New National Record 5.745 pass for Zappia - still the quickest in Oz.
A thrilling 2013 Australian Winternationals was brought to an early end this year by the weather, and all Group 1 classes failed to complete any eliminations. Top Doorslammer saw four rounds of qualifying over two days, with reigning champion John Zappia top qualifying with a sizzling 5.745 @ 252 mph that re-set the National Record.
"That is two meetings in a row we have not had the chance to win where we were positioned really well" said a laconic Zappia, "We have nudged closer to Kapiris in the championship race, and with just two rounds to go it will be another close finish to the season".
"We are back in the five sevens with our 5.753 and 5.745 back to back runs this meeting, and we are very happy with that. We have struggled to get the power down this season, and we have finally worked it out. To re-set the National Record we set last year at the Nitro Champs and top qualify was great for the Team and for our naming and event sponsors Fuchs Lubricants".
Zappia now sits second on 325 points by gaining 53 points this meeting, behind leader Kapiris on 401 points who gained 52 points, and Victor Bray 271 with 20 points for the round.
"76 points is a handy margin, but anything is possible in racing so we haven't conceded just yet".
ANDRA Top Doorslammer Qualifying Results:
Qualifiers: 1. JOHN ZAPPIA HQ Monaro 5.745 @ 252.24; 2. PETER KAPIRIS Saratoga 5.824 @ 249.81; 3. MARTYN DACK Falcon 5.876 @ 243.94; 4. STUART BISHOP Camaro 5.885 @ 243.19; 5. MURRAY O'CONNOR Falcon 5.902 @ 241.89; 6. MARK BELLERI Camaro 5.913 @ 225.15; 7. BEN BRAY Monaro 5.937 @ 246.35: 8. MAURICE FABIETTI Monaro 5.970 @ 240.17.
Non-Qualifiers: 9. RUSS PAVEY Corvette 5.974 @ 243.81; 10. ANDREW SUTTON Corvette 5.991 @ 243.41; 11. DANIEL GREGORINI Camaro 6.01 @ 234.57; 12. VICTOR BRAY Chev 6.014 @ 236.55; 13. GRANT O'ROURKE Monaro 6.195 @ 234.57.
In other news to hand John Zappia has been declared the Runner-Up of Round 4 of the Top Doorslammer championship held at the Sydney Dragway Nitro Champs. The decision was made after the ANDRA Appeals Tribunal hearing in Sydney recently, based on an appeal lodged by Zappia Racing following disqualification in the semi-final race against Murray O'Connor.
"It was not an ideal result but a reasonable outcome for us" said a contemplative Zappia, "The Tribunal was very well run and fair, with a level of independence and was evidence based, so we feel justice has been done".
Upon review of the race it was found that the starter had activated the Compulink Autostart system when both racers were in pre-stage, meeting the requirements of a race start as per section 4.1 of the ANDRA rulebook which states: "Start - in relation to a race, means the initiation of the start of the race, by the starter". Following on, both racers were deemed to have fouled the start, but with O'Connor the first offender, Zappia was reinstated. There is also the new ruling which addresses Dual Disqualifications which was added to the 2013 rule book which states "
1.4.24 Disqualification - "The ideal outcome of any race is to have one winner and one loser; however situations arise where both racers are disqualified during the same elimination race. There are varying degrees of rules infractions, with policy being that the driver committing the major infraction will be disqualified and the other driver with the lessor offence is reinstated, providing the grounds for disqualification were equal for both competitors"
"With both these events behind us, we head to Adelaide for Round 6, where the racing is over 1,000 feet rather than the quarter mile. We have had great success racing the eighth mile distance in the Slamfest series, so look forward to racing there. It is our second appearance at the track in our new Top Doorslammer race car, and we will have the Fuchs/Striker Crushing Monaro tuned up and giving it our best shot".
Zappia Ready for Battle
Reigning five times back to back ANDRA Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia has arrived in Sydney Australia for Round 5 of the Australian Championship at the prestigious Nitro Champs this weekend - set to do battle with the other 17 competitors.
