Zappia claims fourth straight Top Doorslammer Championship

The 2011 Winternationals ended with an anti-climax with rain again disrupting racing during the event, in an unprecedented year of natural disasters and heavy rain in the east coast of Australia. The ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorslammer Series qualifying was completely washed out forcing the original qualifying order to be used, and the heavens opened up again on Willowbank International Raceway just prior to the finals – forcing another cancellation.

John Zappia in the Procomp Motorsport Monaro earned enough points after his round one victory to claim his fourth straight Top Doorslammer Championship, despite losing to Mark Belleri in round two.

“We are absolutely thrilled to take out the Championship”, said Zappia, “It’s a great win for Procomp Motorsport who have backed us as Naming Rights sponsors this year, and for Craig Pedley from Striker Crushing and Screening who kindly allowed me to drive his ?Crusher? HQ Monaro race car for the season”.

“We went into the Winternationals with a 53 points lead over Mark Belleri and were quietly confident of getting enough points to win our 4th Championship but the weather gods were not kind to the east coast as has been the story for the majority of this season. We ran an off the trailer pass of 5.914 at 234.78mph to qualify in second place behind an improving Peter Kapiris who ran a 5.859 at 246.44mph”.

“We then stepped up the tune and after several rain delays ran a wheel standing 5.82 which would have placed us top qualifier, but again the rain came down and as the session was not completed. The run was disallowed and the qualifying order was set as per the first qualifying round”.

“We came to the Winternationals Take 2 pretty confident, but the two scheduled qualifiers set out for the Saturday never eventuated as the rain again threw the meeting into confusion. We had made some adjustments to the balance of the car to try and put the power to the ground a little better, but in round one with no prior qualifiers or testing, I just blew the tyres off and was lucky to escape with a win?. Normally the 6.337 at 245.54 mph would not be enough to win an elimination round but luckily Andrew Sutton had wheel standing problems of his own and only ran a 6.358 at 231.83 mph”.

“We backed the car down for Round 2 against Belleri, but the Crusher shook and got out of the groove forcing me to pedal. Not enough for the win, but the crew and I still had huge smiles on our faces after knowing we had the 4th consecutive Championship and Gold Christmas Tree to take home. This time we ran 6.014 at 245.36 mph to Mark Belleri?s 5.915 at 245.27 mph”.

The Winternationals event signals the end to the 2010/2011 racing season for Zappia Racing, who had a mixed season of racing. Two early departures in meetings was uncharacteristic, but a sign of the difficulty of mastering this class of racing. Zappia?s 2010/2011 Championship was built on a solid base of two strong wins and a runner up, enabling a narrow win ahead of Mark Belleri, Maurice Fabietti and Robin Judd.

Season 2011/2012 promises to be even harder as other teams have been showing good form at the end of this season. Teams such as Peter Kapiris, Ben Bray, Russ Pavey and Murray O?Connor as well as the usual consistent performers in Mark Belleri, Maurice Fabietti, Robin Judd and Gary Phillips will make next season a real battle and we will have to be at our best from the opening meeting to continue to be at the top of the Championship standings.


“A big thanks to a very dedicated Zappia Racing Team Crew and supporters. It takes a lot of work and support from a large number of people to run this operation at the top level. I set high goals and our expectations to win are high, but that must be backed up with attention to detail, painstaking research and hard work in the workshop and at the track”.

“The Championship win has been made possible by sponsorship from our Naming Rights Sponsor Procomp Motorsport and Procomp Electronics, and our Major Sponsors. Striker Crushing and Screening who have been extremely supportive with a whole range of financial and logistics support. Fuchs Lubricants Australia stepped up their program with us this year, and their quality oils and lubricants along with financial incentives. K-Trans Racing from Perth were new sponsors this year and a very welcome addition and greatly appreciated. Beta Spuds and Southside Engine Centre are long time local WA sponsors who are very loyal to the team and their support is very important to us. Noonan Race Engineering has been providing excellent engine parts and machining, and PPG supply the paint that gives our cars such great finishes”.

“Those Major Sponsors are joined by a whole list of Supporting Sponsors who tirelessly donate time, resources and supplies to help us achieve our goal of being number one in Top Doorslammer. Our vision and drive are very clear to all around this team, and we have ambitions for next season that will keep all of us on our toes”.

“We believe that both the performance of our cars and the future of Top Doorslammer racing can jump up a level in the seasons to come. We are working hard in the background to achieve both of those, so we can continue to deliver an excellence viewing spectacle for our fans and sponsors”.

“Our venture into eighth mile racing was a success, and we will continue to support the series, and visit regional tracks in Australia”.


Zappia Racing improves chances of 4th consecutive championship.

John Zappia and his Zappia Racing Team proved why they are the National Champions last weekend, when they won the most exciting Final in Top Doorslammer history at the Nitro Champs in Sydney Australia. The win was probably one of John’s best drives this season as he had to overcome a huge wheel stand, tyre shake and after using most of the track also dropped a cylinder a the 1000 foot mark and still managed to take the win.

Facing off against another Australian legend and Former National Champion Peter Kapiris in his new Saratoga and his re-vitalised team, John Zappia lost the reaction race but to the amazement of the crowd launched into a huge tyre shaking wheel stand that took him towards the wall. But in true Zappia fashion he did not back off, but yanked that HQ Monaro back hard – too hard actually as he used up most of the track except the middle, and drove it out the back door to a win barely inches ahead of Kapiris.

“That was probably the best win for a long time” said a jubilant Zappia, “Especially considering our clutch was severely damaged after the semi-final win. We had to repair and rebuild the clutch for the final, and what a crew we have. Jerry is a genius with this clutch, and for him and the boys to get it ready for the final AND give me a setting that was able to inch ahead of the in-form Kapiris was brilliant”. A special thanks to Peter and Jeff for the sportsmanship shown in offering us their spare clutch if we weren’t able to repair our clutch in time to race.

“The win was such a boost to our sponsors Procomp Motorsports, and Fuchs whose management teams were at the event. It gives a real boost for our goal of winning another back to back Championship this year”.

The four day event was affected by rain on days one and two, allowing only one qualifying session on the Saturday night where the Procomp Motorsport Monaro ran a 5.913 @ 244.56 mph to lead the field over Kapiris 5.963 @ 248.39 mph, Fabietti 6.083 @ 214.01 mph and Ben Bray 6.196 @ 233.80 mph.

A meeting between competitors and track and ANDRA officials resulted in a second session being called on the Sunday morning. Zappia fronted and suffered a huge engine explosion as a gudgion pin let go in the engine. A real blessing that the additional run was scheduled for the Sunday morning.

At the close of the second session the eight qualifiers were led by Zappia who picked up Top Qualifier position.

“That was an unexpected part failure really, and caused us to fit a second engine into the car for the first qualifier against fellow West Australian Daniel Gregorini. The Force Tools got a thrashing, but our crew are pretty good at engine changes now and we were ready with time to spare”.

First round saw Zappia 5.833 @ 246.75 mph defeat a strong roots powered Gregorini 6.082 @ 236.05 mph, and pick up Low ET for the meeting – not far off his National Record of 5.805. Other winners were Belleri 5.991 over Fabietti 6.207, Ben Bray 6.046 over Judd 6.242, and Kapiris 5.902 over Abel 6.073.

“With Judd out we knew the next match up against Belerri was a crucial one with Mark running well in the points. Our 5.912 @ 246.75 was too quick for Belleri’s Camaro who ran 6.013 @ 243.90 mph, and meant a final against the inform Peter Kapiris (5.894) who put away Ben Bray (6.107)”.

“We knew this would be a tough race with Peter running back to back “eights” this meeting – and when returning to the pits and finding the clutch damaged it was touch and go to make the final.

The rest is history as Zap’s 5.888 @ 240.25 mph was just enough to beat Kapiris’s 5.922 @ 245.27 mph, and give him enough round points to extend his lead in the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship with 441 points – 53 ahead of Belleri (388), 80 ahead of Fabietti (361), and 103 ahead of Judd (338).

“We came into the event pretty confident after our last two outings, and our momentum was high. This win adds to that, but we are never over confident – this is hard racing and we never take things for granted. Our preparation is probably even more crucial now, and as my good friend Victor Bray says – “It is harder to stay at the top”. So we will go back to basics and do our hard work in preparation, and plan our strategy for the next round at the Winternationals”.

The Zappia Racing Team have travelled to Darwin for the Macmahon Grand Re-Opening of the Hidden Valley Drag Strip presented by 7mate. Hidden Valley has carried out extensive upgrades to their track, and the opening will mark a new chapter in drag racing in Australia.

Drag News Australia will bring live and interactive commentary using their Cover it Live module on the internet for those not able to attend. Join their panel style discussion and share your thoughts on the racing with fellow enthusiasts from 7pm Friday May 13th (CST) and extending through to eliminations on Saturday May 14th from 6pm (CST).

Local Darwin fans are welcome to join Zap in the pits for a chat, watch the crew service Australia’s quickest doored car, and purchase merchandise from the trailer.

“We are pumped for Darwin, and look forward to putting on a good show for the crowd. Nice long smokey burnouts and quick racing will be our priority – and giving the fans value for money”.



Zappia Racing sets track record at Hidden Valley.

John Zappia and his crew from Zappia Racing took the long haul road trip from Sydney to Darwin to compete in the Macmahon Grand Re-Opening of the Hidden Valley Drag Strip presented by 7mate, and had such a good time they vowed to return again.

Affectionately known in Australia as the Top End, Darwin is the smallest and most northerly of the Australian capital cities, and acts as the Top End’s regional centre. Darwin has grown from a pioneer outpost and small port into one of Australia’s most modern and multicultural cities.

“We had the best time up here? said John Zappia, “The hospitality, huge crowds and enthusiasm of the fans just made the event very special to us. To also go away with the new track record, and win for the event was a bonus to us. We will be back for sure!”

Friday night qualifying saw Zap sit out the first session to observe the track, but top qualify in the Procomp Motorsport Monaro with a 5.936 second pass at 238.72mph in the second session ? the first ever five second pass in the tracks 26 year history in front of approx 2500 spectators.

“The first run was encouraging, so we hotted the Rat up for the final session of qualifying, but the car overpowered the track causing me to pedal, and drive it out for a 6.11 @ 240mph ? fast enough though to reset the track speed record with the mph”.

Zap drew a solo in Round 1, but overpowered the track for a 6.389 at 223mph, then defeated fellow West Aussie Marty Dack in round 2 with a 5.992 at a lazy 199.67mph. With the track being so new it became extremely slippery at the top end and Zap had to pull the chutes early to straighten the car which was going sideways through the finish line. It was another typical Zap drive.

The final saw a re-run of the recent Nitro Champs final, with Zap running Kapiris in his Saratoga. It was Zappia who took the win with a track record 5.909 @ 238.17mph to Kapiris not far behind with a 6.051 @ 231.28mph. The Saturday night crowd of approx 6000 people really got their money?s worth with two five second passes in the one night. Peter was disappointed we couldn?t give the crowd the first side by side 5 second pass.

“A big thankyou to all the people in Darwin who really made the team feel welcome. Scott McClean and Matt Abel made a special effort to accommodate us in their workshop, and assist us during our stay. A special thanks to Haley for giving up her home to let some of the crew stay there, and for being our reverse gear”.

The travelling team headed off to Queensland for preparation for the final event in Zappia Racing?s East Coast Tour for 2011 ? the Winternationals to be held at Willowbank from the 10th to the 13th June. Crew are assembling the engine and cylinder heads repaired by Noonan Race Engineering, and spares ordered for the next event.

This year’s championship could again go down to the wire but hopefully the Team can do enough to stay ahead of the pack and win a 4th straight championship.

“We look forward to seeing as many sponsors, supporters and fans at Willowbank for what promises to be an exciting event to finish the 2010-2011 season”.


Hidden Valley sees first five second Doorslammer pass

Territory drag racing fans got a sight they have never witnessed in the 26 year history of Hidden Valley Drag Strip, the first ever five second Top Doorslammer pass at the Macmahon Grand Re-Opening presented by 7mate.

The night started with most teams playing it safe as they tried out the new Hidden Valley surface for the first time.

NSW based Ivan Skaramuca was leading the Doorslammer qualifying field with a 6.781 second pass at 189.36mph, followed by Martyn Dack with a 7.464 at 137mph. Unfortunately the Territory teams of Matt Abel and Scott MacLean did not feature in the top half of the field. MacLean left early after damaging the rear end to ensure it would be prepared for Saturday night’s racing.

