A dream finish to the season proved elusive for John Zappia and his Dananni Hotshots/Tony’s Auto Wreckers Monaro Top Doorslammer after a first round loss at the ANDRA Grand Finals.
With a championship in his sights, the first goal for Zappia was to qualify well. After a pedalling 5.81 in the Friday night qualifying session, Zappia returned for Saturday’s second session and clocked a 5.761, missing the top spot by just two hundredths of a second.
“Our first run left okay but we had tyre shake and a 5.81 was definitely not where we wanted to be,” Zappia explained. “We only had one more shot to get it right. We stepped the car up to our 5.64 tune-up and took a swing to try and go to number one. The car left hard, but we again had the tyres rattling, and then we smoked a piston which took down our top speed.”
The Zappia Racing team got to work replacing the engine, and then softened the tune-up in an effort to make an A-to-B run.
As night fell, the conditions became tricky for every team to manage. On one hand there was excellent air, allowing the supercharged engines to produce enormous amounts of horsepower, but on the other hand was the cold, which meant traction was on a knife-edge.
“We were up against Stu Moresby, who has shown consistent five-second pace lately. I launched well, my reaction time was a 0.056 which is pretty good for this car, and then we had tyre shake again! My vision was blurred and when I could see again I realised I was way out of the groove and heading for the wall. I tried to recover the run but we ended up grazing the wall and putting us out of the race — and the championship”.
“I did everything I could to save the run, as even with a couple of pedals we can still potentially run fives. The data logger showed I was on and off the throttle four times. I knew I’d let both championships go at that point; there was a lot of pressure on my shoulders.”
Moresby’s Dananni Hotshots Studebaker went on to win the event, and overtake Zappia for the Direct Mining & Industrial Summer Slam championship too.
“Congratulations to both Stu and Daniel on their performances this season. Western Australian Top Doorslammer racing is as competitive as it has ever been, with more cars coming in. I know the fans got a great show, and while we’d always love to come away with the ANDRA gold Christmas trees, seeing the class at such strength is awesome.
“I’d also like to wish Steve Aldridge all the best in recovering from his big crash. We never like to see that in drag racing and we hope we can see him back.”
Zappia now turns his focus to interstate events, including Darwin’s Nitro Up North and potentially the Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway.
“We’ve got some R&D to do over the next month and we’re going to shift our focus to a new season, with some exciting developments to come for Australian Top Doorslammers very soon,” Zappia said. “A big thank you to all our Sponsors, crew and volunteers, supporters and fans for your invaluable support throughout the year. We finished Runner up in both the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship and the Direct Mining & Industrial Summer Slam Championship and will set our sights on an even better year in 2022/2023 and give our sponsors the best exposure possible”.