"We will have the Fuchs / Striker Crushing Monaro cranked up for this weekend" said Zappia, "the competition has caught up to us with several racers capable of five sevens, and five eights - so we need to put our recent race time experiences in Perth to good use, where we have been trying to get the extra power to the track and reduce the amount of tyre shake".
"A 5.83 @ 250.5mph off the trailer at the test and tune today set our baseline, and we can work from there. We are pretty confident after that pass".
"We are hoping for some luck this meeting, to get our championship progress back in line with our goals. The Zappia Racing team are pumped and ready for the challenge. Gerry, Richard and I have been working very hard on taming the beast of an engine we have now. Designed entirely in-house, the combination has shown us there is a lot more power in these Hemi's than we thought, with the Noonan Race Engineering heads working out really well for us".
"Sydney has been a great track for the team over the years, and we want to build on last year's Nitro Champs success where we top qualified, ran three consecutive five sevens, and reset the National Record at 5.769 @ 251mph. A loss in the final last year has motivated us to aim for the win this year".
The Championship sees Peter Kapiris leading with 271 points, followed by Victor Bray on 208 points and Zappia on 185. With four rounds remaining, it is still early days to say who will win.
"We may see some upsets this weekend, as quite a few teams have run the odd five eight. It was unfortunate Garry Phillips was unable to compete in his new Camaro, but he will be back for sure. This is one of the most wide open fields we have raced this year with Kapiris, Fabietti,Sutton, Bishop, Belleri, O'Connor and the Brays who have found form. There is also Mike Janis racing Mifsud's Duster who could be a surprise packet".
"All this means we will have some very exciting doorslammer action at the Nitro's this weekend. Our Co-Naming Rights Sponsors Striker Crushing and Screening, and Fuchs Lubricants will have representatives at the track, and we enjoy their continued support".
Qualifying starts at 12.20pm on Saturday 4th May (Eastern Standard Time), with Q2 at 3.40pm and Q3 at 6.40pm.
Eliminations are at 11.50am, 2.23pm and 4.40pm on Sunday 5th May (Eastern Standard Time).
The best way to follow the action if unable to attend the track is to tune into the ANDRA Twitter feed, the ANDRA Facebook page, or the www.dragnews.com.au live feed.
Zappia runs a 5.814 in Perth - quickest of the year
Zappia Racing presented the Fuchs / Striker Crushing Monaro for racing in Top Comp at the Perth Motorplex Nitro Funny Car meeting this last weekend, and narrowly missed out on a finals berth after a great 5.814 @ 247.93mph elimination run.
"The 5.814 is our quickest pass for this season and it has taken us a while to get a handle on the new engine package" said Zappia after the event, "We tried some new things this meeting, and went back over our extensive database of runs, and finally came up with a combination that worked".
"We have run 25 full quarter mile passes this season, with over 50% of those in the "fives" - that's pretty good racing. We have had 5 unrepresentative runs though (20%) with several of those at critical points in the event that have cost us wins and championship points this year. That is a result of us wanting to push the boundaries and move onto new territory in our racing. No "five sevens" yet this season, but we are working on that for the future".
"Earlier in the day in the qualifying run, the car was just an animal - smoking the tyres and wheel standing, and I just had to abort the run. The brutal power we have developed is very aggressive and the key is taming the beast to get it down the track consistently".
The compulsory qualifier at 6pm saw Zap having to pedal at about 200 feet out, and then suffer a simple mechanical failure on the throttle link that took power away - and he rolled through for a 6.695 @ 149.00 mph.
"The first eliminator race against Shane Weston in the AA Dragster was a cracker, but I red lit with a -0.029 reaction time to pass the win over to Weston. The 5.814 was good enough on my 6.26 index (0.446 under), as Shane went 5.836 on a 6.21 index (0.374 under). That would have given us a B Final - but that was not to be".
"We are pretty happy with the days racing, and with one more meeting here in Perth on the 6th April, we are building to Round 4 of the ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorslammer Championship at Sydney with a tune and setup that should help us chip away at the Championship leaders".
John Zappia sits third in the Championship on 185 points, behind a rejuvenated Victor Bray on 208 points, and in form Peter Kapiris on 271 points.
Eliminations for the 42nd Westernationals started last Sunday with a magnificent day and by 6pm the temperature had dipped to 25 degrees C (77.f F) with 66% humidity and 1900ft corrected air.
John Zappia had qualified second the day before with a 5.963 @ 245.90 mph, behind Maurice Fabietti on 5.921 @ 240.64mph.
Round 1 saw reigning Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia take on Benny Bray and hole shot him 0.087 to 0.108 and led to 60 feet when he had to pedal. Bray took the lead, but by 1,000 feet Zap had pulled level, and went straight through for the win.
Gregorini 6.047 took out Sutton 6.043 in a tight race. Victor 6.036 took out Pavey 6.063, and Kapiris 6.030 won when Fabietti (6.364) dragged the beams.
The Semi Final of Victor Bray and John Zappia - the two pioneers of Doorslammer racing in Australia, ended up a steady win to Victor whose dead straight 6.012 @ 237.46mph took out Zap after he went sideways at mid track and ran through for a 6.197 @ 238.09mph.
"I was out in front - we went 0.994 to sixty feet - but like most of our runs this weekend the dreaded tyre shake at the top of first gear got us again. I tried to drive through it but the Fuchs / Striker Crushing Monaro ended up pretty sideways. I pedalled, corrected and tried to catch Victor to no avail as he was through for the win".
Gregorini red lit in the other semi and ran a 6.079 @ 236.22mph to a winning 5.961 @ 237.46mph by Kapiris, setting up a great final between the top two championship leaders - Victor with his second final in a row.
The final round matchup was held up by a track incident, and Peter Kapiris in the Saratoga managed the quickest run for the event 5.868 @ 240.00mph to defeat Victor Bray in the '57 Chevy who got out early in the run after experiencing tyre shake.
"Congratulations to Peter for the win. That last run was out of the ordinary for the event at five eight, and even crew chief Brew really had no idea why it went so much better than all their other runs on the day. I think the track had dew on it, and allowed a lot more wheel speed and the car got up and over the tyre".
"We are still third in the Top Doorslammer Championship, and look forward to the next round at the Nitro Champs in Sydney on 4th and 5th May. We will run two local events here at the Perth Motorplex to see out the WA season, before heading off to Sydney".
"Many thanks to Fuchs and Striker Crushing for their support in our championship bid. We are on one of the hardest missions of all - to defend our 5 Back-to-Back Championships. We have been at the top of the game for five years and now into our sixth, and that takes enormous effort from us and our team. We enjoy support from a lot of local Perth supporting sponsors, and we thank them deeply. We will really have to dig deep if we are to keep our hopes of a 6th straight championship alive but as they say in racing, "anything can happen on the track" and we just need a bit of luck to go our way. There are still 4 championship rounds to go and hopefully we get to compete at all and give us the best chance of catching Peter and Victor.
"I am just as determined to bounce back and get this Fuchs / Striker Crushing Monaro back into the five eights, and five sevens. As a team we are focused and excited - drag racing has such a great future in Australia".
The west turned on perfect weather for their biggest event on the calendar - the 42nd Westernationals at the Perth Motorplex. Seventeen teams turned up for Round Three of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship, with anticipation of some tight racing.
First qualifier was delayed for the last few runners due to John Cannuli entering the sand at high speed after a parachute failure. A good reaction time of 0.091 got Zap started well, but tyre shake at the top of first gear meant a lift of the throttle was required, and back on the throttle to drive it out the back door for a 5.963 @ 244.56 mph.
That time put the team at the top of the qualifying order after Q1 ahead of Ben Bray on 6.051, Sutton on 6.066, Cannuli on 6.07 (with a damaged car) and Gregorini on 6.089.
Second qualifier saw Zap suffer tyre shake in first gear forcing him right towards the centreline and another pedal job and still ran a 5.966 @ 245.90mph. Fabietti was back in form running a 5.921 to take top spot from Zap. Victor Bray ran third with a 6.002, and Gregorini bettered with a 6.013 to take out fifth.
