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John Zappia has returned to the championship fold of Top Doorslammer with his first WA series win since 2021, as the Dananni Hotshots/FUCHS Monaro defied a drama-filled Nitro Max event at Perth Motorplex on Saturday.

After choosing to skip the first qualifying session, a messy compulsory qualifying session saw Zappia left in last place entering the race rounds — but that would be enough to clinch the championship. “Our starter motor died when we went to fire up for the qualifier,” Zappia said.

“We were rushing around to swap batteries and the starter motor and then I was so flustered about getting into stage that I got on the two-step without realising that Jaydee Dack in the other lane hadn’t even gone into stage yet. I was out of my routine and panicking, but the main thing was that we qualified”.

With the title in hand, Zappia now wanted to win the event. A second round 5.721 win against Jaydee Dack’s 6.300 would be quick enough to put Zappia into the final against Daniel Gregorini.

“The car rattled a little and went right, so I muscled it back left and got too far out of the groove,” Zappia explained. “I had to pedal in high gear which is unusual, so to still go a 5.72 made us pretty happy, especially as we were running our ‘B’ motor.”

Zappia went into the final against Gregorini, but with cooling conditions made things unpredictable.“Daniel got the hole shot but then he started rattling the tyres,” Zappia said.

“We were going nice and straight with strong increments and then — boom! The car backfired the supercharger with a big flame and I was coasting. I kept waiting to see Daniel’s Camaro fly past but he had shut off after the shake, and so our 6.285 took an unlikely win.”

Zappia Racing will now have a week of maintenance and a few days off for Easter before towing east to The Bend Motorsports Park for the next round of the National Drag Racing Championship.

“Applied Automotive have given our ‘A’ motor the once over so that we are as prepared as can be for Tailem Bend,” Zappia said. “That motor did five consistent runs at the Westernationals and so it makes us confident to have it back in the car.”

Zappia currently leads the national points, with a slim 17-point margin to second-placed Russell Taylor.

“There’s still three events to go in the championship, so it’s really anyone’s championship to win or lose right now,” Zappia said. “We’re going to concentrate on A to B runs, but even those should be pretty quick if the conditions are what we expect. I think the winner will have to be clocking 5.6-second passes.”

The Zappia Racing Team are looking forward to seeing Sponsors and supporters at Tailem Bend and they will have their merchandise available at the Merch tent. Head down to the pits and say hello and get photos and merch signed by John Zappia.

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