2018_Nitro_top

Zappia seeks perfection for penultimate Pro Slammer round in Sydney

No stone has been left unturned by John Zappia and his team of Pro Slammer professionals ahead of the second last round of the 400 Thunder Drag Racing Series at Sydney Dragway this weekend, May 4-5.

The Australian record holding Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro has been given what Zappia described as a birthday, with every aspect of the car looked over to ensure maximum consistency and performance at the Nitro Thunder event.

“We have had the crank crack tested and honed the block thanks to Southside Engine Centre, rebuilt the B&J Transmission, freshened up the Boninfante Clutch with new fingers and plates and put every part of the car under a microscope,” he said.

“Reliability is what you need to win championships and from here on in we need everything to be 100% right.”

Zappia said he was looking forward to returning to Sydney Dragway where the performances of the Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro have been consistent.

“The car runs good in Sydney and we have everything in our tune up back to where we ran 5.60 last year,” he said. “The weather looks like it will be cooler which suits us and the schedule has been adjusted to keep us out of the coldest temperatures where it can be tricky to put the power down.”

Points are the primary consideration so Zappia will be going for consistency rather than shooting for a new national record.

“The potential for the first 5.5 second run in Pro Slammer competition is there for sure,” he said. “When we went 5.60 the car was 30 pounds overweight. Now the car is the lightest it has been so hopefully we can capitalise on that and at least get back to consistent low 5.6s. A high 5.5 is not out of the question.”

While outright performance is valuable, good reaction times can also provide valuable hundredths of a second. That is an area where Zappia feels he has been on the improve.

“The better the car performs, the better I perform on the lights,” he said. “When you are wondering what is going to happen when you drop the clutch you can get distracted. Sometimes reaction times aren’t all driver, they can be in clutch settings as well.”

Zappia and the team will be testing on the Wednesday before the event as well as in official test sessions on Friday night.

“We are going to test with some new Hoosiers on Wednesday and make sure everything is ready, then we have a couple of test passes Friday night, then into racing,” he said. “We are making sure the tyres are bedded in and happy, then we will know which set to use for the weekend.”

The Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro will be part of a 13 car Pro Slammer field with some of the quickest cars in the nation set to wow fans. Testing begins from 5pm on Friday while 400 Thunder racing begins from 3.30pm Saturday.

Photo courtesy Luke Nieuwhof/dragnews.com.au.

Event information – Tickets, Event Schedule, Pit Allocations: Sydney Dragway

2018_Nitro_ad

2018_Nitro_List

 

John_Zappia_by_Hayley_Turns

ZAPPIA’S SOUTHERN THUNDER WIN PUTS PRESSURE ON OPPONENTS

John Zappia has closed the gap in the 400 Thunder Pro Slammer Championship with a win at Adelaide International Raceway’s Southern Thunder event, putting the pressure on Paul Mouhayet ahead of the final two rounds of the series.

In an unusual weekend of racing at Adelaide International Raceway that saw late format changes and a shift to eighth mile racing due to high winds, Zappia’s Fuchs/Dananni Hot Shots Holden Monaro was able to defeat Mouhayet’s Ford Mustang in a close fought final round.

Zappia began his weekend as he finished it, with the quickest times of testing before getting into race day.

“Southern Thunder was a strange event for sure, we tested over 1000 feet which is the normal distance at Adelaide International Raceway and ended up on an eighth mile (660 feet),” Zappia said.

“The first test run was a 5.15, straight down the track. After that sighting pass we put the normal timing curve back in and put the horsepower back up. The Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro left hard with a .987 60 foot time and it really got going in second gear, moving a metre left out of the groove and a metre right. We ran a 4.98 on that pass but I guess the important number was the eighth mile time of 3.89, when we were told we would be reducing the race distance because of the wind.

“Most of the teams were struggling to make a full pull but we knew the track would get better as the event went on.”

A format change for Saturday’s racing saw a test session followed by a single race round and then the finals. With Mouhayet on a solo run thanks to his championship lead, Zappia had to make it to the final the hard way, taking on fellow Western Australian Marty Dack.

“In the interests of the teams’ safety we were racing on an eighth mile. We pretty much left it the same as we run it on the quarter mile, we just leaned out the fuel system a little earlier,” Zappia explained. “The good news was the Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro was responding to all the changes we were making, with no tyre shake.

“We went 3.85/196mph against Marty for the win and the time was quick enough to get us into the final round against Paul.”

With an opportunity to claw back points, Zappia needed the win light in yet another titanic match up between the pair.

“Paul left first by two hundredths but we knew there was plenty of bite in the first part of the Adelaide International Raceway surface. We were 2.54 to the 330 feet mark which is only four hundredths off our best. We drove around Paul in the middle of the track and crossed the line with a 3.799/196mph to his 3.86/206mph.”

With another 400 Thunder trophy in hand, Zappia is in a surprisingly familiar position despite his 10 national championships in Top Doorslammer and one win in Pro Slammer – as an underdog. Zappia trails Mouhayet by 24 points.

“We’ve been here before, there have been seasons where we have been down 70 points on Peter Kapiris or even four points down on Robin Judd until the final round of the Winternationals. As long as there is a chance, we still fight it out until the end.

“This championship is Moits Racing’s and Paul’s to lose and ours to gain.”

Zappia plans to test some new ideas at Perth Motorplex’s Powerpalooza this Saturday, April 7 before heading to Nitro Thunder at Sydney Dragway in May for the penultimate round of the 400 Thunder Pro Slammer Series.

Get down to Motorplex this weekend for an exciting final meeting which includes drag racing, burnouts, a demolition derby and speedway. Drag Racing starts at 10am and runs until 7.00pm, so get there early to watch all the drag racing action before moving across to see all the speedway action later in the night.

Top Photo courtesy Hayley Turns/Outlaw Images.

IMG_6347

IMG_6343

IMG_6345

IMG_6346