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Champion Zap misses cut at the Nationals

Australian National Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia had a setback in his ambition to win a sixth straight Australian ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship last weekend, when he failed to qualify for the 2012 Nationals at Sydney Dragway.

Zappia qualified ninth out of the fifteen car field in the Fuchs Lubricants / Procomp Electronics “Crusher” Monaro with a 6.025 @ 246.71mph – not enough for the tough 6.012 bump spot in what ended up being an eventful qualifying day. Peter Kapiris won the meeting, defeating Garry Phillips in the final despite having a fiery crash and suffering minor facial burns.

“We make no excuses for the weekend” said Zap, “Our setup was a little off and we had a component failure, so we had to sit and watch Sunday’s racing in angst. Congratulations to Peter Kapiris and his crew for a very dedicated effort to win the round. ”

Zappia’s first qualifier was a pedalling 6.028 @ 245.67mph as the car rattled the tyres in first gear, with the second pass almost a repeat with a 6.025 @ 246.71mph.

“We found some more horsepower with our engine and putting that to the track proved a little difficult with the particular combination we ran and with the track conditions in Sydney. I backed it down a little for the final qualifying pass, but it still rattled. I pedalled it, and hit second and something let go – I had to hit third and ran out of revs in the end to run a slowing 6.701 @ 168.26mph”.

“We have seen at this meeting that the rest of the field are catching up to our 5.75 capability, with two cars in the five eights, and 4 in the five nines on an average track. We have to stay ahead, and for us that has not only meant buying the latest off the shelf items from the USA, but developing new technology here in Australia – designing a lot of our own engine components, and finding more horsepower in these Hemi engines. Whenever you find more power, there is a learning curve on putting it to the track, and that’s the trouble we had on the weekend”.

“We did get some interesting data from the weekend – our sixty foot times were better, and our speed is up, so we will study the data and learn from that. It’s a long season and we hope we can recover and get the Fuchs Lubricants / Procomp Electronics Monaro back to winning rounds. We have had similar bad starts in recent years, but were lucky enough to recover and go on to win the Championship, so we hope that by getting the car back on track we can do it again. Top Doorslammer is a tough class of racing, but our team has a wealth of knowledge and data to deliver some good results in the coming rounds”.

The Zappia Racing Team will pack up in Sydney, and head back to Perth for Round 2 of the Championship at their home track. The Goldenstates is on the 16th and 17th November, and details can be found here [ HERE ]

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Zappia heads to Sydney for Nationals

The Zappia Racing transporter has left Perth for the long trip across Australia to Sydney for the 2012 Australian Nationals, where team owner and driver John Zappia will start his defense of the 2012/2013 Top Doorslammer Championship title.

A good start for both a new season and his on-track efforts is what five times ANDRA Top Doorslammer champion John Zappia is chasing going into this weekend’s Australian Nationals at Sydney Dragway.

Zappia has made no secret of his desire to overtake Victor Bray’s legendary six straight titles in Top Doorslammer before eying off Gary Phillips’ overall record of seven consecutive professional championships.

“We just need to get a good start this year and put pressure on with our performances, rather than playing catch up through out the season,” he said. “We’ve learned how to run 5.70s and we now need to try and keep there as much as we can”.

Since winning the Top Doorslammer championship in June, Zappia’s off season has been spent competing at some Slamfest events at regional tracks, which provided him with some leads on a nagging tyre shake problem.

“We solved a problem in Darwin that we were having troubles with at both Sydney and Willowbank,” he said. “We were shaking the tyres even when we ran the 5.75 at Willowbank but we got away with it. On other runs I have had to pedal and that is how we have lost some races”.

Reaction times were also an area Zappia has cited as a concern, especially following a hole shot loss to Ben Bray in round one of the Fuchs Winternationals. His average for last season was a relatively slow 0.146 seconds.

“It’s half the car and half me,” he said. “That’s part of some of the changes that we are making to try and make the car leave harder, it’s a bit soft over the first ten feet so we need to make that area quicker which will help with the reaction times”.

Zappia is planning to test the Fuchs Lubricants/Procomp Electronics Holden “Crusher” Monaro on Wednesday at Sydney Dragway, mainly as a precaution ahead of the first round of the championship.

“We want to make sure we have no hidden gremlins,” he said. “It’s not testing anything new as such, but we’ve fixed ten things and maybe created a gremlin we don’t know about. The motor and clutch is still the same, but we’ve changed the throttle cable and moved some fuel lines, so there may be something we might have overlooked”.

“We’re still confident we could go in okay without testing but if we can say it’s all good then we should be good to go.”

The Australian Nationals begin this Friday 2nd November at Sydney Dragway with the Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship with the pros beginning qualifying on Saturday. Event details are [here]