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John Zappia showed just why his Dananni Hotshots/Fuchs Lubricants Monaro Top Doorslammer is one of the most successful cars in Australian drag racing with a wire-to-wire performance at the 53rd annual Westernationals.

Zappia arrived at Perth Motorplex with a full rack of three Noonan Race Engineering engines thanks to a group effort from new sponsor High Speed Engineering and long-time supporters Applied Automotive Performance Engines, giving crucial equipment depth should the team have needed it.

But what followed was one of the most dominant efforts seen in a long time from the Top Doorslammer veteran.

“We had the A-motor back in the car and so we tuned for the first qualifying session using some data from our 5.6-second runs a few years ago,” Zappia said. “We backed the engine down slightly to put it into a safe zone and it responded perfectly with a 5.71/251mph off the trailer.”

A second qualifying session scheduled for Saturday evening had to be postponed due to a wild storm that hit the area, putting the Top Doorslammer teams back on track at 12.45pm on Sunday.

“It’s unusual for us to be out in the middle of the day but we decided to have a crack with some different Hoosier tires on. The Dananni Hotshots/Fuchs Lubricants Monaro went dead straight for a 5.74 run, which no-one else got close to in the conditions.”

The final qualifying sheet saw Zappia as top qualifier with his first pass, followed by Daniel Gregorini on a 5.83 and Russell Taylor on a 5.87.
A bye run in the first round gave Zappia a chance to breathe easier, though the three round format still requires teams to run good numbers to get maximum points. Another 5.74 did the job, again giving Zappia low ET of the round.

Round two took place against Gregorini, where a 5.73 turned on the win light and earned Zappia a place in the A Final.

“We were able to put a little more power into the tune round by round. Each time we checked the bearings we could see they were healthy and we felt confident we were still in a safe zone for tuning.”

Zappia’s A Final opponent would be Australian Top Doorslammer Championship points leader Russell Taylor. With Taylor having just clocked a 5.77 in the second round, the Zappia Racing team needed to decide on a strategy to ensure victory.

“We were so close that reaction times would be vital. We made a move to put some more power in one again as we thought Russell would step his engine up too. Well, the final didn’t get a chance to go to the finish line as Russell unfortunately left before the tree was activated. We went 5.67/253mph which we were very happy with.

“It was honestly a dream run. We crept up a little at a time and focused on reliability, but the performance was still there. The car is driving itself for a change which gives me a chance to do my job on the start line — an area I still have to work on.”

Zappia and his team spent the Westernationals weekend working out of the Dananni Hotshots marquee longside Benny Stevens’ Top Fuel Motorcycle team, Alicia Naylor’s Modified dragster and Brodie Zappia’s Supercharged Outlaws Camaro.

“We surprised Dananni Hotshots with the tent and with Benny taking two wins (Top Fuel Motorcycle ran two separate championship rounds) it was a very successful place to be. There were lots of smiles and it was great to be able to do that for our sponsors.”

A big thank you to Danni and Ross from Dananni Haulage for their support and for all the giveaways that put a lot of smiles on kids and parents alike.

It was great to catch up with Josh from FUCHS Lubricants Australasia and his managers and invited guests.

Thank you to all the crew who were on song all weekend and great to have Sam come over from Sydney to help out.

Zappia Racing will next take on the Nitro Slam event on March 23 which features the Summer Slam Grand Final.

After that the team again goes on the road to Tailem Bend for the next round of the Australian Top Doorslammer Championship.

“We’re coming into a very busy time so hopefully we can keep the success rolling in,” Zappia said.

“Thank you to all our Sponsors and supporters who bring out the best in the Zappia Racing team.”

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