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.