not have worried, because he rattled off an amazing 5.946 @ 242.58 mph to pip Kaparis out of Top Qualifier position by one thousand of a second! The local crowd went wild, giving Zap a standing ovation on his return from the run. Stuff legends are made of.

Round one on Sunday night saw the Striker Monaro up against rookie Matt Able in the lenco drive Chevy, and what a race with Zap going around the outside for a win with a 5.973 @ 242.58mph to Matt’s personal best 6.218 @ 226.13mph.

Round two saw Zap up against danger man Deno Brejeski who is capable of a five second pass. But the Striker Monaro was too strong for the Sydney racer who’s 6.187 @ 234.37mph was no match for Zap’s 5.935 @ 242.58mph.

The final was all set for an awesome match up against two top crowd favourites in Perth – John Zappia and Peter Kapiris. The question was again asked “ Will we see a side by side 5 second pass tonight” But the race was all over in a second as Kapiris blew the tyres off on the hit and went sideways. In the left lane Zap bolted to a 5.935 @ 243.24mph straight pass to take the win and the event.

“I love it when a plan comes together” said a jubilant Zap afterwards, “This Striker Monaro is just so dominating and consistent now – four five second passes in a row, and all pretty much straight and true. That’s hard to beat. It is a pleasure to tune and set up according to the weather and track conditions. The Mickey Thompson tyres absolutely stuck to the Kwinana track that was so well prepared – many thanks to the Motorplex management team, ANDRA officials and track staff.”

“I think success breeds success in teams, and we certainly are strong at the moment. We see it in AFL and other team sports where a team breaks away from the rest and dominates. Our confidence is high, and our decision making is spot on for the conditions. It’s good for the sport and creates a vacuum for other teams to step up and provide exciting racing for the sponsors and fans as was evident at the Winters last year with several racers broke into the 5 second bracket.”

“It’s also a response to such brilliant support from Striker Crushing and Screening, Fuchs Lubricants, and our other sponsors and supporters”.

“We stay in Perth for the next two local events, before heading over to Willowbank for Round 6 of Top Doorslammer at the Tin Tops”.



Zappia seeks a win at the Westernationals
The Westernationals is Western Australia’s premier drag racing event, and local hero John Zappia is keen to cap off his recent super consistent form with a win in Top Doorslammer. The Striker Monaro leads the 2008/2009 Championship after four rounds – two of which have been washed out due to bad weather at WSID. This fifth Round is a pivotal event for several teams and could go a long way to deciding the championship.

“I have never won a Westernationals” said Zap this week, “The whole Zappia Racing team are fired up about the prospect of winning this event on our home track. I would say that our team is in the best position ever to win, since we returned to racing with this HQ Monaro almost six years ago this month”.

“We now have the Striker Monaro so consistent, even a bracket racer would be happy with the times. Our chassis and engine combo’s are sorted, and we once again start the process of finding one percent improvements to allow consistency and progression to happen together as we race.”

The field of nine cars in this weekends event means the pressure to qualify is not as intense, but chasing vital championship points is on every team’s agenda. Winners gain extra points for traveling to the remote city of Perth, so a good performance is rewarded with big gains in the championship points race.

“It takes around six seconds to complete our races in ANDRA Championship Drag Racing, and there is not a lot a driver can do on those runs to go quicker, other than keeping the car straight, getting a good reaction time and shifting at the optimum RPM, and also the ability to recover from incidents if and when they occur. Most of the skill in Top Doorslammer racing is the hard work in the shop weeks before a meeting, the decision making on what set-up to use and engineering cunning. Zappia Racing specialises in all those elements, and that is what has made us champions and hard to beat. Our crew are just amazing with their dedication and depth of knowledge”.

“The weather might be a factor this weekend. I am not sure there will be super quick times like earlier in the season, but having said that we have a number of tunes in our database for poor weather and difficult track conditions. We also have the added bonus of knowing the Kwinana Motorplex track better than any of our competitors”.

Qualifying will start on the Saturday night at 6pm, with three chances for teams to get in the field and establish their position in the field. Top qualifying in the field allows a team to gain extra points, and get a first round match up against the slowest qualifier in the field.

“We have a good record of top qualifying, and our process of getting to that point in three runs works well. Despite the low numbers in the field, I am confident all of us will put on a fantastic show for the fans this weekend. The rivalry is strong between all the drivers and that makes for a better contest making the Top Doorslammer bracket so popular with the crowd”.

“We are proud to race for our big sponsor Striker Crushing and Screening and bring them into the winners circle again. Craig Pedley and his team have given us so much in sponsorship, mentoring, and association with success – it has rubbed off on everybody in the team. Fuchs lubricants continue to give us great products and support, and our other sponsors and supporters are right behind us”.