With temperatures dropping to 17 degrees the teams decided to give the Hidden Valley crowd a bit of excitement during the second qualifying session.

Six teams were to reset the quickest pass for the night in quick succession as Kapiris, Dack, Skaramuca, Melenewycz all ran sub 6.6 second passes, a number that was previously the quickest pass recorded at Hidden Valley until recent upgrades in 2010/2011.

But it was John Zappia that had their crowd on their feet with his first and only pass of the night. Running a solo pass Zappia smashed the quickest and fastest pass ever run at Hidden Valley, stopping with a 5.936 second pass at 238.72mph, 0.131 seconds off the current National Record.

“Now we know what the track can hold we’ll see what we can do on Saturday,” said Zappia briefly on Friday night.

With five of the teams in the Doorslammer field having run 5 second passes across Australia the racing is going to be increased on Saturday as everyone is going to be out chasing Zappia’s top qualifying position. Zappia will sure be out to back up his first attempt to secure the official track record.

In other brackets Bronte Henning top qualified in the Outlaw class with a 7.409 at 181mph, while Brad Baker top qualified in Super Sedan with a 8.942 at 148mph. Modified Bike saw Colin Sainsbury in teh top qualifying position with a 10.306 while Mike Lockhart holds the top speed with a 135mph. Super Street has Chris Surin in the top qualifying position after two other teams, including Chris Tsakrios ran under the class limit of 11.00 seconds. Bob Czerniawski leads the Street car class while South Australian Dave Tattingham is leading the Street Bike qualifying order.

One final qualifying round commences at 4pm Saturday with the official opening at 6pm.

Remember to follow the live updates right here on Drag News.

Picture courtesy Matthew Kemp, Epic Moments2011_darwin_14 2011_darwin_13 2011_darwin_11 2011_darwin_10 2011_darwin_09 2011_darwin_08_top 2011_darwin_07 2011_darwin_06 2011_darwin_05 2011_darwin_04 2011_darwin_03 2011_darwin_02 2011_darwin_01



Zap back on top

John Zappia showed why he is the three times and current Top Doorslammer Champion at the 40th Westernationals, by digging deep and getting back up to his high standard of performance after an average start to the season, and dominating the meeting.

Driving the Procomp Motorsport “Crusher” HQ Monaro, John Zappia top qualified on the Saturday night, won the event, and gained the Low ET and fastest MPH points to jump three spots and lead the Championship.

“This was one of the best meetings for a while” said an elated John Zappia during celebrations “Feels really good to be back in the five eight zone and at the top of the field again. Not that we were working any less during the last six months, it just shows how hard this form of racing is and it’s very easy to get lost with the hundreds of variables to consider”.

In a stunning weekend of Top Doorslammer racing in perfect Perth weather, the large local crowd was thrilled with both qualifying racing on the Saturday night, and with eliminations on Sunday.

Qualifying for the Zappia Racing Team started with a 6.007 @ 240.64mph off the trailer that shook the tyres on the sticky Perth Motorplex track causing Zap to pedal. The run still put him at No 1 spot after session one.

The next run of 5.821 @ 245.90mph thrilled the crowd as the Procomp Motorsport Monaro hooked up the rear Hoosier slicks and carried the front wheels off the ground all the way through first and again in second gear. The run consolidated Zap at the top qualifying position and he was presented with the Pro Auto $1000 bonus prize from Greg Carter.

The third pass again got out of the groove and required a pedal but still managed a 5.952 @ 245.23mph.

The eight drivers in order – Zappia, Fabietti, Abel, DeFelice, Belleri, Judd, Gregorini and Dack forced their way past the remaining eleven in the field, with a 6.061 bump spot setting the lowest bump spot in Top Doorslammer history.

“After measuring the track with our Track Meter we made some adjustments and took on local driver Marty Dack and won with a short shifting 5.857″. The track at the Perth Motorplex has been prepared extremely well at the last two meetings, thanks to all the track staff for their efforts.

Other winners in round one were Belleri 5.989 over DeFelice 6.243, Fabietti 5.924 over Gregorini’s no start and Judd 5.944 over Abel 6.044.

“I said to the crew that this next run would be a season changing run. We had drawn Belleri who was leading the points, and we had to beat him to stand a chance of winning a fourth Championship. We fine tuned the car and I drove a little better for a quick 5.807 @ 246.57mph pass that has turned our season around”.

Fabietti disposed of Judd in the other semi final with a 6.073 @ 243.90mph pass while Judd ended up crossing the centerline after tyre shake.

The Perth Motorplex was buzzing by the time finals time came around. Local hero John Zappia describes his win – “The car launched hard but went right and started to get out of the groove. I over corrected and ended up left and out of the groove which washed off some time. But it was all over for Maurice Fabietti after he had gearbox troubles in the other lane. We still went 5.827 @ 247.93mph which is impressive for the team as it was the Crusher’s fastest top speed ever, overtaking the best speed in my car – Zap’s Rat”.

“After having all the engine parts machined at Southside Engine Centre and protected by Fuchs Lubricants we raced all six runs with little maintenance and only mandatory engine checks”.

“The win was great for all our Sponsors, and newcomers K-Trans Racing and Alltools. It was great to see so many of our Sponsors in Perth for this event including Ken from Procomp who made the trip from Sydney, Craig Pedley from Striker who made the trip from Malaysia and Chris Lane from Striker who traveled from Brisbane.

ONE HD coverage of the ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorslammer Westernationals will be on Friday 18th March at 7pm Western Standard Time (Perth Time). Check your local guides.

Zap and the team head east to Sydney for Round 6 at Western Sydney Dragway on the 18th and 19th March.


Runner-up for Zap at Goldenstates

Reigning Australian Champion John Zappia gained valuable points in the ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorslammer Championship at the Goldenstates last weekend with a strong runner-up result in the Procomp Motorsport Monaro owned by Striker boss Craig Pedley.

In what turned out to be an eventful meeting, Zappia lost the rain delayed final to Mark Belleri in the Camaro after experiencing tyre shake and having to pedal. Congratulations to Mark on his first win in Top Doorslammer competition.

“It was touch and go with the running of the final due to a heavy downpour,” said Zappia, “and I was very reluctant to run given the conditions, but credit goes to the Perth Motorplex track crew for their persistence in cleaning and drying up the track. The ANDRA Stewards and Motorplex management gave the all clear, so we presented the Procomp Motorsport “Crusher” for racing . It was good to get a result both for the points and for the One HD television coverage, but I ended up hurting another engine and losing the race.”

A record twenty two cars entered for the event, all competing for eight positions in the field but was reduced to 21 after Victor Bray withdraw with illness. Friday nights qualifying was in cool weather and an increasingly cool track as the night went on. Only 24 of the 57 passes attempted by the 21 cars qualifying were representative passes as the cars struggled with the track conditions. Four local Perth racers made their debut in Top Doorslammer, joining the other seven West Australians taking on competitors from the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

John Zappia managed a 5.924 @ 243.24mph off the trailer, a pedaling 6.330 @ 234.98mph,and blew the tyres off in the final pass to end up second top qualifier behind Robin Judd on 5.845, and ahead of Fabietti 5.969, Belleri 5.994, Phillips 6.097, Ben Bray 6.112, Bishop 6.145 and first time qualifier Gregorini 6.157 on the bump.

“We had a soft tune up in it for the 5.924 to get in the field, then stepped it up for the second run but had shake and had to pedal. The crew swung the Force Tools hard and did a fantastic job changing a melted piston between runs, and by the time the last qualifier came around the air had improved and with the track cooling the car just blew the tyres off on the hit in the final qualifier. Overall we were happy with the result, as we are still trying new things to improve the overall performance in the car.

First round match up for Zap was up against Bishop in the Camaro, who blew the burst panel on the hit giving the win to the Zappia Racing Team with a 6.022 @ 238.09mph . Other winners were Gregorini 6.140 over Judd 6.115, and Belleri 5.998 over Phillips 6.694.

“We went back to the safer tune for this eliminator, but the track was different with more humidity and the car ended up a little lazy. The crew were under pressure again after it was decided to run another spare engine combo, but they got it in and poured the Fuchs oil in just in time for me to start the big hemi and warm it all up, and get to the staging lanes”.

