The Westernationals has been run here in the West last weekend, where two rounds of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship were staged in the one event. Changing to a three round format proved popular with the local crowd with big numbers attending the event. Reigning Champion John Zappia gained valuable championship points with his teamÕs performance with a B Final win and top ET and MPH in Round 2.
"We were thousands off doing really well," said Zappia, "but overall we are happy with the progress on our new package with new NRE X1 heads. Our 5.797 pass was our first "seven" in Perth, and reset the track record"
Round one qualifying was dramatic for Zappia and the Fuchs Lubricants/Striker Crushing and Screening Monaro, as he rattled the tyres on launch causing the car to head right towards the wall.
"I pedaled and hit second gear and the car powered back up against the wall Š scraping the headers and door pretty bad. The crew managed to put a door from Zap's Rat on Craig Pedley's Crusher and head out for the first eliminator against Sutton".
A pedaling 5.957 @ 249.3mph was enough for Zap to defeat the Corvette's 6.423 @ 231.95mph, but missed out on an A Final by 0.005 seconds. The match up against O'Rourke in his Pontiac in the B Final was a chance for revenge as Grant has had a couple of wins over Zap lately.
"We were just about right with our tuning on the new combo, and I was confident the car would hook up, and it certainly did. A 5.797 @ 250.69mph dead straight and hitting all my shift points was a great win over Grant's 7.533".
Kapiris was winner of Round 2 with a win over mark Belleri. Round 3 on the Sunday saw a great qualifier by Zap to gain Top Qualifier position with a 5.863 @ 251.39mph. This also gave us top points for ET and MPH for the second night running.
"I probably short shifted a little on that run, but the mph gained us Top Speed points for the meeting. That put us up against our rival Peter Kapiris in the Saratoga in the qualifier - our first pairing since last years championship tussle. I was looking forward to the race, but he got me on a brilliant hole shot!"
Kapiris won the race with a slower 6.139 @ 241.28mph to Zap's 6.036 @ 247.93mph thanks to a super sharp 0.084 light to 0.196.
"We both had to pedal on that run and I lost by 0.009 seconds for a finals berth. Congratulations to Daniel Gregorini who took the round win - his first in Top Doorslammer".
Points standing after Round three sees Stuart Bishop leading with 165 points, followed by Pino Prioli on 157 and Zappia on 138.
"We are happy with the points and our standing in the championship at this stage of the championship. We have got a better start than in previous years and hope to gradually work our way up the points table. The owner of the Crusher and Managing Director of Striker Screening and Crushing Craig Pedley was at the meeting and was very happy with how we are going. His staff and clients in the corporate box got to see his car running quick times and getting the B Final win".
Zappia Racing head to Calder Park in Victoria for Round 4 on April 4 - 5, then on to Sydney for Round 5 at the Nitro Champs in May.
This weekends ANDRA Top Doorslammer Rounds 2 and 3 at the Westernationals in Perth will be very hot - both in temperature and competition, and the champ John Zappia is ready to give it all.
With forecast temperatures of 37 C (98 F) on Saturday, and 35 C (96 F) on Sunday the twenty Top Doorslammers will have to be on their game to master the tricky Perth Motorplex track in the new Three Round Format.
"We are very confident here at Zappia Racing" said a cool Zappia yesterday at the track, "We tested today with some new parts and managed some good results in the areas we were concentrating on".
"First pass got out quick but shook and I aborted. Second pass again got out quick to 60 feet, but again shook. I pedaled it and wrenched it back off the wall and ran it through for a 6.10 @ 242mph using up a fair bit of the track".
"We know this track well and it can be very tricky with the power levels we have in these Slammers using suspension rear ends. The track conditions can change from day to day, so the challenge for us and all other racers is to get a handle on the track and weather conditions as quickly as possible as we only have one qualifier then straight to Eliminations with the four fastest winners going into the "A" and "B" Finals".
"We need to get the power in the Fuchs Lubricants/Striker Crushing and Screening Monaro to the ground, and as seen in the Pro Showdown, if you're not at the top of your setup there could be upsets.
ANDRA Series Round 2 racing starts this Saturday with qualifying at 5.30, elimination round at 7.30, and finals at 9.50pm. Sunday's ANDRA series Round 3 racing has the same time slots. Two rounds of the ANDRA Pro Series on the same weekend!
We hope to see as many of our Sponsors and supporters at the track to cheers us on and to check out the new season merchandise.
Zappia Sets Top Speed at the Top Doorslammer Pro Showdown
Reigning ANDRA Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia qualified second fastest with a 5.928 and set top speed of 249.3 mph in the 19 car field at the Pro Showdown opening meeting of the 2014 ANDRA Top Doorslammer Bracket at the Perth Motorplex.
The conditions were tricky, with high humidity and a difficult track that seemed to stump crew chiefs and their tuning selections. Underdogs prevailed at the meeting that really should revitalise and encourage the growing number of teams.
"We had an interesting meeting to say the least" said a remarkably calm John Zappia after the event, "A few small component failures stopped our progress through eliminations. But we are upbeat - last year we failed to qualify for the first meeting, so we are better positioned if you look at it positively".
The event was won by Queensland racer Stuart Bishop in his auto Camaro, ahead of local racer Pino Priolo in his 37 Chev Coupe.
"I always though Bishop had great potential - he is the leader in the auto cars, and has put out five eights in the past. Reliability was his hurdle, and they have overcome that this meeting. It was good to see Pino do well - he has plugged away consistently with his car over the years and is a worthy runner-up".
