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First round frustration for Zappia at Goldenstates

First round frustration for Zappia at Goldenstates

A promising start to the 47th annual Goldenstates Championship finished with a heartbreaking first round exit for John Zappia and the Dananni Hotshots/Tony’s Auto Wreckers Monaro Top Doorslammer.

Beginning with Friday night’s qualifying, a 5.821 pass in the first session would hold as Zappia’s quickest and place him second out of the eight cars on the property — earning the ever-vital lane choice for race day.

“We had a lot of tyre shake through qualifying, and every run needed a pedal,” he said. “On our final run the car looked set for a number but then I went to punch third and the car wouldn’t shift.  The only thing we could put that down to was an air supply issue, so we installed a larger line from the air tank to the shift buttons overnight.”

Zappia would face Pino Priolo’s 37 Chevy in the first round, with Priolo back for his first event in 18 months at the Motorplex. Unlike the freezing opening round of the Direct Mining & Industrial Summer Slam season a few weeks previous, this particular Saturday was marked by warm conditions in the mid-30s, with the track condition still in the high 40s for eliminations.The Dananni Hotshots/Tony’s Auto Wreckers Monaro came out flying with a 0.997 60 foot time, but then it all came unstuck for Zappia as the car swerved into the opposite lane.

“We felt like we needed to back the car off for the first run of Saturday, so we had a tune-up in there that was similar to the first qualifying pass we made on Friday. We noticed everyone ahead of us was all over the track, so that seemed like the right call. “I got the early jump on Pino but then the tyre shake began and I stayed on the throttle just a fraction of a second too long. My vision got blurred and I got off the throttle, and I could see I was heading for the other lane. I took evasive action to try and get it back to my side and avoid Pino, but there was no question that I was across the centre line and out of the race.”

It was a disappointingly early exit for Zappia, with Daniel Gregorini taking over the lead of the Australian Drag Racing Championship. On the positive side, he was happy to see another Dananni Hotshots racer earn their first ANDRA Top Doorslammer win.

“Of course it is frustrating and you feel like you have let everyone down,” Zappia said. “That said, we always seem to do better when we are chasing down somebody in the points. Congratulations go to Stuart Moresby in his Dananni Hotshots Studebaker, we know it will be a special memory for that team and a great boost for all of them. We were also happy to see Pino Priolo make it to the final on his return to the Motorplex.”

Joining Zappia on track at the Motorplex this weekend was his fiancé Rae Lockwood, who qualified her Zappia Racing-built Super Sedan with a 9.89 and raced to a third round finish.

Zappia will be back for Nitro Max on December 11, with Zappia entering Top Comp for some testing.“We need to try and find out why the tyre shake is back and solve that so that we can come back strongly for the Nitro Slam in January. I have faith in our whole team that we will work it out and return to the winner’s circle.”

Photos: Phil Blondel; Phil Reeve;  Paul Carey and Ian Moore

Q Ladder

Q Runs

Elein Ladder

Elin Runs

 

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