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Zap edges closer to Kapiris after Finals appearance at the Springnationals

Current and Five times Australian ANDRA National Champion, John Zappia made excellent progress in his championship bid, with a finals appearance in Adelaide at Round 7 of the Top Doorslammer Championship at the Lady Daly Hotel Springnationals, edging closer to leader Peter Kapiris. The Fuchs Lubricants / Striker Crushing Monaro were favourites to win after top qualifying and re-setting the track record, but unfortunately lost the final to young Benny Bray.

“We have got the gap down to 42 points, after gaining 98 points for the round with top qualifier, low ET, Top Speed and a finals finish. We are pretty happy with that, despite losing the finals. Congratulations on Ben Bray for his win – I know his crew worked hard for that win”. Qualifying on the Friday night started at 7pm and in John’s first pass, he got sideways in the burnout and struggled with traction in the right lane but ran a pedalling 6.525. Due to dew on the track and the cold conditions, it was decided to run the next set of qualifiers on Saturday.

“On the second qualifier the Crusher rattled hard in second, so I pedalled to tame it down but hit the limiter and blew the front burst panel out. The 5.305 showed us the car had some power, so we refined the tune up for the final session and ran a perfect 5.037 @ 223.82 to set fastest ET and quickest MPH for the meeting, and Top Doorslammer track record”. At 5pm in the Round 1 eliminations Zappia was matched up against Carbone, with Zap running a dead straight 5.050 for the win against Carbone’s 5.378.

“A Great run in the car, and that set us up against Kapiris in the semis – a real showdown for the two of us. I rattled at the top of first gear, pedalled and saw Peter disappear out of my view as I took the win with a 5.088. Pete’s lane failed to give a reading, but after viewing on-car video, we were confirmed as winners and went through to the final”.

Ben Bray defeated Bishop and Fabietti on his way to the final, and managed to literally blow a door off his Monaro in the braking area. After borrowing a door from Fabietti and delaying the final to 10.30pm the two Monaro’s lined up for the final.

“I didn’t get a good start after getting distracted by lights in my vision close to the tree, and also had a big pedal as the car rattled badly and headed sharply to the left. Young Benny had a better run and his 5.170 was good enough for the win”.

“The scene is set for an amazing final round in Sydney on 1st – 3rd November for the Australian Nationals, where the pressure will be high on a typically fast track for Doorslammers. We will test in Perth before that and see if we can get the Crusher to go even quicker – we need to match the speed Kapiris gets in his slippery Saratoga to maximise our points and improve our chance of taking out our sixth consecutive championship.”

Qualifying (1,000ft): ZAPPIA HQ Monaro 5.037 @ 223.82; BISHOP 67 Camaro 5.076 @ 217.12; B BRAY Monaro 5.178 @ 218.65; DACK Falcon 5.193 @ 219.03; KAPIRIS 59 Dodge 5.253 @ 221.34; FABIETTI Monaro 5.315 @ 198.76; V BRAY 57 Chev 5.345 @ 185.22; CARBONE 68 Camaro 5.555 @ 176.17: NQ – O’CONNOR 5.770 @ 207.18.

Eliminations (1,000ft) Round 1: ZAPPIA HQ Monaro 5.050 @ 226.35 def CARBONE 68 Camaro 5.378 @ 187.89; KAPIRIS 59 Dodge 5.274 @ 218.49 def DACK Falcon 5.375 @ 202.38; BISHOP 67 Camaro 5.055 @ 221.18 def V BRAY 57 Chev 5.934 @ 142.42; B BRAY Monaro 5.181 @ 211.81 def FABIETTI Monaro 5.191 @ 211.61:

Round 2: ZAPPIA HQ Monaro 5.088 @ 223.82 def KAPIRIS 59 Dodge 000; B BRAY Monaro 5.190 @ 218.71 def BISHOP 67 Camaro 5.439 @ 157.15: Final: B BRAY Monaro 5.170 @ 211.86 def ZAPPIA HQ Monaro 5.200 @ 222.33.

