As the Christmas and New Year approaches, John Zappia and the Zappia Racing Team wish all sponsors, supporters, fans and friends a happy and safe festive season.
"It has been an amazing year for the Team" says Zap, "Winning the Slamfest Series was fantastic, and the ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorslammer Championship was a long shot early in the season Š and for it to all come together like it did is still overwhelming".
"We have come back to earth since that win, as we have entered our testing program for next season and encountered some challenges in trying to improve our start line and top speed".
Zap presented the Fuchs Lubricants / Striker Crushing and Screening Monaro into Top Comp at the Perth Motorplex USA Jet meeting on 16th November.
"We had in a brand new clutch for trials, along with numerous other changes and we really had trouble getting the car to hook up Š blazing the tyres on the hit in qualifying".
In the Eliminator at 8pm Zappia faced Rob Pilkington in TA/FC trim who was running with the 5.56 track record as his handicap, and Zap on a 5.90 handicap.
"I had to pedal twice, and almost got Pilko but his 5.805 @ 225mph on an excellent 0.038 reaction was too good for my 6.174 @ 243.24mph".
"We arranged a grudge race to do more testing and again I had to pedal and ran a 6.03 @ 248mph but in the braking area the car felt very strange, and indeed Lady Luck was with us as the crew discovered the diff spindle had sheared clean off and the rear wheel was on itÕs way out".
With Richard Zappia armed with new data and clutch guru Jerry with some homework to do on his new clutch, the crew packed up and headed to the large country town of Narrogin 192km south of Perth for the 21st Narrogin Revheads Home of Horsepower event. The Striker was on display and Zap started the car to the delight of the crowd.
Next event for Zappia Racing was the Nitro Thunder two-day event at the Perth Motorplex on 29 Š 30th November, where Top Comp attracted 13 entries.
"We were rained out on the Friday night for our pass, so presented for the Saturday afternoon run. Nice strong burnout, but on the hit the hemi went mysteriously silent. Took us ages to find out the problem Š a sheared quill shaft in the PSI blower. We had changed most components trying to find that, and just made it to the compulsory qualifier at 6pmÓ.
Zap completed his burnout, but had to pull to the side of the track as the engine went dead again".
"Well if it doesnÕt rain it pours! We had another component failure unexpectedly, which killed the motor. We then had a draw up against Daniel Gregorini in the T/D Camaro who was still coming to terms with his PSI combination".
The run was over in an instant as Zap rarely cherried the tree (-0.006) giving Gregorini the win. His 6.045 @ 242.58mph his best so far in the PSI, against ZapÕs pedaling 6.052 @ 247.25mph.
"May as well get all the bad stuff out of the way in testingÓ lamented Zappia, ŅDisappointing to red light, but thatÕs racing. We still have work to do on the clutch and some new timing gear we have installed".
The team managed to squeeze in a grudge run Š again up against Gregorini prior to the finals and ran a 6.22 with the Blower snout snapping off mid run. At this rate weÕll have all new parts for the start of the 2014 season.
"We will take a break over the festive season, do some fishing and freshen up for next yearÕs racing and be back for the Nitro Max Meeting on the 10th and 11th January 2014".
"Once again I thank all sponsors, supporters, crew and family for their support in our quest to be the best. Six straight ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championships is an awesome effort from a lot of people involved. Myself and all the team wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year".
Zappia wins Nationals and ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship
Reigning Australian ANDRA Top Doorslammer Champion, John Zappia pulled off the greatest comeback in the history of doorslammer this weekend, to win his sixth consecutive title coming from 42 points behind and winning the Nationals Final. The Australian Nationals was the last and most prestigious event of the extended ANDRA 2012/2013 season held at Sydney Dragway, and the two top contenders Zappia and Kapiris were locked in an emotional battle in the event lead up.
"Coming into the event, it seemed like an impossible assignment - having to win the event, and Peter having to either not qualify or loose in the first round" said a jubilant Zappia, "but we stayed positive and focused, and the fairy tale did come true. The team, sponsors, supporters, friends and fans are all very excited with the result".
The track proved a little tricky for the eighteen teams attempting to qualify for the top eight, and elapsed times were a little off the pace as most struggled with tyre shake and uneven traction.
"This is our first event win this season, and to do this against my old mate Victor Bray and equal his six straight Championship wins was a highlight. We both pioneered doorslammer racing in this country, and to make that final pass together was historical. It was a fitting matchup as the record of six consecutive wins was achieved against the person holding the record. Our deepest commiserations go to our good mate Peter Kapiris who led the series all year and just fell 19 points short to run a valiant second for the second year in a row".
Qualifying was run on the Saturday, with good weather conditions for most of the day. On Zap's first pass in the Fuchs Lubricants / Striker Crushing and Screening Monaro he suffered vicious tyre shake and had to pedal to a 6.002 @ 248.61mph. That put him at No 2 behind Gary Phillips on 5.99.
The Second run saw Zap run an awesome 5.86 @ 250.46mph to secure No 1 position, ahead of Kapiris on 5.90. The last qualifier was slightly quicker with a 5.83 @ 250.74mph that earned him valuable top qualifier points.
"We felt we had a mental advantage over Pete by top qualifying - showing him that we were quickest and he would have to step it up to catch us. As it turned out the Sunday track proved a little trickier than the Saturday track, and we never dipped into the "five eights" again".
"The tension was high on race day, and we watched in amazement as Peter Kapiris shook, pedaled but never recovered against Victor Bray who had a big hole shot advantage with a 0.030 reaction time. I knew we had a chance at the championship right there and then. In our first elimination run, the Crusher with a pedaling 5.951 @ 248.75mph put away Sean Mifsud and his Duster".
"We put a little more in the motor for round 2 to try and get over this tyre shake, but it did it again and luckily Phillips had the same problem. Our 5.975 @ 248.48mph got us through to the final. Victor got through over Sutton with a hole shot and slower time to set up a repeat of the final in Perth".
We felt for Peter Kapiris as he watched the final with a camera focused on him, with such tension and trepidation as Zap and Victor lined up. We were in a similar position last year but luckily Robin Judd did us a favour and defeated Peter Kapiris to give us the championship.
"Victor got me on the tree, but the Crusher surged ahead until the dreaded tyres started to rattle hard. I thought 'Not again!' - so punched second quickly and the car went crazy. I could not see Victor in my peripheral vision and tried to steer the car straight, and run through for a 6.071 @ 246.98mph - not a very good time but considering I had to pedal twice and pull the car away from the wall, I was happy to get the win
"The feeling of jubilation after winning was just amazing. It has been a long and hard season, and to finally get a win and take the ANDRA Gold Christmas Tree home to all our Perth Sponsors and Supporters was priceless".
"Thank you to Fuchs Lubricants for their Co-naming Rights Sponsorship for the year. We look forward to more racing with their partnership in the coming seasons. Also a big thank you to Striker Crushing and Screening, K Trans WA, Procomp Electronics, Speedmaster, PRG (Process Resource Group), Beta Spuds, Southside Engine Centre, Noonan Race Engineering and PPG because without your support we would not have been able to win our sixth consecutive ANDRA Championship. We would also like to thank our supporting sponsors who all contribute to making Zappia Racing the most successful Top Doorslammer team in Australia. We look forward to your ongoing support".
"I rang Craig Pedley who was away on Striker business, and let him know that the car he owns and has never driven has just won a fourth consecutive championship. He was rapped".
"A big thank you to all the crew, management team and supporters who are close to me. We work hard technically, but mentally as well - staying positive and striving for better performance each time we race and having a win makes all the hard work worth it".
The event will show on national television on SBS Speedweek in the next couple of weeks - check your local guides for details or keep an eye on Zappia Racing on Facebook.
Over two days this past weekend, Perth Motorplex opened its doors to the wild blown alcohol cars Perth is renowned for, to the first test and tune for the new season. John Zappia and his "Crusher" Fuchs Lubricants / Striker Crushing and Screening Monaro ventured out for some testing ahead of his showdown with ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship leader Kapiris in the final round in Sydney.
"The track is a little green this early in the season" said Zap, "A lot of hard hitters had trouble getting down the track - including us. The last pass was a 5.907 @ 248 with a pedal, which ended up quickest for the weekend.
The 5.907 had a .996 sixty foot time, our best for 12 months. That was impressive. It was something new, and opened our eyes to possibilities. It never ceases to amaze me how much we learn about these cars - we make huge power - but our latest development has been in getting the first 100 feet right. Tyre shake is still a problem but we have a better understanding of how to overcome it.
"We have always been lazy in the first 60 feet so our testing this week was to improve this area of our runs. Sydney is a good track, so it will be interesting to see how the Crusher goes".
Zappia Racing announced a new Supporting Sponsor K Craft Bullbars from Welshpool WA, who fitted out the teams Transporter with one of their custom polished aluminium bull bars complete with LED lights. This awesome K Craft Bullbar is protecting the new fiberglass front end custom built by Boris Pacey from Borcraft Industries, giving the 87 Scania prime mover a modern new look, as well as improving fuel efficiency.
"With the upcoming season offering 11 rounds of racing in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin and Alice Springs - we need to be safe when travelling with all the kangaroos and wildlife we see on the road. K Craft and Borcraft Industries have come to assist and we thank them for that".
"We are looking forward to the challenge ahead with 18 cars nominated for the Nationals in Sydney and with 42 points separating Kapiris and ourselves, anything can happen. If luck goes our way we could have a sixth straight championship and if not we will still have a pretty impressive record. Since we entered Top Doorslammer with Zap's Rat 4 and then with Crusher we have come second twice, then won five in a row and this year we are well placed to finish in the top two".
"A big thank you to all our sponsors, crew and supporters and one thing is for sure, we will fight this out to the end".
Zap edges closer to Kapiris after Finals appearance at the Springnationals
Current and Five times Australian ANDRA National Champion, John Zappia made excellent progress in his championship bid, with a finals appearance in Adelaide at Round 7 of the Top Doorslammer Championship at the Lady Daly Hotel Springnationals, edging closer to leader Peter Kapiris. The Fuchs Lubricants / Striker Crushing Monaro were favourites to win after top qualifying and re-setting the track record, but unfortunately lost the final to young Benny Bray.
"We have got the gap down to 42 points, after gaining 98 points for the round with top qualifier, low ET, Top Speed and a finals finish. We are pretty happy with that, despite losing the finals. Congratulations on Ben Bray for his win - I know his crew worked hard for that win".
Qualifying on the Friday night started at 7pm and in John's first pass, he got sideways in the burnout and struggled with traction in the right lane but ran a pedalling 6.525. Due to dew on the track and the cold conditions, it was decided to run the next set of qualifiers on Saturday.
"On the second qualifier the Crusher rattled hard in second, so I pedalled to tame it down but hit the limiter and blew the front burst panel out. The 5.305 showed us the car had some power, so we refined the tune up for the final session and ran a perfect 5.037 @ 223.82 to set fastest ET and quickest MPH for the meeting, and Top Doorslammer track record".
At 5pm in the Round 1 eliminations Zappia was matched up against Carbone, with Zap running a dead straight 5.050 for the win against Carbone's 5.378.
"A Great run in the car, and that set us up against Kapiris in the semis - a real showdown for the two of us. I rattled at the top of first gear, pedalled and saw Peter disappear out of my view as I took the win with a 5.088. Pete's lane failed to give a reading, but after viewing on-car video, we were confirmed as winners and went through to the final".
Ben Bray defeated Bishop and Fabietti on his way to the final, and managed to literally blow a door off his Monaro in the braking area. After borrowing a door from Fabietti and delaying the final to 10.30pm the two Monaro's lined up for the final.
"I didn't get a good start after getting distracted by lights in my vision close to the tree, and also had a big pedal as the car rattled badly and headed sharply to the left. Young Benny had a better run and his 5.170 was good enough for the win".
"The scene is set for an amazing final round in Sydney on 1st - 3rd November for the Australian Nationals, where the pressure will be high on a typically fast track for Doorslammers. We will test in Perth before that and see if we can get the Crusher to go even quicker - we need to match the speed Kapiris gets in his slippery Saratoga to maximise our points and improve our chance of taking out our sixth consecutive championship."
Current and Five time Australian ANDRA National Champion, John Zappia heads to Adelaide for Round 7 of the Top Doorslammer Championship at the Lady Daly Hotel Springnationals to be held over 20th - 21st September, and is quietly confident the Fuchs Lubricants / Striker Crushing Monaro will perform well over the reduced 1,000 foot event.
"The car is going quick on current form and we ran 5.753 and 5.745 back to back runs at Round 6 at the Winters to top qualify and re-set the National Record, and ran 3.866 to Top Qualify and re-set the track record at Benaraby in the Slamfest series over the 1/8th mile. I think the car is back to its best, after struggling earlier in the season".
"We have only been to Adelaide once since 1995 and that was for an exhibition event, so there will be a big learning curve as we don't have much data. The track may end up deciding the state of play, as the crews battle to get the best setup and contain the power on a tricky track.
The crew and I will have to be on our A game and make sure everything is checked as we can't afford to leave anything to chance. One mistake can decide the championship, so we'll need to concentrate on what we can control and not try to break records at the expense of overpowering the track".
Zappia racing welcomes new Major Sponsors PRG - Process Resource Group who specialise in mobile crushing, and will showcase the Speedmaster high performance engine parts branding from Procomp Electronics on the car at this meeting.
"A big thank you to all our new and existing sponsors and supporters who have been fantastic in their support. Our efforts to go Back-to-Back again in our Championship race will be tougher this year than any other, as Kapiris has a fair lead of 76 points on us with this and one other event to go. Without the support of all our sponsors, crew and supporters we could not have achieved these five successive championships and be in a position to fight it out for a sixth.
We would like to see as many of our sponsors and supporters at the track to cheer us on and hopefully keep our championship hopes alive.
Zappia: It's all in Kapiris' hands
John Zappia is used to late season charges to earn his five Top Doorslammer titles but says for this season it is points leader Peter Kapiris’ championship to lose with just two events remaining.
The Top Doorslammer field heads to Adelaide International Raceway (AIR) from September 20-21 for the Lady Daly Hotel Springnationals and Zappia says his Fuchs team will need nothing short of perfection to be in the running.
“I need to do everything possible to win it and it’s all in Peter’s hands to lose it,” he said. “If Peter doesn’t do anything wrong he can’t lose.
“I’d rather be on top but there’s many of our championships we’ve won coming from behind. A couple of first round loses for anyone can turn it all around.”
The season so far has been fickle for Zappia despite his second position in the points. The national record holder is yet to take an event win for the season while Kapiris has two on the books.
“Not qualifying at the Nationals in Sydney last year put us behind right from the start,” he said. “We’ve had bad luck but then any time Peter has had bad luck I wasn’t there to take advantage.”
With the tour now heading to AIR, it presents one of the biggest challenges of the season as the first time there has been a championship round over 1000 feet and the first time it has been to AIR since 2000.
“Adelaide is a big unknown, the traction there is the most different out of all the tracks we race at,” he said. “The track is getting better and better and I’m quietly confident I can master it.
“The 1000 feet is to my advantage because Peter’s big top end speed won’t come into play as much over that distance. If we come out of Adelaide smiling it will mean the championship is doable at the Australian Nationals in November.”
Zappia expects low five second times and with new sponsor Process Resource Group on board the first four second pass over 1000 feet by a Top Doorslammer at AIR may be a possibility.
“We should be able to get it into the fours, it depends on how good that part of the track from 1000 to 200 feet is and what the weather brings,” he said. “The air conditions are going to be killer at this time of year and overpowering the track will be on the cards for a lot of people. It’s working out how to tame it.”
Kapiris is currently 76 points ahead of Zappia, with six times champion Victor Bray also still in the hunt.
If Kapiris can stretch his lead to over 118 points then the championship will be entirely his, while anything over a lead of 98 points means he just has to make a qualifying pass at the season-ending Australian Nationals in Sydney to seal the deal.
The Top Doorslammers will be joined in Adelaide by Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle plus a round of the Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship.