The Zappia Racing crew traveled to Adelaide last week and attended the ANDRA Championship Dinner before Round 3, and Zap was presented with his Top Doorslammer Championship Gold Christmas Tree for 2015/2016 – his ninth back-to-back championship.
“Many thanks to ANDRA for supporting racers and Group 1, and Snap-on for the vouchers. This Gold Christmas Tree is prestigious and I am so proud of what we have achieved as a team together for this Championship. It means everything to me as a racer and team owner – drag racing is our life. I presented my ANDRA Championship Jacket this year to longtime dedicated crew member Frank Cook, who works so hard for the team”.
Adelaide International Raceway hosted the SA Summer Nationals, which included Round 3 of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship. Four Top Doorslammer teams entered over the 1,000 feet distance. Zappia was back hoping to win the round and improving his chance for another championship, the Fabietti team with Belleri driving nipping at his heals, O’Rourke appearing out of retirement, and the Chapman brothers traveling from Perth in their immaculate Fury.
John Zappia set the pace during the meeting with skillful driving and tuning of the “Crusher” HQ Monaro.
“We were confident we could lead the others based on our previous runs here” said Zappia, “The Fuchs Monaro has the power, and we had good data from previous meetings to go on”.
Qualifying on Saturday saw some wild driving and on-the-edge performances from these monster door cars – the quickest in the nation. The track really challenges drivers, and adds to the already adrenalin pumped driving experience with unpredictable behavior.
“Things can get out of shape pretty quick here with the horsepower we have and the way we launch. Gearing and clutch selection and getting the car balanced for the conditions are critical”.
After three rounds of qualifying over the 1000 ft distance it was the champ Zap on top with a blistering 4.996 @ 205.01 mph in his HQ Monaro, followed by Grant O’Rourke on 5.137 @ 206.23 mph in the all black Pontiac. Mark Belleri was third on 5.175 @ 212.36 mph in the AC Delco Monaro, and Mark Chapman managed a 5.282 @ 211.56 in the Fury.
Unfortunately Mark Chapman smacked the wall, had parachute issues and ended up in the sand damaging his front end. Hopefully it won’t be long until he is back pushing the limits in his Fury.
“First pass the car left hard, rattled on the 2nd gear shift and moved around causing me to pedal and run a 5.04 @ 216 mph. We stepped up the tune for the second run and it left harder but still rattled and a pedaling 4.99 @ 205 mph won us Top Qualifier position. I got disoriented not knowing where the 1,000 feet finish line was, and got off too early on both those runs. The sun had gone down for the third pass and the track temp was down, so on the 1-2 shift the Fuchs Monaro darted left and hit a cone – so I got out of that one. What a wild ride”.
Sunday morning saw rain and blustery winds set in for the day so the meeting was cancelled at 11;00am. 40 points were awarded to all qualifiers, with Zap taking Top Qualifier and Low ET, and Belleri taking Top Speed.
Zappia leads the 2016/2017 ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship on 237 points, with four more rounds to go. Belleri (182 points), O’Rourke (161) and Ben Bray (154) are within striking distance with a lot more racing to decide this year’s champion.
“We are really concentrating on winning this Championship for Fuchs and all our team, sponsors and supporters”.
Next meeting for the team will be the Night of Fire on Boxing Day at the Perth Motorplex, where the Fuchs Monaro will present for some local Top Doorslammer racing. The night will feature 4 Jets, Summer Slam, Freestyle MotoX, fireworks sky show and kids fun zone in the pits.
John Zappia accepts his 2015/2016 ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship Christmas Tree
Photos from Michelle Porobic at Bright Design