Reigning Australian ANDRA Top Doorslammer Champion, John Zappia pulled off the greatest comeback in the history of doorslammer this weekend, to win his sixth consecutive title coming from 42 points behind and winning the Nationals Final. The Australian Nationals was the last and most prestigious event of the extended ANDRA 2012/2013 season held at Sydney Dragway, and the two top contenders Zappia and Kapiris were locked in an emotional battle in the event lead up.
“Coming into the event, it seemed like an impossible assignment – having to win the event, and Peter having to either not qualify or loose in the first round” said a jubilant Zappia, “but we stayed positive and focused, and the fairy tale did come true. The team, sponsors, supporters, friends and fans are all very excited with the result”.
The track proved a little tricky for the eighteen teams attempting to qualify for the top eight, and elapsed times were a little off the pace as most struggled with tyre shake and uneven traction.
“This is our first event win this season, and to do this against my old mate Victor Bray and equal his six straight Championship wins was a highlight. We both pioneered doorslammer racing in this country, and to make that final pass together was historical. It was a fitting matchup as the record of six consecutive wins was achieved against the person holding the record. Our deepest commiserations go to our good mate Peter Kapiris who led the series all year and just fell 19 points short to run a valiant second for the second year in a row”.
Qualifying was run on the Saturday, with good weather conditions for most of the day. On Zap’s first pass in the Fuchs Lubricants / Striker Crushing and Screening Monaro he suffered vicious tyre shake and had to pedal to a 6.002 @ 248.61mph. That put him at No 2 behind Gary Phillips on 5.99.
The Second run saw Zap run an awesome 5.86 @ 250.46mph to secure No 1 position, ahead of Kapiris on 5.90. The last qualifier was slightly quicker with a 5.83 @ 250.74mph that earned him valuable top qualifier points.
“We felt we had a mental advantage over Pete by top qualifying – showing him that we were quickest and he would have to step it up to catch us. As it turned out the Sunday track proved a little trickier than the Saturday track, and we never dipped into the “five eights” again”. “The tension was high on race day, and we watched in amazement as Peter Kapiris shook, pedaled but never recovered against Victor Bray who had a big hole shot advantage with a 0.030 reaction time. I knew we had a chance at the championship right there and then. In our first elimination run, the Crusher with a pedaling 5.951 @ 248.75mph put away Sean Mifsud and his Duster”.
“We put a little more in the motor for round 2 to try and get over this tyre shake, but it did it again and luckily Phillips had the same problem. Our 5.975 @ 248.48mph got us through to the final. Victor got through over Sutton with a hole shot and slower time to set up a repeat of the final in Perth”.
We felt for Peter Kapiris as he watched the final with a camera focused on him, with such tension and trepidation as Zap and Victor lined up. We were in a similar position last year but luckily Robin Judd did us a favour and defeated Peter Kapiris to give us the championship. “Victor got me on the tree, but the Crusher surged ahead until the dreaded tyres started to rattle hard. I thought ‘Not again!’ – so punched second quickly and the car went crazy. I could not see Victor in my peripheral vision and tried to steer the car straight, and run through for a 6.071 @ 246.98mph – not a very good time but considering I had to pedal twice and pull the car away from the wall, I was happy to get the win
“The feeling of jubilation after winning was just amazing. It has been a long and hard season, and to finally get a win and take the ANDRA Gold Christmas Tree home to all our Perth Sponsors and Supporters was priceless”.
“Thank you to Fuchs Lubricants for their Co-naming Rights Sponsorship for the year. We look forward to more racing with their partnership in the coming seasons. Also a big thank you to Striker Crushing and Screening, K Trans WA, Procomp Electronics, Speedmaster, PRG (Process Resource Group), Beta Spuds, Southside Engine Centre, Noonan Race Engineering and PPG because without your support we would not have been able to win our sixth consecutive ANDRA Championship. We would also like to thank our supporting sponsors who all contribute to making Zappia Racing the most successful Top Doorslammer team in Australia. We look forward to your ongoing support”.
“I rang Craig Pedley who was away on Striker business, and let him know that the car he owns and has never driven has just won a fourth consecutive championship. He was rapped”.
“A big thank you to all the crew, management team and supporters who are close to me. We work hard technically, but mentally as well – staying positive and striving for better performance each time we race and having a win makes all the hard work worth it”.
The event will show on national television on SBS Speedweek in the next couple of weeks – check your local guides for details or keep an eye on Zappia Racing on Facebook.
Qualifying Order: ZAPPIA – 71 HQ MONARO 5.831 @ 250.74;KAPIRIS – DODGE SARATOGA 5.906 @ 256.26; FABIETTI – 2006 MONARO 5.932 @ 246.57; DACK – FORD BA 5.936 @ 245.14; PHILLIPS – STUDEBAKER 5.990 @ 242.76; SUTTON – CORVETTE 6.044 @ 242.67; V BRAY – 57 CHEV 6.045 @ 236.59; MIFSUD – 70 DUSTER 6.089 @ 241.67.
Non – Qualifiers: GOONAN – CAMARO 6.101 @ 236.09; MICALI – DUSTER 6.144 @ 215.62; PRIOLO – 37 CHEV 6.145 @ 238.81; B BRAY – MONARO 6.423 @ 176.95; DUPOND – 67 MUSTANG 6.497 @ 213.00; CANNULI – 68 CAMARO 6.574 @ 210.70; WILSON – 65 CORVETTE 6.761 @ 231.32; GRADDEN – SARATOGA 6.844 @ 216.45; BISHOP – 67 CAMARO 6.909 @ 167.45; CARBONE – 68 CAMARO 15.168 @ 30.92.
ROUND 1: ZAPPIA – 71 HQ MONARO 5.951 @ 248.75 DEF MIFSUD – 70 DUSTER 6.074 @ 243.03. PHILLIPS – STUDEBAKER 6.678 @ 167.88 DEF DACK – FORD BA 11.399 @ 75.38. V BRAY – 57 CHEV 6.089 @ 242.45 DEF KAPIRIS – DODGE SARATOGA 6.577 @ 176.60. SUTTON – CORVETTE 6.053 @ 236.17 DEF FABIETTI – 2006 MONARO 6.181 @ 243.19.
SEMI FINAL: ZAPPIA – 71 HQ MONARO 5.975 @ 248.48 DEF PHILLIPS – STUDEBAKER 6.183 @ 239.95. V BRAY – 57 CHEV 6.072 @ 234.49 DEF SUTTON – CORVETTE 6.024 @ 242.93.
FINAL: ZAPPIA – 71 HQ MONARO 6.071 @ 246.98 DEF V BRAY – 57 CHEV 6.204 @ 233.88.