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”.