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John Zappia Top Qualifies at Nitro Champs, but no Luck on Race Day!

John Zappia endured a somewhat cursed Nitro Champs at Sydney Dragway, with his Dananni Hotshots/Fuchs Lubricants Monaro Top Doorslammer encountering problem after problem.

The event began with a bad omen, as Zappia’s car broke a blower belt right on the start line during the first qualifying session — a rare occurrence.

John Zappia Crow Cams Top Qualifier
John Zappia Crow Cams Top Qualifier

The team replaced the belt and returned for Q2 where they unleashed a super-quick 5.65 pass.“I had to use up the whole lane, from the wall to the centre line,” Zappia said. “That 5.65 was the number one qualifying pass and took out the Crow Cams Top Qualifier Award. The bad news was that when the car got to the finish line I felt the motor vibrate and I knew something had gone wrong.”

The team decided to skip the third qualifying session so they could dive into the high-horsepower Noonan motor. With more damage than could be repaired overnight, the B motor was called into service.

A first round solo would allow Zappia to get some valuable data and set his weekend straight. At least, that was the plan.“We came out for the run and I realised the auto shift box had no power,” he said. “We only had first gear. I decided to do a first gear burnout and then do what I could on the run. The car left well, it revved up through first gear and then I got off it and coasted, knowing I had no more gears.”

After the pass, the team found a power wire had been pulled out of the crimp. The same issue was likely what caused the engine damage the previous night.“We were up against Jeremy Callaghan in the second round of racing. He’s also got a Noonan engine and all the right equipment to run quick. We hadn’t seen what he was capable of until our race when he went 0.007 on the tree and 5.69! I was slower on the reaction times and even though we ran 5.66 we wouldn’t get the win light. We were happy with the performance of the B motor but it was certainly a lost opportunity.”

In the final round, Zappia was hoping to salvage some championship points, but the event remained cursed as a transmission leak saw the Dananni Hotshots/Fuchs Lubricants Monaro shut down on the start line.

With that, all there was left to do was to return to Perth to begin the turnaround process ahead of a trip back east for the Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway.“It was always the plan to come back to Perth, we just have more work than we planned on,” laughed Zappia. “We got everything out and we are going through the A motor now, along with changing all the seals and o-rings in the Ty-Drive and torque converter. “We are now 24 points behind Russell Taylor in the Australian Top Doorslammer Championship, which is going to make it tough. It’s his championship to lose right now, so we just need to put the pressure on and make no mistakes from here.”

“Thanks to all our sponsors and supporters who are there for us at every meeting, whether in person or cheering for us watching live on Seven Plus (7+). We will be giving the Championship our best shot at Willowbank Raceway (June 6 – 9) and hope we can make our sponsors and supporters proud.”


Facebook: Zappia Racing 

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