2008_winters_004

ANDRA Championship Gold Christmas Tree for Zap

John Zappia made a strong semi-final finish in the Final Round of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship at the Winternationals to finish off his career best season with 642 championship points – 142 points ahead of the competition, and collect his first Championship ANDRA Gold Christmas Tree.

For this likeable Perth local it was a dream come true, and a thrill for his many fans and sponsors who have proudly stood behind his efforts during the last five years to reclaim his position as Australia’s Mr. Doorslammer.

“To stand in front of my team, and drag racing peers, and collect my Championship Trophy was a proud moment for me, and made all the hard work worthwhile”, said Zap this week, “I had the vision to achieve this years ago, and to have so many people believe in me and support me both financially and morally is humbling. We started with very little, and so many things have fallen into place for us along the way with our success on the track”.

The Winternationals was probably the most exciting and record setting event in the history of Top Doorslammer in Australia, with Robin Judd running a World Record 5.907 to Top Qualify, a 6.102 bump spot in qualifying, and four racers dipping into the fives.

“Top Doorslammer is hot at the moment in Australia, and about to get hotter as many of the teams come to grips with their cars and break into the fives. It was exciting to be a part of the action at the Winters. We had high goals coming into the event, but the Striker Monaro ended up running fairly consistently over the weekend without any record setting runs. Just goes to show how difficult it is to tune these cars”.

Zap ran a safe 6.107et @ 238.86mph first qualifier alongside Benny Brays first five second pass, and a 6.073et @ 240.00mph second qualifier despite rolling six inches on the start line. The 6.020et @ 239.49mph third run saw Zap use up all the track to get to the finish line and settle in at number three in the qualifying order.

“That’s not a bad start really, as our best event wins usually build off a solid base like this and just gradually get quicker and quicker as the air comes around. But an unusual thing was happening on this very sticky Willowbank track. Our chassis setup that worked perfectly in Sydney and Perth was a little off on this track. Zap’s Rat is very finely tuned in the suspension, and we found ourselves with some decisions to make, and those were informed guesses, not from known data.”

First eliminator was up against veteran Gary Phillips, and both cars ended up all over the track – Phillips into Zap’s lane, handing the win to Zappia Racing with a slow 7.969et.

“We had the car pretty hotted up for that pass and I guess Phillips did too, and I shook hard on launch so much my vision was blurred and after a pedal I almost put it into the wall. I got off and saw Phillips enter my lane a full car length ahead and got off. What a wild ride!. A win is a win though”.

“The Semi Final was up against Benny Bray, and we backed the tune down a little to at least get down the track. But Benny what hot this meeting, and got me on the tree. My sixty foot time was slow and a slight half pedal meant a 5.9 was required to chase him down. A 6.033et @ 242.45mph was not enough to beat Benny’s 6.011et @ 233.77mph”.

“The Winternationals is a special event in Australian drag racing, and this event was no exception with a buzz around the pits and many fans dropping by to watch the crew and buy our merchandise“..

“Special thanks go to the Zappia Racing Crew, who have worked tirelessly for this Championship win. Graham Jones from Southside Engine Center who masterminded this season’s strategy to achieve consistency. Our Sponsors have made it possible, and our thanks goes to all who have contributed – their reward is achieving number one in this country”.

“We managed two event wins, two runner-ups, and three semi-final finishes for the season and three Low Elapsed Time points and one Top Speed. With all the excitement of new teams achieving their first five second pass, it is worthwhile considering that we have racked up sixteen five second passes in Zap’s Rat, and our pace in qualifying this season was a step ahead of the competition”.

“Next season will prove to be the best in Top Doorslammer, and our assault on the 2008/2009 Championship will include a revamped Zap’s Rat, and I will be aiming for back-to-back Championship wins, and running 5.8 second passes are not out of the question. A second Striker Monaro, to be driven by Striker Director Craig Pedley will follow after licensing and testing. Having Craig driving the second Striker Monaro alongside me will also give me a big buzz and a sense of achievement. Craig and his partners has contributed to achieving the number 1 mantle both financially and supportively and to have Craig driving in the team and being competitive will be a great way of repaying him for his considerable contribution to Drag racing and the Zappia Racing Team. Pro-Mod and Top Doorslammer racers are gaining more and more knowledge on how to harness the 3,000 plus horsepower available to these cars and get them down the track quicker and faster”.

“From John Zappia and all the Zappia Racing Team – see you all next season for Even more Top Doorslammer action!”


2008 CASTROL EDGE WINTERNATIONALS Zap out to break records

Newly crowned Australian ANDRA Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia is at the Willowbank track this week for the Winternationals and Final Round of the Top Doorslammer Championship, and will be going all out to try and set some very fast times and speeds.

“Winning the Championship has taken the pressure off the team to be consistent and relatively conservative in our tune”, said Zap, “So we can hot up the Striker Monaro this meeting and try and set some records and thrill the fans. This weekends racing should be very exciting, with eighteen racers trying to squeeze into eight spots in eliminations”.

After being the first driver to run a legal 5 second pass, Zap is currently the fourth quickest Doorslammer in the world, with US Pro-Mod drivers John Russo currently first in the Firebird on 5.895, Josh Hernandez in the Camaro on 5.912, Jay Payne in the Camaro on 5.920, and Zappia in the HQ Monaro on 5.922. John wants the number one spot back and will be trying to do it this weekend at the Winters.

“If the track is the usual Willowbank standard, I am confident we can go quicker than we have ever before. We have learnt a lot in the last three months, have found some extra power, and modified the chassis the take that extra power. I would like to at least reset the Australian Record, but my competitive nature means I will give it all we’ve got”.

Zap has dominated this year’s Top Doorslammer Championship in Australia with two event wins, and two runner-ups and two thirds – enough to gain 582 points by Round 6 at the Tin Tops and be declared Champion by ANDRA. Brett Stevens is second on the point’s table with 415, ahead of Ben Bray on 355 points.

“Striker Crushing and Screening deserves all the exposure from the Championship win, as the Naming Rights Sponsor on Zap’s Rat, has made it all possible not only with the financial help but also with the systems and professionalism they have put in place. The experience of thirty years of drag racing by Zappia Racing and Southside Engine Centre has been allowed to mature and show full potential in this team. We now have a purpose built Race Workshop, the time to prepare properly by being Professional, and the inventory to add depth”.

“Thanks must also go to all the long term sponsors and helpers who have all been a part in the success of Zap’s Rat and a special thanks to Rentco Transport Equipment Rentals who started the ball rolling with major sponsorship in 2005 when Zap’s Rat ran the first five”.

“Next year may even be better for Zappia racing, as the second HQ Monaro Top Doorslammer driven by Striker Director Craig Pedley is completed, licensed, and tested at the Perth Motorplex. The new car has all the modifications incorporated in Zap’s Rat, and more advancement – with aviation quality composite manufacturing of the body, chassis refinement, and upgrading of component specifications”.

This weekend is a big event on Australia’s drag racing calendar, and the usual Zappia Racing crew will be on hand to guide wild man, and Mr Doorslammer John Zappia into the staging lanes for some serious Doorslammer action.

“We will be celebrating after the event regardless of the outcome – based on our efforts all this season, but I am hoping for some extra reasons and some real excitement for our fans”.

 

2008_tintops_02

2008 Tin Tops

Zap wins Championship

John Zappia has been declared the 2007/2008 Top Doorslammer Champion by ANDRA after completing enough rounds at the Tin Tops run last weekend to achieve an unbeatable lead in the points with one event to go.

“It’s a huge weight off my shoulders”, said Zap after the event, “We started this process towards a Championship in 2003, and a lot of work has gone in by the crew and supporters in that time. But most of all, it has been our sponsors that have helped us win this Championship.”

“A loyal set of local Western Australian sponsors started us off in the early testing, which was enough to allow the larger sponsors to enter the national series chase. Rentco Transport Equipment Rentals Pty Ltd was the first to come on board, then Striker Screening and Crushing, who have added considerable support and infrastructure to our team.”

“Craig Pedley and Striker have been terrific. He is excited about Top Doorslammer Drag Racing, and has passed on his successful business winning formula to the team in a number of ways. I look forward to putting Craig in the second HQ Monaro next season, so we can together lead the way with consistent, quick cars.”

“Graham Jones from Southside Engine Center has been the wise head in the team, and has guided us to gain our consistency through preventative maintenance programs, and a long term vision. I am the innovator, and always looking for ways to go quicker, sometimes to my own detriment, so Graham keeps the Team in balance and focused.”

“Our team has evolved and grown to a professional outfit, but I will never forget all the help and support I have had from everyone that has worked on the car back at the shed in Spearwood. Many a long night was spent welding, machining, and changing set-ups. We are proud to have completed most of the work in-house, and the results speak for themselves.”

The Striker Monaro top qualified in the Tin Tops 16 car field with a 6.036et @ 241.54mph, ahead of Phillips on 6.137et @ 238.47mph, and a field that struggled with the track conditions over the two days it took to get qualifying finished. “I had to pedal that run in first gear as the car went right a little, and I used a fair bit of the track up on the run”.

Round one saw Zap put young Benny Bray away with a 6.266et @ 236.46 mph late charge to a 6.450et @ 232.92 on a slippery track. “The car went hard right on the hit, and it took three pedals in first gear to get it back off the centerline, then I hit second and the Rat just took off and finished strong”.

In Round two Zap took on fellow WA based racer Robin Judd, and a strong 6.017et @ 239.49mph finished off Juddy’s 6.301et @ 236.10mph effort. Zap’s time was also the quickest for the event, earning him an additional five points. “The track temp was still 82 degrees Celsius and the car went dead straight on this pass. It was a slower 60 foot time than normal, and would have normally been a five.”

The Semi-final was up against a sensational Sean Mifsud in the Roots powered Willy, which turned into a pedal fest as the track had lost all it’s temperature by 9.47 at night. Mifsud was first to the line though with a 7.094et @ 169.88mph against Zap’s 7.698et @ 169.04mph. “The track temp had dropped to 72 degrees Celsius, and the air had come right around. The car took off dead straight, but smoked the tyres at 60 foot and headed for the wall, so I backed off and got back on it again, and the tyres smoked again. I could see Sean was ahead and just drove the car through for the loss.”

“I was disappointed to lose that race, because the final was a give away. Congratulations to Sean Mifsud for the win. We could have backed the power off, but we have run fives in WSID on a track temp that low and the call was made. It’s a very fine line between traction and turning the tyres sometimes, and the track was not the usual very sticky surface. But the Championship was our goal and I am glad to get that over and done with.”

Zap also finished equal Runner-up in the 2007/2008 Perth Motorplex Top Competition Championship, where the deciding last meeting was held on the same weekend as the Tin Tops. Rob Pilkington went on to win the Championship in his ex Austin AA/FC Funny Car.

The Zappia Racing Team travels to Sydney to compete in the Nitro Champs at WSID, before heading back to Willowbank for the Top Doorslammer final round at the Winternationals. “We will be putting the pressure right on in that last round, so if the track is right – look out for some quick times.”


Zap ready to take Championship

Five-second man John Zappia heads off to Willowbank International Raceway for the Fifth Round of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship at the annual Tin Tops event this weekend, with a strong chance of winning his first Australian Championship. His Striker HQ Monaro has dominated this season’s championship, with stunning five-second passes and a consistent step ahead of his challengers.

A Top Doorslammer Championship trophy has eluded the popular Western Australian drag racer, with runner-up finishes in the last two seasons. Zap has only competed nationally in the last three of the ten ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship’s short history.

The original record breaking “Zap’s Rat” HQ Monaro that helped forge Doorslammer racing in this country, was raced from 1984 in various classes before being retired in 1995. The car was ineligible for the new Top Doorslammer rules due to its construction.

Zap then dabbled in Top Alcohol for a while in a Funny Car, before taking a break from the sport and enjoying his fishing. The construction of the Kwinana Motorplex just ten minutes from his Spearwood home, and sponsorship from Southside Engine Center and associated sponsors, allowed Zap to re-enter the sport with a new state of the art car.

“I watched my mate Victor Bray take all those Top Doorslammer Championships in a row, and always thought we could do the same if we had the backing and a new car,” said Zap. “In that time off I was able to think through the design aspects, and punch the numbers on various combinations. There are a hundred ways you can make a Top Doorslammer – it’s the right combination that makes a consistently quick car.”

The original Zap’s Rat was purchased back and ran in AA/AP trim in the 2001/2002 season at the Motorplex, to get the crew back into racing mode while the new car was being constructed. The new Top Doorslammer HQ was debuted in March 2003 and commenced a thorough three season local track testing program before entering a serious attempt at the National Championship.

“It took me a long while to get the car to perform like I wanted. We had five-second goals from the outset, and there were some hairy passes in that development program. I had to go to the Yanks to get some ideas, as the Pro-Mods were going real quick with roots blowers. Rentco and Striker coming on board as sponsors really has made the difference in our team depth, giving us additional resources for quality new parts and inventory.”

“We know it is our knowledge depth, and absolute commitment to finding every one percent advantage in the car that is giving us the advantage. Our competitors are catching us and dipping into the fives, but our 5.8 second program is already well underway following the Pro-Mod advances recently, and our second Striker Monaro will be racing next season to double our presence in the field.”

Zap leads the Top Doorslammer Championship with 518 points, ahead of Brett Stevens on 375 points, and Ben Bray on 335 points – the only contenders with a mathematical chance of winning. “We still have to do well this meeting to claim the Championship – depending on how Brett and Benny go. A runner-up and above at this event, and qualifying at the Winters will be enough. Make no mistake though – we are here to go hard and win, and entertain our fans.”

Zappia Racing will showcase their new Merchandise Trailer for the first time at Willowbank, and a new range of T-shirts, caps, posters and women’s fashion will be available. Make sure you get your autograph from Zap who loves to spend time with his fans.

 

2008_westerns_21

Zappia gets Semi-final points

John Zappia keeps a healthy lead in the 2008 ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship after a semi-final finish at the Chill Westernationals held at the Perth Motorplex last weekend. The meeting was Round 5 of the Championship, with two more events to run at Willowbank International Raceway – and Zap maintains a lead of 143 points over Brett Stevens.

In an eventful meeting for Zappia Racing, the Striker Monaro Top Doorslammer turned into a handful for local hero Zap to drive, as he turned up the power on the tuning side. First pass off the trailer on Saturday night qualifying was a wild ride over the centerline to record a 5.98 second pass at 236.80mph that sent the huge crowd cheering. Crossing the centerline is an automatic disqualification, so Zap was faced with two more chances to get into the field.

“We learnt a lot at the Summernationals in Sydney, and were keen to up the power on the car for this meeting” said Zap, “Four five second passes in a row is a great achievement, but we believe the car has a 5.8 in it – but each level of power requires delicate chassis tuning to get the car to run straight”.

Second pass turned the right tyre off the start line sending the car hard right off the line, putting the pressure on Zap to get the last pass right. The atmosphere was tense at the “Plex” as Zap and Phillips staged. Out of the blocks the Striker Monaro headed right again, but some excellent driving by Zap turned the car back into the groove without a pedal and charged through for a 6.028 second pass that just had the crowd wild – a gutsy tune and driving effort from John Zappia.

Overnight the TFX engine suffered some minor damage, and “Old Faithful” – the original 5 second Walt Austin Hemi with Whipple blower – was put in the car for eliminations. “We softened the tune up for the first round, as our car was struggling to put the power down on the track.”

First Elimination pass out was against legend Victor Bray in the 57 Chev, who had qualified 7th with a 6.182. Victor red lighted and went straight into shake and the 7.229 was no match for Zap’s pedaling 6.215et @ 233.16mph pass.

“Second round we knew we had to hot up the Walt, as Benny Bray was turning out some good low six second passes. I staged and the car headed right on the hit, so I pedaled three times to get the car to behave to no avail. I was able to turn the car away from the wall with some header sparks and track debris flying, and was still level with Benny when I accidentally hit top gear on the steering wheel way too early causing the car to bog slightly and slip through behind Benny’s 6.099 run.”

“The event was a stunner for Top Doorslammer, with a 6.184 bump spot, and some unpredictable performances from many – including ourselves, making the bracket exciting for the fans.”

The 90 points earned over the weekend topped up Zap’s lead to 518 points, with event winner Brett Stevens passing the non-qualifying Stanic into second place with 375 points.

“We are confident of our position in the championship, and look forward to some testing here at the “Plex” before heading to the Tin Tops, and Winternationals at Willowbank. I will now make the changes required to go to the next level with the car, and keep ahead of the competition.”


Zap leads in the battle of the Doorslammers

John Zappia is using his home track knowledge as a weapon against 11 other Top Doorslammers competing in the 37th Chill Westernationals this weekend at the Perth Motorplex. The event is Round 5 of the ANDRA Australian Top Doorslammer Championship and the Striker Monaro is in top form, after running three consecutive five second passes to finish runner-up at the recent Summernationals at Western Sydney International Dragway.

Zap leads the current Championship by 143 points with three rounds to go, and his Zappia Racing Team is keen to stay on top and secure the Championship for the season.

“Our plan is on track for this weekend after a great Summernationals”, said Zap this week in Perth, “Finally the HQ Monaro is five second reliable, and we learnt a lot about how to make it even quicker over the week in Sydney. Several teams broke through into the fives, but no other team has done it consistently on all three major tracks yet”.

“We would count the Perth track as a definite advantage for us, having done so many passes in competition testing at local National Open events. I expect some great Doorslammer racing this weekend, as more and more teams are making the necessary incremental changes to make the jump to the level we have set”.

“Make no mistake – these 3,000 horsepower machines are very difficult to get right – we are balancing hundreds of variables to get everything all working right. Local Perth fans saw first hand what happens when a variable is not right – our recent clutch testing turned our super reliable car into an uncontrollable animal”.

“We draw deeply on our twenty years of racing history, with nitro and alky guru Graham Jones from Southside Engine Centre guiding the Zappia Racing crew on race day. We now have a mix of very experienced crewmembers, and new crew being trained for the second Striker Top Doorslammer due to come online next season. The new car is our own creation, with all the modifications developed in Zap’s Rat included, with new technology incorporated throughout”.

