John Zappia and his Zappia Racing Team are in Sydney for the Nitro Champs at Sydney Dragway this weekend, and is dangerously lurking in second place in the ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorslammer Championship.
Fresh off some very quick passes in Perth, and with a Top Comp Championship Trophy in the bag, professional drag racer John Zappia is poised to make his move.
“We all know when competition is even between competitors, that it’s harder to defend a lead than it is to come from behind” said veteran John Zappia with a smile, “The last few seasons we had a performance advantage – so it was easier to lead and win. But the field is close in performance at the moment and anyone in the final eight could win the event. Gerry and I are full time professional drag racers and we work all day every day on the Striker Monaro at the dedicated Zappia Racing Workshop, and we are constantly trying and learning things to test to improve performance. Sometimes they work and other times they don’t.
“We went 5.814 in Perth at the Nitro Funny Car meeting – quicker than our ANDRA Top Doorslammer National Record, and we beat Juddy in the first round with a killer 0.991 sixty foot time. The pressure is on us more at the local Top Comp meetings, because blown alky is so competitive you need to go five tenths or better under the index to get a win. It seems Top Comp is “on fire” at the moment, with some very exciting racing and teams pushing the envelope and digging deep for innovation. Pressure is an amazing motivator!”
John Zappia will present Craig Pedley’s “Crusher” Striker Monaro for competition and compete with seventeen other Top Doorslammer teams trying to first of all get into the eight car field – then go through three rounds of serious competition.
“While the numbers are encouraging, it really is a four car race in this Championship between West Aussie quick man Judd, myself, New South Welshman Fabietti on a comeback after a serious crash, and young Queenslander Benny Bray”.
“Really we have been combining consistency with experimentation in our local Perth Motorplex rounds. We can dial in a 5.8 tune up – and the Crusher will do it consistently. We have enough data to do that. But I am never happy without improving, experimenting, trying new things – and our engine program is moving in the right direction for even more horsepower. A “five seven” is close – with the right conditions”.
“We know our team has depth – all our volunteer guys do it with a passion, and we have a mixture of “old hands” who have 20 odd years of experience, and the “new turks” who are as keen as mustard to make their mark”.
With two rounds to go in the Top Doorslammer Championship, it will be so close between the top teams and often it is attitude, confidence and the one percent details that make the difference between winning and losing.
“Our confidence is high at the moment in the team. It has not always been that way this season – this is a tough motorsport, and it is very easy to get lost in the tune and setup of the car and go off on tangents. But recently we hit the winning node, and we can feel the confidence and energy amongst the crew”.
“Sydney is a good track for us. It was the venue for our memorable “first in the fives” run in Zap’s Rat, and the track and weather suite us very well. We will be relying on brilliant lubricants from Fuchs to keep things going – our rear bearing wear is negligible at the moment with the good oil, and the Mickey Thompson tyre performance is matching our hard hitting tune. We are seeing some interesting data with clutch settings and wheel speed out of the hole”.
“You may see us start to get aggressive in the sixty foot area of the track – we have always been fairly lazy in that area. It has been a twenty year strategy to built engines with massive torque and gear accordingly. It is in that area we are building confidence. The new Crusher chassis built by SCS Race Cars is just superb, and gives us confidence with more aggressive gearing and clutch settings”.
Qualifying for the Nitro Champs will commence at 6:25pm Friday 30th April with the first qualifier – a chance for teams to stamp their mark on the event. More qualifying starts from 3pm on Saturday 1st May with Round 2, and Round 3 from 6pm. Eliminations begin from 12pm on Sunday 1st May with Round 1, Round 2 from 3pm, and the finals from 4.40pm.
Sponsors, supporters and fans are welcome to come to the pit area and watch the crew in action and purchase merchandise and souvenirs or just to chat to John and the team.
For more details, photos and videos go to www.zapsrat.com.au
Naming Rights Sponsors
Striker Crushing and Screening
Fuchs, United Industries WA, Force Tools Australia, Mickey Thompson, Beta Spuds, Southside Engine Centre and Noonan Race Engineering.
Santhuff, Victory1, B & J Racing Transmissions, Mi Camcorders Mi Camcorders, Veem, Crow Cams, Aero Group, Legend Boatbuilders, Taylor Tyres, Kounis Metal Industries, Bravo Resources, PPG Automotive Refinish, Current Trendz, CIC High Performance Coatings, and Aurora Bearings,