John Zappia rocketed to an incredible 5.613-second pass to become the quickest Top Doorslammer racer down the brand new The Bend Motorsport Park drag strip.
The venue played host to the opening round of the National Drag Racing Championship season, the Spring Nationals. Sellout crowds filled the facility to watch Australia’s professional drag racers do battle on the quarter-mile strip.
Zappia’s Dananni Hotshots/Fuchs Lubricants Monaro had plenty of performance on tap, but also encountered issues that held it back from its full potential. The first of those was a test pass on Friday, when a malfunctioning kill switch saw the car unable to start. Returning for qualifying on Saturday and racing on Sunday, Zappia was still unable to get a number on the board.
“The car was staged a bit to the left in the first round against Daniel Gregorini,” he explained. “It rattled the tires and got out of the groove, so I pedalled it but by then I was in the dust at the edge of the track and I put a slight graze on the car against the brand new concrete walls.”
The seeding system gave Zappia a chance for revenge and when Daniel’s car had problems, Zappia was able to seize an open track for a stunning 5.613 pass.
“I had to steer the car back into the groove but the numbers were really impressive. We went 0.940 to 60 feet and 3.68/204mph to the eighth. We were down on speed but I had the track record and I thought everything was okay.”
In the pits, Zappia was readying for the next round of racing when a nasty surprise was discovered in the engine containment blanket.
“We were just checking the bearings to make sure everything was ready to go for the finals when one of the boys said there was a hole in the block,” Zappia said. “We believe that there was a blocked fuel nozzle that leaned out cylinder number five and caused it to punch a rod out.
“The air was 180 feet above sea level, with just 40 water grains. It was brutal, powerful air. We had the most fuel going into the motor that we have ever had and the least amount of ignition timing. Even backed off, to have a 5.61 come up was incredible.”
Zappia realised that time was against the Dananni Hotshots/Fuchs Lubricants team and decided that they would have to miss the final round.
“We just wouldn’t have been able to make the turnaround,” he said. “All we could do was pack the car up and get ready to head home for Perth a little earlier than we would have liked.”
The team will use their spare engine for the first round of the WA Top Doorslammer Championship on November 11 at Perth Motorplex.
“Other than some teething problems that affect every new venue, The Bend Motorsport Park was fantastic. The actual track surface is very smooth and as it continues to rubber up the wall-to-wall traction will get better and better. We sold the most merchandise we’ve ever sold at any event; the Adelaide drag racing community is passionate and we’re glad to see them have this brand new venue to use.” A big thank you to Sam Shahin for this amazing complex.
Zappia Racing also wish to thank Impact Heavy Equipment Maintenance for coming on-board for the 2023-2024 season.
In other news from the Zappia Racing team John’s nephew, Brodie debuted his upgraded Procharged 97 Camaro at the Bend in the Supercharged Outlaws bracket and entered the 200 mph club in his first full pass. Yesterday at Perth Motorplex he was able to go one better by entering the 6 second club (6.97) and also winning the event. More to come in his media release this week.