We welcome all sponsors, supporters and fans to come down to the pits and have a look, take photos or just to chat with the team. A full range of merchandise is available from the merchandise trailer.


Champ extends Championship lead

John Zappia took his Striker Monaro Top Doorslammer to a win in the ENZED Nightfire meeting last weekend at Willowbank International Raceway, in a flawless display of Top Doorslammer drag racing. After top qualifying on the Friday night with a sizzling 5.987, and resetting the ANDRA speed record with a massive 247.66mph, Zap was set to test the resolve and tuning ability of his competitors. But it was the West Aussie that dominated the weekend’s racing.

“We are thrilled with the win”, said a jubilant Zappia this week, “It would have been easy to think we did it easy, but the amount of work that goes into this car prior to arriving at the track for racing is substantial. 25 years of racing experience counts at this level, and my desire to win and be the best is pretty high”.

Zap faced off against “Wild Willy” racer Sean Mifsud in Round 1, but another “five” from the Champ was hard to beat as Zap powered Zap’s Rat to a 5.987et @ 247.39mph power run against Mifsud’s 6.283et @ 228.89mph.

“How’s that! A five and huge mph! No other car runs a B & J Transmission/Santhuff Shocks/Mickey Thompson combination in Top Doorslammer and we get a dream run out of the many combinations we can put together for different track conditions”.

Round two saw Zap up against upset winner Andrew Sutton in his HSV Monaro, but fate was against Sutton as his car failed to start – handing the win to Zappia Racing. Always the consummate entertainer, Zap ran the Striker Monaro out the back door on the solo for a 5.981et @ 234.25mph win.

“The final was going to be another face off against my Perth competitor Robin Judd, but I have got the better of him in our recent races and was confident they may go too far in the setup”.

The crowd was on fire by the time the final came around, as American Gary Densham had reset the Nitro Funny Car Australian ANDRA National record with a 4.86et @ 309.7mph in an absolute cracker of a display from all the Nitro Funny Cars.

Zap staged the Rat up against the Studebaker of Judd, and it was a battle of horsepower tuners, with Zap coming off the better as Judd blew the tyres off and nearly rolled the car. Zap rattled the tyres and had to pedal, but a 6.055et @ 240.26mph pass was enough to get the victory and the Championship points.

“Another win is great. Many thanks to the crew who made a flawless effort all weekend. It’s a pleasure to race this way, with support from such positive major sponsors. Fuchs Oil had a good presence at this event, and we love their oil products in the TFX engine – main bearing wear is the best we have ever had. The crew enjoy the distinctive blue roller cabinets full of tools from Force Tools Australia in the pits”.

“It’s always good to race at Willowbank as it gives us the chance to catch up with Chris from Striker Crushing and Screening, as well as some of his Striker Employees. Thanks to Beta Spuds for their support from WA, and Graham Jones From Southside Engine Centre who imparts his knowledge and leadership on our trips to the east”.

John Zappia now extends his lead in the 2009 ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship with 290 points, ahead of Judd on 260 points, Phillips on 195 points, and Benny Bray on 155. Photos are on the Zappia Racing web site www.zapsrat.com.au

Zappia Racing now heads on down to Tasmania as a guest feature match race performer at the Tassie Nations on 17th/18th January at the Tarmac Raceway in Launceston.

Zappia on fire!

John Zappia rocked up at Willowbank International Raceway, Queensland this week from Perth, ahead of the ENZED International Nightfire New Year Series weekend on fire and ready to win. This event is Round Three of the 2008/2009 ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship, a seven round series raced across this huge nation of Australia.

“I would firstly like to wish drag racing fans our seasons greetings, and hope everybody has a Happy New Year”, said Zap, “The Zap’s Rat team like to party and I know we will be having a ball here in Queensland. I think drag racing is a welcome break from all the celebrations and doom and gloom out there in the world. We are here to run the quickest sedans in the world for our team and the fans, and I hope everybody enjoys the long burnouts and quick close racing these cars showcase”.

John Zappia has had a stellar start to the new season, and currently sits on top of the Championship table on 190 points after a Round Two win in his home town of Perth. Sitting in second on 175 points is another Perth quick man Robin Judd, followed by young Benny Bray on 135 points and stalwart Gary Phillips on 130 points.

“Round Two in Perth was probably one of our best meeting performances ever, having run six fives all in row and taking the win. The Rat ran remarkably well, and taking Juddy in the final after he ran a World Record earlier in the event was satisfying”.

“We competed at the last local National Open meeting in Perth, and ran four fives (5.917, 5.901, 5.921 and 5.952) to win the B Final in Top Comp, the 5.901et @ 242.58mph was a particularly strong run. Our data set is forever expanding, and giving us more insight into how these cars run – I am still learning, and enjoy the mental task of figuring out how to make them run quicker”.

