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Early Season Pace Has Zappia Excited

John Z

Zappia might not have walked away with the trophy at the opening round of the Summer Slam season on Saturday, but the Dananni Hotshots/Fuchs Lubricants team left full of optimism for the season ahead.

The positive day began with a 5.752 pass in the single-shot qualifying session that would set the field for the sixth annual Powerpalooza, a motorsports festival that includes drag racing, speedway, burnouts and more at Perth Motorplex.

“We were a little down on speed at 249mph but besides that we couldn’t complain,” Zappia said. “We were number one, ahead of Daniel Gregorini’s 5.828 and Matt Abel’s 5.868.”

That would set up a round one encounter with Pino Priolo’s ’37 Chevy. As the last pair of racers for the round, Zappia watched his potential finals opponents run first, with Kelvin Lyle’s 6.042 the pass to beat if Zappia was to make the A Final. Unfortunately, the racing gods were not on his side.

“As soon as I let go of the transbrake the car started misfiring and hosing fuel out of the pipes,” he said. “We only ran 6.36, but we did get the win light against Pino so we could at least salvage a B Final appearance.”

Back in the pits, the team discovered the Dananni Hotshots/Fuchs Lubricants Monaro had only been running on five cylinders, with two faulty spark plugs and a damaged spark plug lead. A very zen Zappia acknowledged that he couldn’t control the manufacturing process of parts and could only set himself up for the best chance in the B Final against Mark Chapman.

“We obviously didn’t have much data from the previous round, so we made some little suspension changes and put a bit more into the tune up. It must have worked because the car left with a 0.972 60 foot time and felt absolutely awesome to half track. We clicked a 5.69/253mph, which was our quickest pass in a couple of years — we didn’t run a 5.6 at all last season.”

Zappia said there was about 13 kilograms of weight that could still be taken out of the car (and the driver), giving the team plenty of confidence as they target the second round of Summer Slam as well as the second round of the ADRC series at the Goldenstates at Perth Motorplex on the 11-12th November.

“This is a really good start to the season and we are making inroads on the Ty-Drive and converter with the three-speed B&J transmission. I’m sure there is more to come.

“This weekend we are going to be back at the Motorplex competing in Top Comp and doing some more testing to work on the consistency of the car. We were all a bit rusty after a long break but with two events on consecutive weekends, and the Goldenstates just over two weeks away, we are all going to get lots of practice.”


Photos thanks to: Phil Reeves Dragsmedia Ian Moore Phil Luyer

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