Brodie Zappia’s first season in Supercharged Outlaws has been one of near constant work to produce results, and nothing changed at the 49th Annual Goldenstates Championship when engine dramas saw him forced to miss the final round.
The lead up to the event was positive, with a personal best 6.94 run in testing for the JK Construction Camaro. Changes to the suspension helped cure tyre shake problems from the last few events, while the shifter relay was also changed to prevent early gear changes.
Come qualifying, things were still on track. A 6.961 put Zappia third on the list and set up a first round race against Norbert Claite, who was returning to racing with his gorgeous ’70 Camaro.
“We dialled safe and I concentrated on getting a clean, green light to make sure we got the win,” Zappia said. “I didn’t want to go red or break out in the first round by putting too much pressure on.”
In the semi final, Zappia took on Greg James, where things started to veer off course. “As I was backing up from my burnout I noticed my oil pressure dropping to around 30psi,” he explained. “The pressure would come back as I revved the motor, so I didn’t think anything of it. As the race began I left with the holeshot, 0.087 to 0.284, and I knew I had a big margin because I could hear Greg’s car leaving the line a while after mine, yet we only had 0.006 difference in our dial-in. My run was good until I felt the car start to labor at half track. I watched the RPM drop, Greg drove around me and backed off, where I was then able to drive back around him, and even though I got to the finish line first I was worried about the motor. But, it started again in the deep end so I didn’t think anything more of it.”
The team conducted their usual maintenance in the pits and found a shorting battery terminal, which might have explained some of the issues, but then discovered bearing material in the oil filter only a few minutes before our scheduled run.
“We drained the oil and it looked like metallic paint,” Zappia said. “At that point we had no other option but to just try and stage the car. We put new oil in and I was able to start and drive it around to the lanes.”
When the fire-up signal was given for the final round of Supercharged Outlaws, Zappia’s engine refused to start. What would have likely been another fantastic race against Kasey McClure was denied.
“Eventually I just had to stop trying, get out of the car and congratulate the McClure family. I was really confident in the car and how it had performed to that point. Every time Kasey and I race it comes down to the wire and I would really have liked to have been in one of those races again. Kasey was only 0.017 off her dial-in, so even if I did make it to the start line it would’ve been a tough race to win!”
Following the event, the team took a deep dive into the motor and discovered many things not to like. Three rods had no bearings left, while the rods themselves along with the rod bolts had been subjected to extreme heat, turning gold, purple, blue and black. The crank also looked questionable.
“It looks like we will need a whole new bottom end to go in the car,” a disappointed Zappia said. “But we’re not giving up. I’m aiming to be racing again in two weeks. We got the crank checked out at Applied Automotive and they determined it is unusable. I’ve found another crank locally that’ll do the trick. From there, we will need to order new bearings and see what rods we can get, perhaps some more Ultra Enforcer Steel rods from Callies.”
“This motor is not a big budget deal. It is supposed to be basic and affordable, though it is getting pretty expensive. But we are going to work hard to be back to represent our sponsors and continue our quest for a Supercharged Outlaws championship.”