“The Striker Monaro is in really good condition. Our low five second tune is safe, and that is something for most of my other twelve competitors this weekend to really worry about. We know how to win, and as long as we don’t get ahead of ourselves we are very confident of a win here”.

Racing starts on Friday 2nd Jan, with three qualifiers at 5pm, 7pm and 9pm, and eliminations start on Saturday at around 5pm.



Zap’s Six Pack of Fives!

John Zappia stamped his authority on Australian Top Doorslammer racing this weekend, with a super consistent performance that saw his Striker Monaro run six five second passes over two days of racing, and win Round Two of the 2008/2009 ANDRA Championship by defeating local Robin Judd in the final in front of a home crowd.

The weather was fine, but chilly in Perth Western Australia – one of the world’s most remote cities. The field was smaller in size due to many teams finding traveling the distance a challenge in these uncertain financial times, but tension was in the air over three teams aiming for the event win in a tuning dual.

Benny Bray was confident after Team Bray found the five second secret recently, and Robin Judd super confident after resetting the ANDRA national record recently with the help of alky tuner Stuart Rowland, and rattling off two neat five second passes in testing before the event.

“We were a little nervous going into the event, as our testing and development last week was not going to plan” said Zap, “But the vigilant Zappia Racing crew made some astute observations and the resulting change to the Santuff suspension saw a stunning top qualifying 5.937et off the trailer pass on Friday night that really boosted our confidence”.

A second pass of 5.952et @ 240.64mph, and third 5.973et @ 241.28mph stunned his competitors, who were a little off their normal pace. Gary Phillips ran a 6.026et @ 241.28mph to run second, and Juddy came in third with a 6.071et @ 243.24mph.

Zap faced Peter Kapiris in Round One of Saturday night’s eliminations, after Victor Bray withdrew from the event to pass on his engine to son Benny Bray who damaged his engine in qualifying. Zap was out first with a super reaction and a 5.991et @ 241.93mph was too strong for Kapiris’ 6.124et @ 225.00mph.

Meanwhile, Robin Judd completed a stunning 5.868et @ 245.90mph pass that saw him reset the Australian et record, and become the first Aussie to go “five eight”.

Semi Final was going to be a cracker of a race between Zap and arch rival Benny Bray – the grandfather of Doorslammer in Australia – and the new kid on the block. But experience counts, and Zap’s 5.900et @ 243.24 win over Benny’s 6.044et @ 236.84mph sent the crowd into a frenzy.

The final between the two Perth locals had the crowd anticipating something special – perhaps a side by side five second final. Zap achieved lane choice, giving him the better left lane, and after studying the data and conferring with Southside Engine guru Graham Jones settled on a winning tune for the Striker Monaro.

Judd was out first on the tree, but it was John Zappia who powered the Rat straight down the center for a 5.882et @ 243.24 mph win over Robin Judd’s pedaling 6.143et @ 241.28mph in what was probably one of the best final runs in Top Doorslammer history.

“That win was a sweet win – probably better than last season’s Championship win” said Graham Jones “To almost come from behind before the event to running such a consistent set of fives with no engine damage has put a huge smile of my face”.

“Very impressed with how the car ran this weekend” said Zap at the trophy presentation “The team was great, and I finally got the car to run 240mph plus consistently – I have been chasing that for a while now. The Santuff suspension and Aurora components have given us a suspension that responds well to our tweaks, and runs consistently straight – the car is easier to drive at the moment”.

“The Motorplex responded to our requests and gave us a brilliant track this weekend, and the track crew are to be congratulated for their work over the weekend ”.

“Many thanks to Craig Pedley from Striker for believing in the value of our team as racers. With his new Top Doorslammer weeks away from completion, our two car assault on the class should concern our competitors”.


Western Sydney International Dragway – Fuchs Nationals Report

ANDRA Championship Drag Racing can often be wild and unpredictable and that certainly was the case at the Fuchs Australian Nationals at Western Sydney Dragway last weekend.

The event served up highlights and lowlights in equal measure, with daubs of glory and pain meted out in equal measure, with the fickle Sydney weather delivering the final ironical blow.

The definite highlight of this season’s ANDRA Championship opener was the record Friday and Saturday night crowds and the strongest professional racer turnout since the debut of the Sydney venue in 2004.

Other memorable moments included Robin Judd, Ben Bray and John Zappia’s awesome 5-second Doorslammer blasts, the quickest ANDRA Pro Stock field in history after just two qualifying sessions and Phil Read’s record-approaching 4.5 second pass in Top Fuel.

However, the dramas also abounded, with the worst oil-down incident on track seen in venue history on Saturday night, that took some considerable time to clean up.

Added to all that was the fate of John Zappia and Kym Usher both flipping their cars over in the sand traps during ANDRA Top Doorslammer qualifying.

