John Zappia and his Zappia Racing Team proved why they are the National Champions last weekend, when they won the most exciting Final in Top Doorslammer history at the Nitro Champs in Sydney Australia. The win was probably one of John’s best drives this season as he had to overcome a huge wheel stand, tyre shake and after using most of the track also dropped a cylinder a the 1000 foot mark and still managed to take the win.
Facing off against another Australian legend and Former National Champion Peter Kapiris in his new Saratoga and his re-vitalised team, John Zappia lost the reaction race but to the amazement of the crowd launched into a huge tyre shaking wheel stand that took him towards the wall. But in true Zappia fashion he did not back off, but yanked that HQ Monaro back hard – too hard actually as he used up most of the track except the middle, and drove it out the back door to a win barely inches ahead of Kapiris.
“That was probably the best win for a long time” said a jubilant Zappia, “Especially considering our clutch was severely damaged after the semi-final win. We had to repair and rebuild the clutch for the final, and what a crew we have. Jerry is a genius with this clutch, and for him and the boys to get it ready for the final AND give me a setting that was able to inch ahead of the in-form Kapiris was brilliant”. A special thanks to Peter and Jeff for the sportsmanship shown in offering us their spare clutch if we weren’t able to repair our clutch in time to race.
“The win was such a boost to our sponsors Procomp Motorsports, and Fuchs whose management teams were at the event. It gives a real boost for our goal of winning another back to back Championship this year”.
The four day event was affected by rain on days one and two, allowing only one qualifying session on the Saturday night where the Procomp Motorsport Monaro ran a 5.913 @ 244.56 mph to lead the field over Kapiris 5.963 @ 248.39 mph, Fabietti 6.083 @ 214.01 mph and Ben Bray 6.196 @ 233.80 mph.
A meeting between competitors and track and ANDRA officials resulted in a second session being called on the Sunday morning. Zappia fronted and suffered a huge engine explosion as a gudgion pin let go in the engine. A real blessing that the additional run was scheduled for the Sunday morning.
At the close of the second session the eight qualifiers were led by Zappia who picked up Top Qualifier position.
“That was an unexpected part failure really, and caused us to fit a second engine into the car for the first qualifier against fellow West Australian Daniel Gregorini. The Force Tools got a thrashing, but our crew are pretty good at engine changes now and we were ready with time to spare”.
First round saw Zappia 5.833 @ 246.75 mph defeat a strong roots powered Gregorini 6.082 @ 236.05 mph, and pick up Low ET for the meeting – not far off his National Record of 5.805. Other winners were Belleri 5.991 over Fabietti 6.207, Ben Bray 6.046 over Judd 6.242, and Kapiris 5.902 over Abel 6.073.
“With Judd out we knew the next match up against Belerri was a crucial one with Mark running well in the points. Our 5.912 @ 246.75 was too quick for Belleri’s Camaro who ran 6.013 @ 243.90 mph, and meant a final against the inform Peter Kapiris (5.894) who put away Ben Bray (6.107)”.
“We knew this would be a tough race with Peter running back to back “eights” this meeting – and when returning to the pits and finding the clutch damaged it was touch and go to make the final.
The rest is history as Zap’s 5.888 @ 240.25 mph was just enough to beat Kapiris’s 5.922 @ 245.27 mph, and give him enough round points to extend his lead in the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship with 441 points – 53 ahead of Belleri (388), 80 ahead of Fabietti (361), and 103 ahead of Judd (338).
“We came into the event pretty confident after our last two outings, and our momentum was high. This win adds to that, but we are never over confident – this is hard racing and we never take things for granted. Our preparation is probably even more crucial now, and as my good friend Victor Bray says – “It is harder to stay at the top”. So we will go back to basics and do our hard work in preparation, and plan our strategy for the next round at the Winternationals”.
The Zappia Racing Team have travelled to Darwin for the Macmahon Grand Re-Opening of the Hidden Valley Drag Strip presented by 7mate. Hidden Valley has carried out extensive upgrades to their track, and the opening will mark a new chapter in drag racing in Australia.
Drag News Australia will bring live and interactive commentary using their Cover it Live module on the internet for those not able to attend. Join their panel style discussion and share your thoughts on the racing with fellow enthusiasts from 7pm Friday May 13th (CST) and extending through to eliminations on Saturday May 14th from 6pm (CST).
Local Darwin fans are welcome to join Zap in the pits for a chat, watch the crew service Australia’s quickest doored car, and purchase merchandise from the trailer.
“We are pumped for Darwin, and look forward to putting on a good show for the crowd. Nice long smokey burnouts and quick racing will be our priority – and giving the fans value for money”.