John Zappia is approaching the penultimate round of the 2018/19 400 Thunder Pro Slammer Championship with an understanding that nothing short of winning every round will give him the chance of a 12th national title.
Sydney Dragway's Nitro Thunder will be a make-or-break event for the veteran driver, whose Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro currently sits second in the points behind New South Welshman Paul Mouhayet.
With just two events left in the series to claw back the 85 point difference, Zappia is leaving nothing on the table.
“I think the car is fresher than it has been for a while,” he said.
“The summer testing we did in Perth showed a few weak links we had and we have basically replaced everything that needed replacing on the car from front to back.
“We are coming to Nitro Thunder with two new Noonan engines and two older engines for spares, along with a four-speed B&J Transmission plus two older three-speeds.”
It was approximately 18 months ago that Zappia ran his personal best time at Sydney Dragway of 5.601 seconds and he would love to be able to return to those performances.
“We probably should have been able to improve from that number since then, but we have been trying lots of different ways to go faster, plus you are always at the mercy of the weather and track conditions,” Zappia said.
“I'd say the track will be pretty good this weekend and we've found that the Sydney surface suits the Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro better than Perth so we are looking forward to seeing what numbers we can put on the readout boards.”
The Pro Slammer championship is very much on the line this weekend, with Zappia aware that only wins will do.
“Paul needs to make some mistakes and we need to not make any,” he said.
“Paul is in the box seat for the championship right now and it is his to lose. We can win both events but we still need other results to fall our way.”
There will be nine entries in total for the Pro Slammer field including not just championship rivals Zappia and Mouhayet, but also Victor Bray, Ben Bray, Michelle Davies, Geoff Gradden, Steven Ham, Mark Hinchelwood and Emilio Spinozzi.
Teams will compete using the 'all run format' which means all nine teams will be on track three times on Saturday.
Fans can find full event information at www.sydneydragway.com.au.