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An unusually cautious John Zappia is approaching the 50th annual Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway, with one eye on his Fuchs Monaro Pro Slammer and the other on the Queensland sky ahead of the event.
With some wet weather possible, Zappia said goal number one is to make a clean pass to get into the field and follow it up with consistency, as all out performance takes a back seat.
“Every time I say I will go real fast our runs turn to a mess, so for us the Winternationals will be all about consistency and we will let the performance come,” he said.
“We don’t want to be the ones to go too hard in the first qualifying session and miss making what is likely to be an extremely tough field. I think weather will be a factor, but it is only Tuesday so hopefully that forecast will change. At the moment it is a survival strategy: get qualified and get into the eight car field.”
The Fuchs Pro Slammer team has an amazing amount of data from thousands of runs down the quarter mile and it is this knowledge resource they will draw upon at the Winternationals.
“We will read the engine, read the data and track and creep it up accordingly,” Zappia said.
Seventeen high quality entries from across the country will make up the Pro Slammer bracket, turning out in force for the final round of the 400 Thunder Series.
Many of those drivers have recently found new pace, with Ben Bray, Gary Phillips, Scott MacLean and Stuart Bishop among those to recently descend into the 5.7 second zone.
“Sometimes you’ve got to run as fast as you can just to stay where you are and that is what we are seeing in Pro Slammer right now,” Zappia said.
“A 5.7 would have been a guaranteed top qualifying award in the past, but it’s a very likely scenario that someone might run a 5.7 second time in qualifying this weekend and not even get lane choice for round one – that is how much the pace has stepped up in recent months.”
“We know we have what it takes to be at the pointy end, we just need to not overdo it and get ourselves into the show where we can then put on a great showing for Fuchs and all our other sponsors.”
But ultimately, Zappia admits that drag racers make poor fortune tellers and the only statements worth anything will be those made on the day at the famed Willowbank Raceway surface.
“I didn’t predict the numbers we ran in Sydney and I don’t think anyone else thought they would be setting personal bests either. This is one tough field and not to be taken lightly – who knows what we will see? You’ll just have to be there to see the Fuchs Monaro and over 500 other awesome drag racing teams.”
The Winternationals begins from Thursday, with the first Pro Slammer qualifying session being held on Friday, followed by two more qualifying sessions on Saturday and eliminations on Sunday.
“We would like to see as many of our sponsors, supporters and fans come out and visit our pit area and get the latest merchandise celebrating our 10 straight championships,” Zappia said.
Latest News History
John Zappia celebrates 23 years of sportsman drag racing this year, grounded in hard work, innovative engineering and wild driving that has earnt him cult status in Australia, and numerous World Records in the process. This week Zap formally announces his move to full time professional drag racing status in Australia due to new agreements […]
John Zappia produced a winning performance in qualifying at the Tin Top’s in tropical Queensland on the weekend, with super consistent runs in all three sessions – only to be beaten by the rain before the first elimination round. The rain persisted, and the event was cancelled by Willowbank staff. “We ran the Whipple/BAE 5 […]
John Zappia – wild man from the west – drove his race of the season today at the Winternationals, defeating Benny Bray in the Final in his Striker Monaro to take out the ANDRA season closer. And he did it with a five second pass! Zap was on a mission to win the Top Doorslammer […]
John Zappia silenced all skeptics at the Perth Motorplex yesterday, when the Striker Top Doorslammer Monaro fronted for a local meeting with their new Striker engine combination, and promptly ran a five second pass after a test run, and first full pass of 6.057. The TFX block, with the latest Randy Anderson heads (never raced […]
John Zappia gained valuable points for the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship at the Westernationals held last weekend at Perth Motorplex in Western Australia, with a Semi-final finish. The Striker Monaro was unable to continue the Semi-final pass against arch rival Garry Phillips, after the clutch failed reversing from his traditional long smoky burnout. “I was […]
THE REVIVAL by Kim Soia – Perth Street Car Magazine Vol 4 No1 1996 (used with permission and copyright applies) The events that followed were a testament to how well liked and popular John Zappia is. Although the Statesman body was ruined, the chassis was only bent in the front half and all the remaining […]
NEW SURPRISES – SERIES II by Kim Soia – Perth Street Car Magazine Vol 4 No1 1996 (used with permission and copyright applies) As mentioned previously, John began planning the Statesman by September of that year. Series II was going to be an all new car, but a continuation of the famous Zap’s Rat theme. […]
The Zappia Chronicles by Kim Soia – Perth Street Car Magazine Vol 4 No1 1996 (used with permission and copyright applies) John Zappia has a long history of crushing his opposition with achievements such as 1990 Drag Racer of the Year, 1995 Top Doorslammer Champion, the World’s first Super Stock car in the sevens, the […]