Qualifying on the Friday saw Zap sneak into second spot with a 5.928 @ 249.30mph, after a pedaling 6.025 @ 247.25, and a second gear launch 6.304 @ 244.56mph. Top spot was claimed by Murray O'Conner in his XM Falcon with a 5.908 and the bump ended up being 6.013, with all but one team in the fives.
"I had trouble with the air system to the gearbox and my shifting mechanism. It is an in-house CNC designed component, and for some reason the super reliable part played up - both in qualifying and again in the first elimination".
Round one on Saturday saw Zappia's Fuchs Lubricants / Striker Crushing and Screening Monaro matched up against Grant O'Rourke's Pontiac Firebird. These two are long time sparring partners, with battles in Zap's original Zap's Rat HQ and Grant's AA/G Torana entertaining crowds at Ravenswood and Kwinana.
"I was out first but went to hit second gear on my steering wheel and nothing happened. The poor old hemi hit the limiter and after bashing the shifter with my left had it finally changed into third gear and got going. But it was all over with Grant running a credible 5.992 @ 242.58mph to my 6.141 @ 241.93mph".
Other winners for round one were Dack 6.442 over Fabietti 22.086; Bishop 6.029 over Belleri 10.057; and Priolo 6.095 over O'Connor 7.639.
"You can tell by the results that most teams had trouble putting the power to the ground. O'Connor's quickest ET was 5.908 and my fastest speed of 249.30mph were both in qualifying. Race day was hard to master".
Round two saw the super consistent Priolo 6.039 defeat Dack 15.72, and Bishop 6.408 defeat O'Rourke's 10.37.
"Seeing Bishop win the final with a 5.972 over Pino's 6.028 certainly gets one thinking about the future of auto's in the class. Ben Bray has fitted an auto to his Monaro, but is working through the process of development. The US cars are having remarkable success with them. We will be staying with the clutch and B & J three speed for now - we don't really have any issues with ours, and Jerry has the tune mastered".
"We are very confident going into Rounds 2 and 3 at the Westernationals in a months time. We will rectify the small issues we had and hopefully get back to running our "five eights" and depending on the weather and track - dip back into the "five sevens". Our local supporters have been deprived of seeing us run a "five seven" so it would be good to run one on our home track".
The Westernationals format will be a three round series on both Saturday and Sunday nights with all racers running one qualifier, then an elimination round with the 4 fastest winners racing off for the "A" and "B" final. This is high pressure racing and anyone could end up in the finals on either night. Spectators will get to see at least 20 paired passes and two finals on both nights.
We hope to see as many of our Sponsors and supporters at the track to cheers us on and to check out the new season merchandise.
Reigning ANDRA Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia ran at the Perth Motorplex Nitro Max event this last weekend, and completed his testing program for new parts with a 5.833 – a positive sign leading into Round 1 of the 2014 Championship at the Pro Showdown in two weeks.
“We fitted some new parts and had trouble putting it to the track early” said Zappia, “But as we worked through the adjustments and changes it came together for a good result”.
Zappia entered the Fuchs Lubricants / Striker Crushing and Screening Monaro into Top Comp Eliminator – Australia’s toughest blown alcohol local competition. Of the 18 competitors entered, five were current ANDRA National Record holders, and nine were Group 1 classes nominated.
“Top Comp a tough bracket no doubt. Being a national event, ANDRA were using the national indexes instead of the local track records, so it was a little tougher for the Group 1 cars”.
“Our Friday qualifying runs were both interrupted with tyre shake, forcing me to pedal. A 6.044 @ 246.57mph and a 6.260 @ 241.28mph gave us plenty of data to study. We made a few adjustments and set ourselves up for the Saturday night compulsory qualifier at 6pm. We sat 7th in the field on Friday, 0.216 under our 6.260 index”.
The 6pm run saw Zappia have trouble again getting the Crusher to stick to the track with the dreaded tyre shake forcing Zap to pedal twice, and pass through for a 6.10 @ 245mph.
Zappia lined up against local Top Doorslammer campaigner Daniel Gregorini for round one, and the dreaded red light bit the champ that night. 0.033 seconds too soon was all it took for Zap to miss out on an A Final – his 6.000 @ 245.57mph good enough in theory. Gregorini blew the tyres of for a non-representative run.
“I told myself not to get too keen on the start, but that’s drag racing. It’s all down to the seconds and fractions of seconds. I still had to pedal on that run, so the times were still reasonable”.
We approached the track organisers regarding a grudge run, and because the event was so well run and ahead of schedule, a time slot was allocated for Gregorini and I to test. A Pro Tree was also requested, so we could simulate our upcoming Top Doorslammer Round 1 event.
“It all came together in the last run, with our tuning adjustments getting closer to what we are looking for. Despite me falling asleep at the lights, the car ran a strong 5.833 @ 250.00mph – our fastest speed at this track”.
“Considering the extreme heat (44 deg C) the weekend was one of the best meetings for several reasons, with a brilliantly prepared track and Top Fuel racing in the fours all weekend”.
Round 1 of the 2014 ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorslammer Championship starts Jan 31st – Feb 1st with the Pro Showdown at the Perth Motorplex.
“We are also preparing for a change in qualifying procedures at the Westernationals, where two rounds of the championship are staged in the one event – Round 2 and Round 3. Using the three round format, we only get one qualifying pass. The pressure will certainly be on competitors to get in the field, with crew chiefs pondering their options for outright performance, or a safe reliable setup”.
“We are aiming for a better start in this years championship to give us a good chance at our seventh back-to-back championship. The Fuchs Lubricants / Striker Crushing and Screening Monaro will present at the next event in a new paint scheme to showcase our naming rights sponsors in a fresh way”.
“We hope to see as many sponsors and supporters at the Motorplex to help start our campaign in the 2014 ANDRA Top Doorslammer Season in a positive way”.