Top Doorslammer racing will commence on Saturday with qualifying runs at 6pm, 8pm and 10pm – twelve teams battling it out to secure one of the eight positions for eliminations. Elimination racing commences on Sunday at 6pm, with the semi-final at 8pm, and the final at 10pm.

All sponsors and fans are welcome to come down to the tent and talk to John and the crew and see all the pit action.

Zappia Racing stays in Perth for two more local rounds of racing on 15th March, and 5th April before heading east for the Tin Tops at Willowbank on 19th April; 2-3rd May for the Nitro Champs in Sydney; and back to Willowbank on 6th – 8th June for the Winternationals.

 

2008_summernationals_02

Three fives, and Zappia extends Championship lead.

The Summernationals at Western Sydney International Dragway, Sydney Australia saw the quickest field in history of ANDRA Top Doorslammers, and John Zappia couldn’t believe the final result. Despite running a third consecutive five-second pass in eliminations, Maurice Fabietti snuck home by a whisker to take out the event.

“Doorslammer is hotting up here in Australia” said Zap, “That’s a good thing for the sport and for the fans. We had a fantastic weekend’s racing, and managed to get more points to extend our lead in the championship. Three five second passes in a row saw the Striker Monaro finally become a consistent five second car – and two of those passes I had to pedal! We now have thirteen five second passes under our belt.”

Qualifying for the Zappia Racing Team was full of drama after an engine change was required. The PSI 3,000 horsepower engine broke a rod after lifting in the braking area, causing Zap to slip and slide to rest sideways on the oil from the big hole in the sump.

“Our crew were very impressive all weekend” said Crew Supervisor Graham Jones. “Changing engines and components in tight turnarounds was completed smoothly, and our extensive data capture systems allowed us to finish with a tune that saw us qualify equal second with a 6.052.”

Round one saw Benny Bray put champion Garry Phillips away with a 6.086et @ 235.64mph to a slowing 10.339et @ 83.23 from Garry, ending Phillips weekend of Summernationals racing. Brett Stevens was on fire against Robin Judd next, running an impressive 6.022et @ 243.90mph against Judd’s pedaling 6.277et @ 239.01mph.

Zap came out next against Steve Stanic and shut the door with a crowd raising 5.951et @ 239.14mph to a 6.028et @ 235.72mph. Not to be out done, Deno Brijeski rattled off another monster 5.991et @ 239.65mph run, but was too slow on the lights and a jubilant Maurice Fabietti took the win with a 6.105et @ 237.88mph.

The turnaround in the Zappia Racing pit was busy, busy after a compression check discovered a dropped valve. As usual the crew thrashed and managed to replace a piston, liner and head in record time and lined up for round two in front of a record crowd.

First out in round two were the pairing of Benny Bray against an improving Fabietti. Fab took the win with a 6.037et @ 231.12mph as Benny shook and rolled through for a 9.639et @ 146mph. Zap took on danger man Brett “The Boss” Stevens next and ran an amazing 5.999et @ 241.41 after a pedal, as Brett shook and pedaled for a 6.379et @ 231.12mph.

The final was held at 10.30pm on a cool, crisp night in Sydney with the temperature at 19 degrees Celsius. ”We were seeing some exciting possibilities in the tune as we learn more about this PSI combination, and I knew I could do a five in the final” said Zap. “Anything was possible in the final though based on the racing so far”.

“Maurice got me on a hole shot on the start, and I had to pedal slightly as the Striker Monaro rattled the tyres and headed for the center line. I pulled up alongside Fabietti and hit second a little early and moved ahead. Into third I thought I was ahead, but in the braking area I saw the other Monaro ahead of me with the chutes out – he must have done a charge through the finish line to just beat me. Great racing!”

Fabietti ran a 6.000et @ 240.86mph to Zap’s 5.958et @ 240.21mph to make it the quickest side-by-side Doorslammer pass in Australia.

“This whole event is one we will talk about for years to come. With so many cars running quick – some joining the “Five Second Club”, and such close exciting racing that thrilled the huge crowd.”

The Zappia Racing Team will head back to hometown Perth for Round Three of Top Doorslammer on 1st – 2nd March at the Perth Motorplex’s biggest event – the 2008 37th Chill Westernationals.


Zap the man to beat.

Nineteen of Australia’s quickest Doorslammers descend on Sydney, New South Wales this weekend for the annual Summernationals, all keen on reining in the quickest man – John Zappia.

Zappia leads the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship in the Striker Monaro with 343 points, after two wins and a runner-up in the first three rounds. Steve Stanic follows on 240 points, rookie Stuart Bishop on 185 points, and a group of the heavy hitters in Gary Philips, Ben Bray, Brett Stevens, Victor Bray and Robin Judd close behind.

