John Zappia took his newly repaired Striker Monaro to the final of Round 2 of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Pro Series at the Fuchs Nationals last weekend, and in one of the quickest side by side passes in history Robin Judd pipped Zap on the finish line to take the win.
“We are just thrilled to have done so well at this event” said a cheerful Zap after the event, “To make runner up at this event after rebuilding the car and missing out on any testing opportunities, is a good achievement. I lost that final against Juddy with a slow reaction time, and his 5.857 to our 5.870 was as close a Top Doorslammer final as you could get.”
“We are now equal leaders in the Pro Series with Juddy, and are just so glad we have a complete race car in great shape for the next round. We really did not lean on the engine this meeting, as we concentrated on getting the Striker Monaro down the track a little straighter with adjustments to the suspension. The engine was bullet proof all weekend and our maintenance was light, enabling the crew to really enjoy the weekend.”
Friday night qualifying ended up getting cancelled due to scheduling, so the Zappia Racing Team were behind the eight ball after also missing out on testing in Perth due to bad weather the week before. The Striker Monaro had not turned a tyre since the rebuild, but with a nice safe tune and clutch setup Zap managed a very straight 5.996 @ 240.0 mph that took the pressure off the team.
“We were glad to get that pass out of the way, and step the car up to match the top runners in the field. Second qualifying pass the car launched to the right and I short shifted to get it to correct but it stayed close to the wall and it took a heave on the wheel to get it back in the groove and out the back door for a reasonable 5.941 @ 240.8 mph. Third pass was a right off on a cold track, as we made an error in reversing the car outside the tyre marks from the burnout, and consequently launched savagely to the left. With memories of the accident a few weeks ago, I got out of that run pretty quickly and settled for third in the qualifying order”.
First round match-ups saw Zap up against Bishop in his Camaro – who had qualified sixth with his first five second pass. But it was Zap who took the win with a steady 5.955 @ 240.6 mph over Bishops 6.036 @ 240.8 mph. Other winners were Judd 5.874 over Victor Bray 6.105, Ben Bray 6.000 over Kapiris 11.523, and Brijeski 6.155 knocked out Championship leader Fabietti 10.722.
“Deno Brijeski is a dangerous opponent – he has gone very quick in this car into the fives, so I had to step the Rat up a little for Round 2 and to keep up with Judd, so our 5.916 @ 243.1 mph over Deno’s aborted 8.672 was a step in the right direction. Judd disposed of Bray with a 5.951 @ 244.9 to the Monaro’s 6.074 @ 243.5. So it was another final up against fellow West Aussie Robin Judd. I knew he had the edge having run two 5.8′s so far, so I hotted up the Striker Monaro for a 5.8 pass”
The final was filled with suspense as there had been several upsets at the meeting so far in the Pro Series, and the two leaders of Top Doorslammer in Australia faced off against each other. But it was Judd who finally got the win that has been eluding him for years, with a 5.857 @ 245.6 mph to Zap’s 5.875 @ 243.4 -the quickest side by side pass in history that had the crowd on their feet and applauding in stunned amazement.
“How’s that for exciting drag racing! That pass was the culmination of a lot of blood sweat and tears, and intense thought for both teams over the last few years. I am proud of both of us, as we have taken the bracket to a new level of competition, and the other competitors are not far behind. So far this year we have had 2 events where the top 6 qualifiers have been in the 5.9’s and we will soon see a qualifying bump spot of all 8 qualifiers below the 6.0 mark. The rest of the season should be exciting to say the least.”
“A special thanks to all the people that have helped to get the Rat back on track either with materials, advice or personal help. It was a fantastic turnaround time and to have it able to perform like it did off the trailer was a credit to everyone involved.”
Round Three of the Top Doorslammer Pro Series is on 13th/14th Nov with the Goldenstate Titles at the Perth Motorplex, WA. Zappia Racing now head back West for further testing, and the Pro Stock Championship Season Opener at the Perth Motorplex on 31st October.
Fans can see the Fuchs Australian Nationals – Top Doorslammer coverage in high definition digital on OneHD Monday, October 5 (8:30pm east Coast – 6:30pm West Coast) – see your local guides for details. The show is repeated on One HD Prime Time Rewind – Sunday, October 11 (1:30pm East Coast – 11:30am West Coast).
Zap Returns with Confidence
John Zappia is in Sydney this week fired up and ready to take on stiff competition in Round 2 of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Pro Series Championship at the Fuchs Nationals. The National Champ has rebuilt his Striker Monaro after a horrific accident in the Final of Round 1 at Willowbank, which captured the nation’s interest on television.
But as the old saying goes “opportunity and crisis are on the same wind” and the Zappia Racing Team have responded to the crash with a stunning turnaround to have the same car ready to present for competition this weekend, and found new opportunities for improvement during the rebuild.
“I am pumped coming into this event”, said Zap this week, “We have worked very hard not only to rebuild the Striker Monaro, but to improve it in so many areas that we would not normally attempt. Clyde Carstairs and I were able to redesign certain parts of the chassis, and do a very accurate dimension checks that found room for modifications”.
“I think the improvements will make for a better race car, with better geometry and weight distribution. It might help with those huge wheel stands we have been doing lately”.
“A big thanks to Santuff who supplied their latest design front struts and rear shocks just in time for the car to go back on its wheels. The rear wheels are the latest one piece design from Mickey Thompson that add strength and will contribute towards preventing wheel failures.”
“All our sponsors and supporters have been right behind the rebuild, and the crew has been amazing with their efforts. We are proud to be representing Fuchs at their naming rights premier event this meeting. We are a winning team, and winning gives us all extra motivation to go the extra mile and work hard towards continuing the momentum”.
Victory1 have joined the Zappia Racing Supporting Sponsor group, with supply of their titanium valves for the 3,500 horsepower Hemi V8. Combined with the new head work being completed by Noonan Race Engineering, Zap is still finding more horsepower from these blown alky monster engines.
“Our consistency is still our biggest asset in Top Doorslammer and we have the runs on the board for that. Every team has to find the combo that makes their car go quick, then hold that at a consistent level at different tracks and in different weather and track conditions. A crew Chief has to be able to select a 5.9 tune from the data, and go and run that exact number. There are no shortcuts to achieving this, and to have component reliability is the final piece of the puzzle”.
“We are very confident we can do well in this event, and gain enough points in the Pro Series to contribute towards another Championship. Fans can be assured I will not be hanging back, and some exciting Top Doorslammer action can be assured at the track and on OneHD television”.
Racing will begin on Friday 11th Sept were seventeen Top Doorslammer cars will complete their first qualifier at 7pm EST.
The teams will get an overnight break, and then complete qualifier two on Saturday at 2.30pm EST, a third qualifier at 5pm EST, and the final qualifier at 7.30pm EST.
Elimination racing starts on Sunday 13th with round one at 1.15pm EST, round two at 3pm EST, and the final at 5.13pm EST.