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 steps up to 5.83’s

John Zappia was on fire at the Grand Final Meeting at the Kwinana Motorplex last weekend, and ran the quickest time in Australian Top Doorslammer history – with a mind blowing 5.833 @ 247.25mph. But just to prove it was not a “one off” quick pass, he rattled of a 5.848 and a 5.839 in eliminations, and just missed out on winning the local West Australian 2008/2009 Top Comp Championship in the Final.

“What an exciting car this Striker Monaro has turned into” said Zap after the event, “I was disappointed to red light against Pilko in the final, but that is racing. We normally run a Pro Tree in Doorslammer, and the Full Tree start occasionally catches me out”.

“But I want to explain to the fans what a 5.83 run was like. I have been drag racing for a long time, and rarely does the car take my breath away, but that first 5.833 was simply awesome. First gear after launch was so strong it carried the wheels for so long and simply scared the daylights out of me. I short shifted at 9,100rpm – instead of going to 10,000rpm, to get the wheels back on the ground, and second gear went very quick. In third the car usually levels off in g-force as I approach the finish line, but at about 1,000 feet the Rat hit me in the back with such force it was like a two stroke power band coming on – the finish line was a blur and our data logger tells us I went to 254mph before I got off it. One exciting ride I can tell you!”.

“Our testing and constant development of this Striker Monaro continues to produce good results for us. The second car is nearing completion, and soon Top Doorslammer teams will have to deal with two HQ Monaro’s on race day!. I reckon the second car will be quicker than mine eventually”.

The Grand Final was a chance for several teams to take the West Australian 2008/2009 Top Comp Championship, with three teams within reach. Zap managed a 6.005 @ 241.93mph with a massive pedal in the heat of the day in qualifier number one, and then rattled off his record run of 5.833 @ 247.25mph to place him third on the qualifying list 0.627 under his index handicap.

First round Eliminator was up against Aaron Deery in his TA/D Dragster, and despite a slower reaction time, a 5.848 @ 247.25mph from Zap was too quick for Deery’s 5.818 @ 243.24mph. Mathew Treasure was out of the championship race, having put his Altered into the beach and too damaged to continue racing.

The Final was a showdown for the Championship, with Zap up against the AA/FC of Rob Pilkington. Rob with a 5.806 index handicap, and Zap with a 5.839 index handicap – almost an even start. Both cars staged and bumped the second stage lights in at exactly the same time, and the starter wasted no time hitting the go button – both racers ended up red lighting on the start, Rob with the lesser amount. Zap passed through the finish line ahead of Pilko with a 5.839 @ 245.90mph to the Funny Car’s 5.806 @ 250.00mph, but the Championship was Pilko’s!

“This Striker Monaro was in Top Doorslammer trim for the weekend” said Southside Engine guru Graham Jones, “The car weighed 2,730 pounds after the run, was running our D Series PSI at the legal limit of 108% over, and all other regulations adhered to. The car is still a true “Tin Top”, with a steel body and wing, and the quickest and fastest one at that. Unfortunately the runs do not count as an official Australian ANDRA record, but we know not only are we the quickest, but the most consistent at each level we step up to”.

Zappia Racing now moves to the East Coast of Australia for the final three Rounds of the 2008/2009 ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship. Round 6 is the Tin Tops at Willowbank on the 17-18th April, Round 7 the Nitro Champs at WSID on 1 – 3rd May, and Round 8 at the famous Winternationals back up at Willowbank on 4 – 7th June.

“We are excited about the new television deals secured by ANDRA” commented Zap today, “It means our Naming Rights Sponsors, and Major Sponsors get the exposure they deserve on television, and our sport goes to a new level in Australia in terms of audience exposure. We have our die hard drag racing fans, but more and more newcomers watching the sport. ANDRA Top Doorslammer racing is an exciting form of Motorsport, and even more of an experience live at the track”.