The current season has seen the Striker Monaro leading the field in qualifying, displaying solid reliability and consistency in the low 6 ‘0’s, and running three stunning five second passes that wowed the crowds.

“Our car and team are at their peak performance this season”, said Zap in WSID this week, “That follows from some long and hard research and development, testing and fine tuning – there is no way of avoiding that. Experience counts, and our major sponsor – Graham Jones’s Southside Engine Centre provide all that we need.”

“I am able to manage our team and logistics better now that I am a full time professional racer. Force Tools coming on board as a major sponsor, and supplying the team with a full range of their excellent hand tools and boxes has made the job easier for the crew”.

“Drag racing is a tough sport, and some times things really come together in a big way for a team and a car. Just look at Victor Bray’s rein as Top Doorslammer champion for all those years in Australia. We are enjoying our racing more than ever, and are constantly looking for new ways to go quicker and faster and build on our momentum”.

“The weather in Sydney this weekend will play into our hands, as we have a 5.965 tune from the AC Delco East Coast Nationals here at WSID last September, where the conditions were very similar. We can add a little from what we learnt in Perth at the Goldenstates, where we went 5.956, and that should give us a pretty quick car”.

The nineteen Top Doorslammers will contest the three qualifying rounds on Friday night, all hoping to make the eight-car field for eliminations on Saturday night.

“That should make for some pretty exciting racing for fans, and with a huge field of Top Fuel dragsters racing, will make great value for money. Zap’s Rat fans are welcome to view the team turn the car around in the pits, and pick up some personally signed merchandise. We have brand new black or white T-shirts on sale with new Zap’s Rat artwork.”

 

2007_goldenstates_03

Zappia wins 36th Annual Goldenstates Championship in Perth

John Zappia won Round Three of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship at Kwinana Motorplex this weekend with a stunning array of low et passes that blitzed the thirteen car field.

Zappia top qualified with a 6.025et @ 239.36 with two of the three qualifying runs available.

“The weekend was a real success for the team, and everything ran smooth and to plan. Winning the event to extend our lead in the Championship, and getting consistently into the fives were the main focus” said Zap, “the five in the semi final against Benny was a benchmark for us, and it was only the track condition late at night that prevented another in the final.”

“The Striker HQ Monaro has now run five 5 second passes with the new TFX/PSI combination. We ran five 5 second passes with the old Walt Austin BAE/Whipple combo, but I know this new combo has more potential for me as a tuner.”

“Most teams struggled with getting the power to the ground on the new concrete surface here at the Perth Motorplex. We use our own four link rear end, which takes longer to set up but provides a better result for us long term. The B & J transmission also makes a big difference over the Lenco – a fact most teams are happy to ignore.”

“The Mickey Thompson tyres were excellent for us over the weekend, with minimal tyre shake and good traction.”

“The meeting was the first for new major sponsor Force Tools Australia, who was thrilled with the exposure and win for the team.”

The Striker Monaro top qualified on Friday night with a 6.025et @ 239.36mph after a first pass of 6.087@236.84. Weather interruptions forced the third qualifying session to be cut short, and teams were offered a last session on the Saturday afternoon at 3pm.

“We chose to sit out the third Saturday qualifier due to the unstable weather conditions and the fact we were on our last blower belt, and I thought we should save the car for eliminations. We are excellent at thrashing and completing amazing turnarounds, but we are getting used to a more planned and professional approach to our racing.”

First elimination round was a safe straight 6.051et @ 238.72mph pass for Zap to take the win over Robyn Judd’s 6.173et @ 241.28mph. Second round saw Zap get more serious in his tuning, thrilling his local crowd with a 5.956et @ 239.36mph win over Ben Brays tyre shaking 6.804et @ 163.33mph.

“I saw the final as an excellent opportunity to set our quickest time ever, but the car shook a little and I had to pedal – I think Steve had the same problem in the other lane, as the track was a little cold that late in the night. A 6.144et @ 234.98mph was enough to beat Stanic’s 6.580et @ 231.36mph.”

John Zappia now leads the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship on 343 points, ahead of Stanic on 240, Bishop on 185, Phillips on 160 and the Brays on 155 and 150 points.

“It’s a good lead, and hopefully this may be our year with a lot of luck and a more professional approach bringing us success. Makes up for the last couple of seasons as runner-up, where we had a lot of unforced errors and failures.”

“We will now run three local meetings to test new equipment in preparation for Round 4 of Top Doorslammer on 15 – 16th Feb at the N R M A Summernationals in Western Sydney International Dragway.”


Following is a brief recap of the event by Simon Cope …

Motorplex web site

After rain disrupted Friday night qualifying the last few teams that did not get a chance to run were permitted to run a special 3 pm session on Saturday afternoon. After the dust settled though the qualifying order didn’t really change much with an unusually slow 6.40 bump for the Doorslammers.

