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John Zappia presented the Striker Top Doorslammer Monaro at his home track last weekend for the spectacular Top Fuel two-day event. Competing in the local “Top Comp” competition, Zap and his crew were back testing the new clutch combo but most of the runs ended up hazing the tyres for the ¼ mile, or blowing off the tyres completely and forcing Zap to pedal repeatedly.
“We just got nowhere with this combo”, said an upbeat Zappia today, “Investigations have discovered a possible faulty batch of clutch plates that have been causing problems for several Group 1 teams, including some Top Fuel teams here at the weekend.”
“Finding that out was a relief in a way, as myself and our clutch man Gerry and I tried everything we could think of to get some sort of base line, or workable starting point. Our previous clutch combo was relatively easy to set up and remain ultra consistent. We can usually predict the settings down to very small increments.”
“First run Friday night just blew the tyres off on the hit and I rolled through for a 7.166et @ 209.79mph. We took everything out of the clutch and the second pass slipped the clutch all the way to a 6.058et @ 237.46mph that put a smile on all our faces, especially as I had a slight pedal half way through first gear. That placed us third in the qualifying list at 0.462 under our index of 6.520”.
“On the Saturday afternoon we tried another two passes but the Rat just stood up on the tyres and hazed them for the quarter! A 6.581et @ 231.95mph and 6.646et @ 222.77mph were the results”.
“First round was up against Peter Nowak in the CC/DA dragster. On the hit the Rat went crazy, and I used up most of the lane and knocked out the cones in the centerline as it smoked the tyres. I thought I could still beat him, so I stayed in it to the finish trying to get the win – but Peter beat me to the line with a 7.114et to my 6.646et @ 213.27mph. My crew standing on the start line said they could read the sponsors names on the side of the car as it passed down the quarter!”
John Zappia lived up to his reputation as a wild driver, with big long smoky burnouts and efforts to control his 3,000 horsepower monster that had the local crowd smiling. The Striker Monaro in 5-second form now looks relatively sedate on a run, but the crowd quickly remembered the three years of wild and crazy driving (including hitting walls) it took to get the HQ to that stage of development. Zap remains the crowd favourite at his home track.
“We now start our preparation for the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship Round 4 2008 N R M A Summernationals on 15 – 16th Feb at Western Sydney International Dragway, NSW.”
“We are strongly focused on winning the championship this season, and a win at Sydney would put us a long way ahead.”
Photos courtesy High Octane Photos