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Zap Set for Adelaide Springnationals

Current and Five time Australian ANDRA National Champion, John Zappia heads to Adelaide for Round 7 of the Top Doorslammer Championship at the Lady Daly Hotel Springnationals to be held over 20th – 21st September, and is quietly confident the Fuchs Lubricants / Striker Crushing Monaro will perform well over the reduced 1,000 foot event.

“The car is going quick on current form and we ran 5.753 and 5.745 back to back runs at Round 6 at the Winters to top qualify and re-set the National Record, and ran 3.866 to Top Qualify and re-set the track record at Benaraby in the Slamfest series over the 1/8th mile. I think the car is back to its best, after struggling earlier in the season”.

“We have only been to Adelaide once since 1995 and that was for an exhibition event, so there will be a big learning curve as we don’t have much data. The track may end up deciding the state of play, as the crews battle to get the best setup and contain the power on a tricky track.

The crew and I will have to be on our A game and make sure everything is checked as we can’t afford to leave anything to chance. One mistake can decide the championship, so we’ll need to concentrate on what we can control and not try to break records at the expense of overpowering the track”.

Zappia racing welcomes new Major Sponsors PRG – Process Resource Group who specialise in mobile crushing, and will showcase the Speedmaster high performance engine parts branding from Procomp Electronics on the car at this meeting.

“A big thank you to all our new and existing sponsors and supporters who have been fantastic in their support. Our efforts to go Back-to-Back again in our Championship race will be tougher this year than any other, as Kapiris has a fair lead of 76 points on us with this and one other event to go. Without the support of all our sponsors, crew and supporters we could not have achieved these five successive championships and be in a position to fight it out for a sixth.

We would like to see as many of our sponsors and supporters at the track to cheer us on and hopefully keep our championship hopes alive.

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Zappia: It’s all in Kapiris’ hands

John Zappia is used to late season charges to earn his five Top Doorslammer titles but says for this season it is points leader Peter Kapiris’ championship to lose with just two events remaining.

The Top Doorslammer field heads to Adelaide International Raceway (AIR) from September 20-21 for the Lady Daly Hotel Springnationals and Zappia says his Fuchs team will need nothing short of perfection to be in the running.

“I need to do everything possible to win it and it’s all in Peter’s hands to lose it,” he said. “If Peter doesn’t do anything wrong he can’t lose.

“I’d rather be on top but there’s many of our championships we’ve won coming from behind. A couple of first round loses for anyone can turn it all around.”

The season so far has been fickle for Zappia despite his second position in the points. The national record holder is yet to take an event win for the season while Kapiris has two on the books.

“Not qualifying at the Nationals in Sydney last year put us behind right from the start,” he said. “We’ve had bad luck but then any time Peter has had bad luck I wasn’t there to take advantage.”

With the tour now heading to AIR, it presents one of the biggest challenges of the season as the first time there has been a championship round over 1000 feet and the first time it has been to AIR since 2000.

“Adelaide is a big unknown, the traction there is the most different out of all the tracks we race at,” he said. “The track is getting better and better and I’m quietly confident I can master it.

“The 1000 feet is to my advantage because Peter’s big top end speed won’t come into play as much over that distance. If we come out of Adelaide smiling it will mean the championship is doable at the Australian Nationals in November.”

Zappia expects low five second times and with new sponsor Process Resource Group on board the first four second pass over 1000 feet by a Top Doorslammer at AIR may be a possibility.

“We should be able to get it into the fours, it depends on how good that part of the track from 1000 to 200 feet is and what the weather brings,” he said. “The air conditions are going to be killer at this time of year and overpowering the track will be on the cards for a lot of people. It’s working out how to tame it.”

Kapiris is currently 76 points ahead of Zappia, with six times champion Victor Bray also still in the hunt.

If Kapiris can stretch his lead to over 118 points then the championship will be entirely his, while anything over a lead of 98 points means he just has to make a qualifying pass at the season-ending Australian Nationals in Sydney to seal the deal.

The Top Doorslammers will be joined in Adelaide by Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle plus a round of the Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship.