John Zappia keeps a healthy lead in the 2008 ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship after a semi-final finish at the Chill Westernationals held at the Perth Motorplex last weekend. The meeting was Round 5 of the Championship, with two more events to run at Willowbank International Raceway – and Zap maintains a lead of 143 points over Brett Stevens.
In an eventful meeting for Zappia Racing, the Striker Monaro Top Doorslammer turned into a handful for local hero Zap to drive, as he turned up the power on the tuning side. First pass off the trailer on Saturday night qualifying was a wild ride over the centerline to record a 5.98 second pass at 236.80mph that sent the huge crowd cheering. Crossing the centerline is an automatic disqualification, so Zap was faced with two more chances to get into the field.
“We learnt a lot at the Summernationals in Sydney, and were keen to up the power on the car for this meeting” said Zap, “Four five second passes in a row is a great achievement, but we believe the car has a 5.8 in it – but each level of power requires delicate chassis tuning to get the car to run straight”.
Second pass turned the right tyre off the start line sending the car hard right off the line, putting the pressure on Zap to get the last pass right. The atmosphere was tense at the “Plex” as Zap and Phillips staged. Out of the blocks the Striker Monaro headed right again, but some excellent driving by Zap turned the car back into the groove without a pedal and charged through for a 6.028 second pass that just had the crowd wild – a gutsy tune and driving effort from John Zappia.
Overnight the TFX engine suffered some minor damage, and “Old Faithful” – the original 5 second Walt Austin Hemi with Whipple blower – was put in the car for eliminations. “We softened the tune up for the first round, as our car was struggling to put the power down on the track.”
First Elimination pass out was against legend Victor Bray in the 57 Chev, who had qualified 7th with a 6.182. Victor red lighted and went straight into shake and the 7.229 was no match for Zap’s pedaling 6.215et @ 233.16mph pass.
“Second round we knew we had to hot up the Walt, as Benny Bray was turning out some good low six second passes. I staged and the car headed right on the hit, so I pedaled three times to get the car to behave to no avail. I was able to turn the car away from the wall with some header sparks and track debris flying, and was still level with Benny when I accidentally hit top gear on the steering wheel way too early causing the car to bog slightly and slip through behind Benny’s 6.099 run.”
“The event was a stunner for Top Doorslammer, with a 6.184 bump spot, and some unpredictable performances from many – including ourselves, making the bracket exciting for the fans.”
The 90 points earned over the weekend topped up Zap’s lead to 518 points, with event winner Brett Stevens passing the non-qualifying Stanic into second place with 375 points.
“We are confident of our position in the championship, and look forward to some testing here at the “Plex” before heading to the Tin Tops, and Winternationals at Willowbank. I will now make the changes required to go to the next level with the car, and keep ahead of the competition.”
Zap leads in the battle of the Doorslammers
John Zappia is using his home track knowledge as a weapon against 11 other Top Doorslammers competing in the 37th Chill Westernationals this weekend at the Perth Motorplex. The event is Round 5 of the ANDRA Australian Top Doorslammer Championship and the Striker Monaro is in top form, after running three consecutive five second passes to finish runner-up at the recent Summernationals at Western Sydney International Dragway.
Zap leads the current Championship by 143 points with three rounds to go, and his Zappia Racing Team is keen to stay on top and secure the Championship for the season.
“Our plan is on track for this weekend after a great Summernationals”, said Zap this week in Perth, “Finally the HQ Monaro is five second reliable, and we learnt a lot about how to make it even quicker over the week in Sydney. Several teams broke through into the fives, but no other team has done it consistently on all three major tracks yet”.
“We would count the Perth track as a definite advantage for us, having done so many passes in competition testing at local National Open events. I expect some great Doorslammer racing this weekend, as more and more teams are making the necessary incremental changes to make the jump to the level we have set”.
“Make no mistake – these 3,000 horsepower machines are very difficult to get right – we are balancing hundreds of variables to get everything all working right. Local Perth fans saw first hand what happens when a variable is not right – our recent clutch testing turned our super reliable car into an uncontrollable animal”.
“We draw deeply on our twenty years of racing history, with nitro and alky guru Graham Jones from Southside Engine Centre guiding the Zappia Racing crew on race day. We now have a mix of very experienced crewmembers, and new crew being trained for the second Striker Top Doorslammer due to come online next season. The new car is our own creation, with all the modifications developed in Zap’s Rat included, with new technology incorporated throughout”.
Top Doorslammer racing will commence on Saturday with qualifying runs at 6pm, 8pm and 10pm – twelve teams battling it out to secure one of the eight positions for eliminations. Elimination racing commences on Sunday at 6pm, with the semi-final at 8pm, and the final at 10pm.
All sponsors and fans are welcome to come down to the tent and talk to John and the crew and see all the pit action.
Zappia Racing stays in Perth for two more local rounds of racing on 15th March, and 5th April before heading east for the Tin Tops at Willowbank on 19th April; 2-3rd May for the Nitro Champs in Sydney; and back to Willowbank on 6th – 8th June for the Winternationals.