Third qualifier saw Zap run a straight pass, but was down on et and mph running a 6.031 @ 245.90mph. Fabietti did not run Q3, so Zappia maintained second position in qualifying.
"We have struggled a little with tyre shake today" said Zappia after racing, "But overall we are happy with our position in the field. The engine is sweet, with no damage or issues; it's more a fine tuning issue with us - we run a fairly complicated tune and setup on the run, and getting it all together perfectly takes some skill".
Zappia will run Ben Bray in the Fuchs / Striker Crushing Monaro tomorrow in Round 1. Fabietti will meet Kapiris in an important race, Victor Bray will match up with Pavey, and Sutton will take on Gregorini.
Zappia Wins Portland Slamfest
John Zappia, Australia's quickest Top Doorslammer driver, has won round two of the Slamfest in Portland Victoria last weekend to snatch the lead in the series from rival Peter Kaparis in a thrilling final race.
Slamfest is high excitement eighth mile racing on regional tracks in Australia, where huge local crowds enjoy the quickest Doorslammers trying to get down the unpredictable tracks.
Zappia Racing changed their plans about coming to Portland after getting to the final in round one, and mixing with the Slamfest community.
"It's great to take the win for Fuchs Lubricants at these country tracks" said a jubilant Zappia, "Fuchs are the track sponsors down at Portland, and the Fuchs / Striker Crushing Monaro performed well most of the weekend".
"We missed the first test pass due to finding a bad oil leak from the rear of the motor. It was quick work by the crew after taking out the gearbox and lifting up the engine to change an O-ring behind the motor, and get it all ready for qualifying".
"On the first pass I had to pedal twice for a 4.193 @ 179.53 mph to gain third qualifier position behind Victor Bray and Peter Kapiris in the list of nine teams".
"That put us up against Ben Bray in the first eliminator, and that was a nice straight 4.016 @ 185.64 mph, which was under Victor Bray's 4.07 track record".
"In the Semi Final up against Grant O'Rourke I had to pedal twice, and the car still went 4.065 @ 183.40 mph and took the win over Grant - who had to abort his run".
"The final was up against Peter Kapiris, who put Victor away in the Semi. He got the jump on me at the start, and the Crusher went out of the groove - one tyre black tracking and the other shaking. My vision was so blurred early in the run I could hardly see, but once my vision cleared Pete had dropped out of sight, and I drove around him - punched top gear and pulled the car back to the centre of the track as I was out to the right".
"A great win for the team and another track record at 4.015 @ 184.35 mph, and we were also fastest on the day with a 185.64 mph".
Zappia Racing now head back on a high for the Westernationals - Round three of the ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorslammer Championship - at the Perth Motorplex, where Zap is keen to climb back up from third position on the ladder on 118 points. Kapiris leads with 160 points over Victor Bray on 122 points.
"We are on the money with our tune at the moment and making plenty of horsepower - so we look forward to the Westernationals on the 2nd and 3rd of March".
Fans can watch the Portland Slamfest in Western Australia on Sunday 24th Feb 2013 at 11.30 am - eastern states fans check your local guides.
Zappia Racing heading to Portland Slamfest
Zappia Racing head to Fuchs South Coast Raceway in Victoria to compete in Round 2 of the Slamfest, after a strong performance at the Top Fuel meeting at Perth Motorplex last weekend.
"We managed a respectable 5.85 @ 249.00mph in the first eliminator" said an enthusiastic Zappia, "We missed out on a B Final by 0.013 seconds, and the weekend was testing for many teams as the track was a little difficult in the conditions".
"First pass on the Friday night in Top Comp saw the Fuchs Lubricants / Striker Crushing Monaro overpower the track. We are making plenty of power with this combo, and I had to pedal and get back on it and drive it out the back door so we could get some data. A 6.037 @ 245.23mph - pretty good speed there".
"Second pass we made some changes to the car to try and get her through the middle part of the track, but again I overpowered, had to pedal and get back on. 5.973 @ 248.61mph got us 7th in the field in a 19 car field - 0.287 under our index".
