John Zappia has taken out his second Summer Slam event of the season at Perth Motorplex, striking back from a horror Sydney trip.
Zappia had his spare motor in the Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro for his home track after breaking the crankshaft of his main engine at the Santo’s Summer Thunder event last month. With virtually identical parts there was no shortage of Noonan horsepower on board.
“The Sydney deal saw a broken crankshaft do a fair bit of damage,” Zappia said. “The vibrations broke and shook loose a lot of parts around the engine area. The Zappia Racing crew did a great job of rebuilding the car and getting it into tip top shape.
“We had a new Aeromotive fuel pump aboard, a fresh Boninfante clutch from the USA Noonan Camaro, our spare motor and spare blower.”
The first step during Nitro Night was qualifying and the team approached the first session with a safe tune up with so many forced changes to their normal setup.
“We had a lot of stuff that was different in the car so we started off safe and rich,” Zappia said. “It was a bit weak on the first one and it rattled the tyres. We pedalled for a 5.87 with an early shut off, because it was really windy and we were gun shy about releasing the chutes into the headwind.”
Zappia and his expert team fine tuned the motor for the second qualifying session and found improvement.
“We trimmed it up a bit and it went a 5.83 in the compulsory qualifier, which qualified us second behind Daniel Gregorini’s 5.78 personal best,” he said.
Eliminations beckoned, where Zappia took on Frank Taylor’s Chevelle.
“We stepped it up and found some more performance after finding some things in the pits that were slightly out from where we would normally run them,” Zappia said.
“Frank got a little jump on me at the start line but we clawed it back and ran a 5.73 at 255mph into a stiff headwind – we were very happy with that speed given the conditions. But again, like every pass before, it was rattling the tyres and needed a small pedal.”
The win saw Zappia into the final of his second Summer Slam event of the season, where he would face top qualifier Gregorini.
“We had lane choice by five hundredths of a second and in our preferred left lane we were hoping to be back in the five sixties,” Zappia said.
“The car left hard with the wheels up and it barely went into tyre shake. I still gave it a small pedal and we went through for a 5.70/256mph, which is the quickest we have run while pedalling. Considering our quickest pass at Perth Motorplex is a 5.66 it goes to show the Noonan power we have on board right now.”
Unfortunately Gregorini received a red light on the start line, denying what would have been an entertaining final round.
Zappia will be back at Perth Motorplex in just over a week for round six of the WA Drag Racing Championships where he will compete in Top Comp.
“We have good speed at the moment so hopefully we have an event without a headwind and we can really see what the Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro will do,” he said.
“It was a relief that the motor was in excellent condition at the end of the Nitro Night on the weekend. We will see if we can tune the last of the tyre shake out of this thing and make some full runs in the 5.6s.”
Photo: Jay Treasure