Reigning eight times ANDRA Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia won the second round in Darwin over the weekend, to wrestle back the lead in the 2015/2016 ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship after winning a great final race.
The event was staged at Hidden Valley Raceway – an Australian Government funded racing facility in northern Australia – and drew a good crowd of fans to see the racing over two days.
“We as a team are pretty happy right now” said a jovial Zappia, “We had a setback at this event in the first round here when we overpowered the track and glanced the wall, losing the semi-final. So we were keen to make up for that with a steady performance over this meeting. That all went pear shaped when we snapped a valve and damaged the LH Noonan head in the Fuchs Monaro in the first qualifier”
Qualifying on the Friday night was good, with six racers managing five second passes – testimony to a good track and great preparation. Bump spot was 6.057 and five unlucky racers had to settle for the Chicago Shootout, which is run between the Elimination races and allows non qualifiers to gain some valuable points towards the championship.
“Our first run resulted in a huge blower backfire as an inlet valve let go and did some damage. Back in the pits the crew found the damage was restricted to one head. We could have thrashed and made Q2, but decided to change both heads as a pair. These heads were on Frankenstein – our old freak engine that is our number 2 backup, so they had to be removed and fitted onto the best engine that was in the car and already set up.”
Zappia consequently missed Q2, but lined up in a situation he has been in many a time – not qualified and one run to get in the field. The champ has a history of doing well under pressure, and he did it again – going straight to number 1 with a 5.907 @ 248.43mph. This was short lived as the in-form Grant O’Rourke thought better of that and rattled off an impressive 5.838 @ 249.12mph to top qualify, followed by local Darwin racer Matt Abel who ran second with his 5.870 @ 236.59mph.
Saturday night racing in front of 3,500 eager Darwin race fans saw some exciting Top Doorslammer match ups and wins. Zappia was back in the five eights with a win over Belleri; Carbone had a hole shot win over Abel despite a slower time; Kapiris threw everything at Phillips and had another hole shot win with the slower ET; and O’Rourke put away Bray to advance to the semis.
The semi-finals saw Zappia fine tune the Fuchs Monaro to a 5.842 @ 250.09mph win over Carbone who broke, and Kapiris’ come back to form with a 6.008 @ 223.76mph win over O’Rourke’s 6.182 @ 230.65mph.
“We had the HQ back in the groove and matching the track and conditions, but knew we had to hot it up to a five seven to defeat Peter Kapiris. I was pretty confident we had the power, even though his super sleek Saratoga has huge speed. First to the finish line always wins.”
Kapiris got the jump on Zap with a .065 light compared to a .081 – but by 60 feet the stout power of the Zappia Racing 502 hemi saw Zap in front and surge to a 5.786 @ 250.74mph win over Kapiris 5.897 @ 253.71mph. A huge spectacular drag race, and one the Darwin fans really appreciated.
“The ANDRA stewards were again at our pits and checked our engine capacity, overdrive ratio, Motec outputs and Powergrid setting and got a clean bill of health with everything being to spec”.
“A great win for the team and Fuchs, and one we dedicate to Noeleen Hale who passed away recently. Noeleen was a part of my family and race team for years, and a dedicated drag racing fan.”
“Another big thank you to Adrian from Pedder’s Darwin for the loan of his cars and his help crewing. Also thank you to Matt Abel for the loan of his F250 and the accommodation for the crew. The hospitality and atmosphere at Hidden Valley is second to none and each year we look forward to racing there”.
Zappia gained enough points with the win and low ET to head the Top Doorslammer Championship points table with 199, ahead of O’Rourke with 170 and Kapiris on 152. The team next head to Adelaide for the Spring Nationals and round three of Top Doorslammer on 17/18 October.
Looking forward to seeing as many of our Sponsors, supporters and fans at Adelaide International Raceway to make this another outstanding event.
G O’ROURKE – PONTIAC FIREBIRD 5.838
M ABEL – 1957 CHEV 5.870
J ZAPPIA – HQ MONARO 5.907
P KAPIRIS – SARATOGA 5.926
G PHILLIPS – STUDEBAKER 5.966
M BELLERI – MONARO 5.973
P CARBONE – CAMARO 6.036
B BRAY – CORVETTE 6.057
P PRIOLO – CHEV 6.339
M O’CONNOR – XM FALCON 6.544
D GREGORINI – CAMARO 6.844
R TAYLOR – CAMARO 7.273
P CANULLI – DUSTER 10.844
G O’ROURKE 5.927 @ 246.75 DEF B BRAY 6.087 @ 240.94
P KAPIRIS 5.956 @ 243.72 DEF G PHILLIPS 5.954 @ 245.00
P CARBONE 6.026 DEF M ABEL 6.003 @ 247.97
J ZAPPIA 5.861 DEF M BELLERI 10.403 @ 82.14
P KAPIRIS 6.008 @ 223.76 DEF G O’ROURKE 6.182 @ 230.65
J ZAPPIA 5.842 @ 250.09 DEF P CARBONE .000
J ZAPPIA 5.786 @ 250.74 DEF P KAPIRIS 5.897 @ 253.71