Overnight the Zappia Racing crew serviced the Crusher, and made preparations for the next round of racing. The Top Comp bracket in Perth finds the four winning racers of the first round who are furthest under their index meeting up in an A Final, and B Final.
"I looked very hard at all our data, did some serious thinking and discussions with the crew on how to get the car down the track. If we managed a 5.80 we reckon we were in with a chance for the final".
"I pulled a killer 0.009 start light and the Fuchs Lubricants / Striker Crushing Monaro just hauled straight down the groove and set the timers off at 5.859 @ 247.25mph - 0.401 seconds under our index. Just not enough to get a finals berth".
"I looked at the data and thought there were a few ways I could have driven the car a little better, but in the end it's what you run that counts. In a way we learnt a lot on that last pass - we took out some tune from the engine, but still ran a 5.8 pass - awesome!"
"We pack the Zappia Racing Transporter up and head off to Fuchs South Coast Raceway this week for Round 2 of the Slamfest to be held on 15th - 15th Feb 2013. I am keen to make up for last year where my old mate Victor Bray put me on the trailer in Round 1. We are second in the points, and I am keen to put in a good eighth mile performance. ".
"The start line is killer down there, but the transition to asphalt caught a few racers out last time. With a little hindsight and data behind us, we should be able to get down quickly".
Fans can tune into Facebook and Twitter for regular updates during the meeting.
The quickest Slammers in Australia were at Heathcote Victoria last weekend for Round One of the eighth mile Slamfest Series, and produced some wild rides that entertained the crowd. Australian Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia was keen to snatch the win and the local track record, and after some great racing almost pulled it off.
"What a great weekend" said a jubilant Zappia, "We ended up in the final against Peter Kapiris after a little carnage in the semi, and did some quick passes and some crazy drifting ones as well".
The teams were allowed a qualifier in the afternoon, and Zap brought out the super quick Fuchs Lubricants / Striker Crushing Monaro and managed a drifting, pedalling, off it early 4.21et for the eighth.
The compulsory qualifier saw Zap run a 3.966et @ 188.21mph and Top Qualify, 2 hundredths quicker than Kapiris' 3.984et @ 191.16mph, and Victor Bray not far behind with a 4.18et @ 174.76mph.
"That was a good pass - full throttle all the way, but using up most of my lane. That gave us Marcus Chambers in the draw - two HQ's side by side. Unfortunately Marcus was not able to get his car ready in time so we ran a solo pass. The car went to the right, so I hit second and yanked it back and it fishtailed and drifted it's way to a new track record 3.944et @ 192.64mph - backed up by the 3.966 earlier run".
Kapiris disposed of Ben Bray, Victor over Mamone, and Brunner over Pavey in the other Round One races.
The Semi Final in the Chicago Shootout format saw Zap up against Brunner, and Kapiris up against Victor Bray. It was Kapiris that set Low ET for the meeting with a 3.825et @ 162.10mph to defeat Victor's 4.053et @ 184.20mph. Zap just managed to get the win after his car went silent mid run - his 4.316et @ 167.47mph just too good for Brunner's 4.471et @ 161.99mph.
"The car just went dead after an excellent straight launch and managed to coast to the win. The crew found the crank trigger wheel had exploded and sent the crank trigger flying - putting a hole in the sump on the way out. We had spares, so fitted those and started up ok to find the gearbox had let go as well. Many thanks to Pete and the Heathcote track officials who waited for us to put our spare gearbox in for the run. Totally wrong ratios for the track, but at least we could give the final a go".
"The car left very slow in the final with a 1.169 sixty feet time and shook badly - so I lifted and pedalled and got after Kapiris, who had to lift later in the run. Congrats to him though, his 4.154et @ 167.54mph was too quick for my 4.447et @ 177.58mph".
"The Slamfest meeting was fantastic as usual, with a good crowd and fellow racers really enjoying themselves. We head back to run four meetings in Perth including the Westernationals, before heading back to Sydney for the Nitro Champs in early May".