Australian 9 times back to back Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia – the quickest doorslammer driver down under – just made history by winning his second championship for the season after a finals finish in the 400 Thunder Nitro Champs at Sydney Dragway.
The finals finish gained him 103 points to reach 570 points total – 139 points clear of Grant O’Rourke and enough points to win the inaugural 400 Thunder Pro-Slammer Championship with the Winternationals round to go at Willowbank.
Zap had earlier wrapped up the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship at the Grand Final event in Adelaide – his ninth consecutive championship.
“We are proud of our achievements this season” said the laconic Zappia, “We have been beaten, and had a few failures this year but at the heart of it all, the Fuchs Monaro is still the quickest doorslammer in Australia and is the car the beat at every track”.
“We are looking forward to the Winternationals this year. We made a clean sweep of last seasons Fuchs Winternationals – Top Qualifying, Winning the Final Round, gaining Low ET and Top Speed for the meeting, resetting the National Record to 5.693 and winning our eighth back-to-back Championship. We hope this year can go as well and the Fuchs Monaro can go even quicker”.
The Nitro Champs in Sydney saw Zappia top qualify in the 8 car field with a 5.72 to set new Track Record ahead of Ben Bray with a 5.87 after only two rounds of qualifying.
“Round one I had a win over veteran Gary Phillips with a big pedal and running a 5.97, round two we had a bye due to Rob Taylor breaking a diff and ran a tyre shaking 6.61, and the final against Cannuli we lost due to massive tyre shake again and a wild drifting ride down Sydney Dragway’s left lane”. The track seemed to give every racer problems at the 80-foot mark with bad tyre shake even during the burn out.
“We really struggled with the track at Sydney in eliminations. The dreaded tyre shake was back with a vengeance, causing me all sorts of drama trying to keep the Crusher in my lane. It just goes to show that we can be beaten, and getting down the track is not just a matter of revving it up and dropping the clutch in doorslammer. Best wishes to Paul Cannuli and his crew for that thrash and win. That never give up attitude is all too common with drag racers”.
The Winternationals is the largest drag racing event outside of North America on 9-12th June, and features all Group 1 brackets, including Pro-Slammer, the wildest doored cars on the planet. John Zappia will venture off across the vast Australian continent from Perth to Brisbane in the team transporter, driving 4,200km (2,600 miles) across four states to Ipswich, just out of Brisbane, with the crew flying in to join him a few days later.
“The Winters is just such a big event, and with the killer track it is the place to set records and the event to be at – and we will be going after it now we have the championships wrapped up. Fans can be guaranteed the Zappia Racing Team will be there to go as quick as possible, and provide a good show for the huge crowd normally in attendance”.
“With eighteen Pro-Slammers entered, including my old mate Victor Bray – the competition for eight spots will be tight and the racing will be intense”.
“A big thank you to our Naming Rights Sponsors Fuchs Lubricants, and all our other Major Sponsors, Speedmaster, Dannani Hotshots, Noonan Race Engineering, Southside Engine Centre and Hoosier Tires, and Supporting Sponsors Crow Cams, Reid Rockers, Santhuff Shocks, B&J Transmissions, Appealing Signs, Taylor Tyres, Bravo Resources, SDS Billet, Final Drive, K Craft Bullbars, Engel, Aurora Bearing Company, Avtrac Maintenance Tracking and CIC High Performance Ceramics for all the support this season”.
“Huge thanks to the Zappia Racing crew, both east and west coast, for their enormous amount of time and effort, travelling and taking time off from their jobs. The crew are volunteers in our team – not paid crew like in the US – so all the more impressive is their loyalty and dedication by all involved”.
“The new 2016/2017 ANDRA season starts off in Darwin on the 8/9 July with the Nitro Up North event at Hidden Valley Drag Strip followed by Alice Springs Inland Dragway for the Dessert Nationals on the 16/17 July. Top Doorslammers will compete at both events and should be two fantastic race meetings that we are all looking forward to due to the Northern Territory hospitality”.