“I tagged the wall after the finish line and when I went to release the chutes, they didn’t release properly, so I had to yank at them again,” recalled Zappia after striking big trouble in the deep after a 5.983 Elapsed time. “By the time I did that, we were very deep and when we landed in the gravel trap, the Striker Monaro did a gentle rollover. Thankfully the damage wasn’t too significant and I have an awesome race team who was able to get me back out there the following day.”

Kym Usher also had issues in releasing the laundry in his Makita Falcon, and that also sent him deep into the beach.

However, the scariest moment of the weekend had to be Steve Read’s 500kmh excursion into the gravel, then catch netting, through the tyres and then finally arrested on the dirt mound behind, that left the huge WSID crowd hushed for some considerable time.

For what was a horrific Top Fuel crash, the only injury for ‘The Pom’ was a fractured pinky finger!

“I am greatful for the fact that we modified the chassis of this Readspeed car to cater for a HANS device in terms of head and neck restraint for me,” explained Read. “The Fuchs Australian Nationals was the first event we have ever used the HANS and I have no doubt it saved me from more serious injuries.”

As to the cause of the crash, it appears it came down to a throttle jam as he coasted more than 400 metres past the finish line with header-flames up high!

“We had issues with the throttle during the earlier qualifying session and we obviously did not resolve that in that later run. We were late on the chutes as well but these things happen so quickly and I wanted to make sure that we were entering the gravel trap in the middle and keep the car straight and thankfully we did.”

There can be no debate that the stringent ANDRA safety standards once again shone as Read entered a horror high-speed situation.

With Sunday raceday being cancelled due to rain, ANDRA Championship points will be awarded in relation to whether a competitor qualified within a competition field or not.

The next major ANDRA Championship at WSID is the Scott Kalitta Top Fuel Memorial on December 26 & 27, 2008 – featuring USA NHRA star Hillary Will.

Zappia aiming for four straight at WSID

Top Doorslammer champ John Zappia and his Zappia Racing Team are in Sydney for the 2008 Fuchs Australian Nationals at Western Sydney International Raceway, Friday 12th September to 14th September 2008, and is all set for a blistering season opening event. It is Round 1 of the 2008/2009 Top Doorslammer Championship, and twenty one cars will fight for eight positions in eliminations.

“This season is set to be the best and most exciting Top Doorslammer season ever in Australia, and for us as a team as well,” said Zap, “With more teams coming online, performances getting better, some nail biting fights to get in the field, and world class finals racing, spectators will get their moneys worth both at the track and on ANDRA television”.

“We are proud to be representing Striker Crushing and Screening in drag racing, and welcome their Naming Rights Sponsorship for this new season. Managing Director Craig Pedley has been an inspiration to us at Zappia Racing, exemplifying what can be done with significant business acumen”.

“We are inspired to be the best and give back to Striker results that count – Championships, wins and low ET’s. This year we will be chasing back to back Championships, and to get some records back. Striker have increased their stake in our team, and will field their own Top Doorslammer identical to my HQ Monaro in the coming months”.

Zappia Racing is the face of Fuchs in Doorslammer for this season, having just secured a Major Sponsorship deal with the lubricant manufacturer. Zappia Racing uses Fuchs lubricants exclusively in the Monaro Top Doorslammer, and achieves excellent performance and reliability with the products. The Monaro has undergone extensive structural and mechanical scrutiny during the off season, and a number of errant problems which plagued some of the performances of the vehicle last season have been rectified. Zappia Racing is expecting the vehicle to produce more powerful and quicker performances this season.

John Zappia comes into this Nationals event as favourite, having won the season opener for the last three years in a row as the East Coast Nationals. “I would love to win a Nationals event again – my last was in 1990 at Ravenswood International Raceway in Perth in the original Zap’s Rat. We ran in Superstock in AA/GAS trim, as there was no Top Doorslammer class back then”.

“The weather in Sydney this time of year always suits our car and tune up, with cool temperatures and good air. I am confident I can get hold of the track again this year with our Mickey Thompson tyres, and head the field. We have a tradition of being top qualifier – or at least in the top three, and we aim to do the same again this event”.

If the other Top Doorslammer competitors start out the way last season ended we will be in for an enthralling series with the top eight qualifiers all running 5’s and 6.0’s. We could see the first ever 6.0 bump spot. There are currently 7 cars who have run 5’s entered in this series and several others who are knocking at the door.

Zappia Racing has unfortunately not been able to renew sponsorship from a couple of our major sponsors and has therefore opened up opportunities for new sponsors to get involved in the fastest growing Motorsport in Australia and to be a part of one of the most exciting and professional teams. For enquiries for sponsorship packages contact John Zappia on 0400 197 171 or by email at zappiaracing@ozemail.com.au

We hope to see as many of our sponsors and fans in WSID to help get the new Top Doorslammer series off to a flying start. All are welcome to visit the pit area to meet and talk to John and the crew.