The Semi Final saw Zap take on Fabietti, and take the win with a 6.007 @ 239.36mph over Fab’s 6.170 @ 234.37mph. Belleri (6.009) put Gregorini (6.442) away in the other semi to set up a thriller final.

“We turned the car around and were sitting in the staging lanes at 10pm when out of the blue the rain hit. It rained hard for five minutes and we were close to the event curfew time, when the decision was made to attempt a clean up. I have never seen so many vehicles and officials on the track heating, rubbing, mopping and wiping up! We had an in depth discussion with ANDRA Stewards about splitting the points and prize money when the track was given the all clear, and we were obliged to run.

“Unfortunately the track condition was totally different after all that washing and cleaning, and the Procomp Motorsport Monaro shook hard and I had to pedal – our 6.299 @ 221.67mph was unable to catch Belleri’s 6.109 @ 235.60mph. Overall we were happy with the result considering our times are a little off our normal five eights. We will be back to those performances for Round Three at Willowbank I can assure fans”.

The results for the weekends racing has made the Championship interesting after Belleri now leading on 227 points behind Judd (200), Fabietti (186),Zappia (151), and Phillips (132). The Championship race is very alive with 5 rounds to go and it could end up with another cliff hanger that could decide the Champion in the final race – as was the case last season.

Fans can now shop online at the new Zappia Racing Web Store to purchase the range of merchandise normally available at the track. Staff will be adding a large range of products from exclusive suppliers B & J Racing Transmissions, Santhuff Shocks, and Procomp and Zap will be listing a range of his second hand race parts as they become available. International fans can now purchase our Australian merchandise on a secure professional web store.

Goldenstates lead up for Zappia Racing

Current Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia has presented Craig Pedley’s “Crusher” Procomp Monaro for local racing at the Perth Motorplex in the team’s lead up to Round 2 of the ANDRA Pro Series Championship at the Goldenstates.

Perth is the blown alcohol capital of Australia, with the Top Comp class highly competitive with the need to run on the National Record or below to stand a chance of winning.

The Grand Opening meeting saw near perfect weather conditions for making huge power – cool temperatures, low humidity and low corrected altitude – and the famous Fremantle Doctor westerly wind bringing fresh oxygen rich air off the Indian Ocean.

“Our first pass off the trailer was a 5.828 @ 245.23mph”, said John Zappia, “but then the air came around and we overpowered the track on the next run. The 82 was good enough for fifth position in qualifying going 0.572 under the 6.4 index. Unfortunately we had too much power to match the track on that particular day and progressed no further in competition”.

Three members of the team then traveled to Las Vegas for the SEMA Show, where they spent time with sponsors B & J Transmissions and Procomp Motorsport, and attended several drag meetings.

“We were with the Strasburg Top Fuel Team sponsored by Procomp at the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals, and saw Team Rapisarda do really well there, and then went to the NHRA Finals at Pomona, California, before heading back to Perth to prepare for the second meeting”.

The Top Fuel Match race meeting held last weekend at the Perth Motorplex saw completely different weather conditions in Perth – with high temps, high corrected altitude and high humidity.

“We reconfigured the Crusher Monaro to better handle the massive power we are making, and to better equip the car to run five sevens in the future, so we had the setup a little soft just to watch the way it ran down the track and test new components”.

“The first pass was a 6.110 @ 229.00mph, the second a 6.116 @ 236.84 mph as we slowly fed in power to the new setup. That put us eighth in the qualifying list and up against Weston in round one. The Crusher damaged a slick on the run, and with a pedal still managed a 6.079 @ 236.22mph for the loss”.

“I was pretty happy with my reaction times on the day, going 0.004 on that last run. It may seem that we went slow on the weekend, but we have a long history of undergoing development programs that at first seem to be going backwards, but then produce longer term winning results. We broke the world record by going first into the fives by doing that – and we want to jump into the five sevens to keep leading the field in Top Doorslammer”

“It was great to see Craig Pedley from Striker Crushing and Screening get down to the track to see his car in action, but unfortunately we weren’t able to do something special for him. We are looking at the big picture and that is winning as many of the Championship rounds as possible and hopefully win our 4th consecutive championship and 2nd in the Crusher”.

“The 39th Annual Goldenstates is on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th December at the Perth Motorplex and we hope to see as many of our fans and supporters as possible to cheer us on and to check out some of the new merchandise”.