Regardless of the bump the field was packed with heavy hitters all capable of taking out the event, as long as they can knock Zappia out who has shown consistently outstanding form over the last several meetings and qualified with over a tenth on the rest of the field. Most teams struggled in qualifying without showing their best in the tricky conditions but everyone needs the points in the Championship chase so nothing will be left in the trailer.

Top Doorslammer Round 1

With the traditional blessing and National Anthem completed at 6pm it was time to get racing under way with the Top Doorslammers out first.

Gary Phillips and Ben Bray are out first through the tunnel, some businesslike burnouts they are back and into stage quickly, both leave well but Phillips strikes a little shake around 330’ and has to peddle and the timers tell the story with a 6.36 for Phillips to Bray’s tidy 6.12 as they start to get after the tuneup.

Second pair out is Steve Stanic and Stuart Bishop in their immaculate Camaro’s, Stanic and old hand at the Motorplex but struggling at recent events here. This is Bishop’s first competition lap here so it will be interesting to see which way they have gone with the tune since they qualified well ahead of Stanic. Both cars strike trouble early on though, Bishop is all over the track off the line and aborts and it’s shake for Stanic and he peddles it through to take with win with a 6.23. Later on we find out Bishop really had his hands full – the quick-release steering wheel came free on the launch!

Peter Kapiris and Brett Stevens out for the third pair, Kapiris coming to grips with a new tuner on the spanners and Brett looking to turn the event around for the team with only one car qualified. True to form Brett runs through to take the win with a tidy 6.14 win after thrashing with an engine change overnight. In the other lane Kapiris has a shake around 100’ and has to peddle slowing the run to a 6.45.

Final pairing out now, it’ll be Robin Judd up against top qualifier John Zappia who can play it safe and conserve the car a bit, sure enough it’s a straight and soft looking 6.05 for Zappia and a solid and well improved 6.17 from Judd however it’ll be Zappia through to the semis.

Top Doorslammer Round 2

Round 2 of Top Doorslammer and Brett Stevens just squeaks into the lanes after a massive thrash to replace another engine and drivetrain in Jack Daniel’s Falcon. He will be up against Stanic, so this should be a great race. Stanic is out with a wheelstand in the top of first gear and then powers straight down track for a great 6.06 to put Stevens out of action, despite a consistent 6.18 from the Ford. It looks like Brett might not have expected that from the Camaro tonight!

On the other side of the ladder we have Ben Bray vs crowd favourite John Zappia, the Bray camp will have to throw everything at this to try to get past Zappia and into the finals. Ben is out with a good RT, but it looks like they’ve gone too far as the car steps out on Ben at the 330’ mark. Zappia meanwhile has it running like it’s on rails, he blitzes past Benny to run a meeting best (so far!) 5.95!!! which brought the house down as the fans went wild when the numbers flashed up on the read out borads..

Top Doorslammer Final

With the air hovering around 170’ all eyes are on John Zappia who announced his intention to reclaim the world Doorslammer record, currently held by an American at 5.912. Zappia will need a 5.911 or better, the air is certainly there to make the horsepower but will they be able to stick it to the track?

Strong burnouts from both cars and there’s a lot of ice on Zappia’s hat in the dense air tonight after the long back up. Zappia out on the green with a much improved RT but still not match for Stanic’s lightning 0.058. The Monaro doesn’t stick as well as they hoped though and it starts to move around into second gear, a quick peddle and still manages to take the win with a 6.14. Steve Stanic meanwhile also has to peddle the Camaro and runs through for a 6.58.

 

2007_ECN_09

Zappia wins third straight East Coast Nationals

On Saturday John Zappia beat legend Victor Bray in the final of the East Coast Nationals at Western Sydney International Raceway, Sydney Australia to win Round 1 of the Australian ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship – with a five second pass!

Zap has to be close to being proclaimed the formost alky doorslammer tuner in this country, with performances of 6.036, 5.988, 6.031, 6.006, and 5.965 demonstrating mastery over the difficult PSI blower and lock up clutch combination used here in Australia. No other team came close to that sort of consistency, but several racers notified the class that their performances are approaching the magic five second zone.

On Friday Zap top qualified in the Striker Monaro Top Doorslammer with a 5.988et on his second qualifier, after running a 6.036et earlier. “First pass I got out of the groove to the left, which is unsual for our car. We had changed a lot of weight distribution on the car including Aurora’s new protoype four link rod ends, and it took us a while to set up the suspension again.” said Zap, “It still went hard though, and made an interesting tyre hopping stop in the braking area. Second qualifier was dead straight and I actually short shifted to second and third – just shows how much torque we are making to run a five.”

“First round run against Brett “The Boss” Stevens was a danger run for us, as Brett can pull some amazing performances from nowhere. I must have staged crooked, as I took off to the left again, but managed to bring it back for a nice 6.031et @ 237.13mph and a win over Brett’s 6.989et @ 214.40mph.”

“The Semi Final run against Stuart Bishop again was a possibility of a tough race as well. The newcomer to Top Doorslammer is making some serious horsepower in his Camaro with huge mph, and a 6.022 in qualifying. The car went dead straight on this run and really hauled to a 6.006et @ 239.61mph win. Speaking to Bishop at the end of the track, he showed me the graze marks on the side of the car where he hit the wall after a monster wheelstand and 6.401et @ 203.03mph awkward pass.”

“The final was up against my old mate Victor. Seems like yesterday we were running mid sixes in our old Outlaw cars against each in the early 90′s at the now closed Ravenswood International Raceway in Perth. We hotted the TFX up a little for the final run and gave the clutch a little more to ensure we had the power. Victor got me on the startline and I could see him ahead of me out of the corner of my eye, but when I punched second the Striker Monaro torque monster edged ahead and really took off to a 5.965et @ 240.85mph win – around half a car ahead of Victor who managed a 6.045et @ 230.33mph.”

“I am thrilled to have won this event again – we love the track and the atmosphere here in Sydney, and have lots of special memories, today included. Many thanks to the Zappia Racing crew, who were sensational over the weekend working on the Rat. We have delivered for our naming rights sponsors Striker Crushing and Screening, and Major Sponsors Rentco, Pigdon Portable Restorations, Fuchs, AGI Insulation, Trustek, Mickey Thompson Tyres, Beta Spuds, and our longest serving major sponsors Southside Engine Centre. We are aiming to win the Championship this year, and this win is a good start towards that process.”

“We are now looking forward to round 2 of Top Doorslammer at Willowbank for the 42nd Australian Nationals in 2 weeks time (14-16 Sept) where we will lock horns with Victor on his home track and another top field of Doorslammers. We hope to repeat the results of this weekend and would love to see as many of our sponsors, friends and supporters at Willowbank to cheers us on”.


BRING ON THE 2007/2008 SEASON!

Top Doorslammer 2006/2007 Championship Runner-up John Zappia and his Zappia Racing Team are in Sydney, Australia well prepared for the new season opening round of Top Doorslammer at the AC Delco East Coast Nationals, hosted at Western Sydney International Raceway.

Nestled inside the Zappia Racing pit area is the most potent sedan car in the country – the Striker Top Doorslammer Monaro. World record holding, and still the quickest doorslammer in the land of Oz with the ANDRA National Record certificate proudly hanging on Zap’s wall at home, the Striker Monaro now has the potential to go even quicker.

“With Striker Crushing and Screening increasing their naming rights sponsorship, and ordering a second Top Doorslammer to be built for Striker Director Craig Pedley to drive, we are pretty excited and well prepared for the next few seasons at the top of the sport.” said an animated Zappia in Sydney this week, “We have a number of new sponsors finalising their packages with us, and we welcome Major Sponsors Pigdon Portable Restorations, AGI Insulation who join Rentco, Fuchs, Trustek, Mickey Thompson Tyres and Southside Engine Centre who have resigned for the new season.”

“All this backing has allowed us to purchase brand new gear like the rest of the top runners have been doing – brand new PSI Supercharger, brand new TFX block, the latest cranks and heads – all components that will allow us to go even quicker – maybe into the 5.8 zone, and faster – hopefully into the 245mph zone.”

“The PSI Supercharger has different characteristics to the Whipple Supercharger we have been using. Besides being 40 pounds lighter, the boost comes on a lot quicker and stronger – the reason you see teams blowing tyres off, shaking and having difficulty getting a tune just right to settle the car down. But we have been tuning blown alky engines for over 20 years now, and with the Motec Datalogger and other software programs we have developed, my job of tuning is easier these days.”

“We have a head start with this new combination, having already gone 5 seconds after the third pass at a local round in Perth last season. Good enough to start the new season with I reckon. We continue to chase the one percent areas, with fine tuning and experimentation to get extra performance needed to keep ahead of the pack.”

John Zappia will be competing against nineteen other fierce Top Doorslammer teams on Friday night eliminations, all fighting for eight spots in the elimination rounds.

“This East Coast Nationals has become our signature event – winning the last two in a row and featuring the World’s first five second doorslammer pass. I have had good luck here at WSID, and a lot of good memories. Fans are more than welcome in our pit area and I take time out to personally sign merchandise and have a quick chat to fans.”