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The Fight Isn’t Over For Brodie Zappia

Brodie Zappia’s season of thrashing is not yet over as his JK Construction Supercharged Outlaws Camaro suffered more engine damage during racing at the Slinglift Summer Slam last weekend.

Just getting to the track had been an epic effort for Brodie, the nephew of Australian Top Doorslammer legend John Zappia, after his engine sustained damage just two weeks previously at the Goldenstates Championship.

“We picked up a second hand crank the week before racing and got it off to Applied Automotive Engineering to get the rotating assembly balanced,” Brodie said. “Meanwhile we had ordered some Callies Ultra Enforcer rods to replace the two we couldn’t salvage from the Goldenstates. The other rods were resized and together with a new set of bearings we re-assembled the motor.”

It was all hands-on deck among the Zappia Racing team. With John’s Dananni Hotshots/Fuchs Lubricants Top Doorslammer already prepared for the Summer Slam, Brodie’s Camaro got some love under the close eye of some of the most experienced crew members in the game.

“We had all the crew helping on Thursday night before racing to get the crank in,” Brodie said. “It’s finicky and hard, so it was great to have them helping out and showing me the way.”

Given the extent of the engine problems at the Goldenstates, it was an incredible feat to be ready again to keep fighting for the Supercharged Outlaws championship.

Having the car started at 12.00pm the day of racing, after spending all night working on it, then to pack up and make the first pass at 3.00pm was a credit to Brodie’s never say die attitude. Something in the Zappia genes that John and Brodie inherited.

Qualifying began well, with the JK Construction Camaro descending into the six-second zone once more thanks to a 6.999/201mph pass. 

“After the run we checked the filter for bearing material,” Brodie said. “There were a few more specks but that was to be expected with brand new bearings. John advised that I should probably drop the timing back down given the better air conditions.”

Despite bringing the engine down to an even safer horsepower level, it surprised both Brodie and the team with a 7.04 in the second qualifying session.

“With lowered timing we expected to go much slower, but we were very happy. The oil pressure and everything looked good on the run.”

A routine inspection of the oil filter after the pass revealed some concerns. More metal was found and Brodie began asking the brains trust in the pits what their thoughts were.

“Some people were telling me to pack it up, some people said you might get away with it. I decided to pull the sump with minutes to go. I checked a couple of bearings, but in retrospect I didn’t check one that was likely hurt. I showed Uncle John and a few people around the camp and the consensus was I probably shouldn’t run it. But I took a little bit of hope from other inputs and gave it a go. It was a coin-flip decision but unfortunately what was to come proved that I was wrong.”

In the burnout for eliminations, Brodie felt the car start to harmonic. He looked at the gauges and saw there was zero oil pressure — not to mention smoke coming from the top of the motor.

“We took it back to the pits and took off a very full nappy, revealing a hole in both sides of the sump and a rod out the side. Obviously, we were devastated. We pulled it down Monday, and then found that the number seven rod had kicked, damaging number eight in the process. One of the pistons rotated 180 degrees in the bore. The rear crank journal is black, dented and bent at the big end and there’s a few chips and cracks out of sleeves in the block. The cast iron block is cracked aswell. We also destroyed the intake and exhaust valves on number seven, the rocker and lifter, and the cam is bent as well.”

The cause of the failure is not yet obvious to the team.

“We haven’t found a reason just yet. We will continue to diagnose it and see what we can find so hopefully it doesn’t happen again. It wasn’t a result of the rush, because we triple-checked everything and had a lot of people looking over the motor as it went back together.”

Once again, Brodie is staring down another intense few weeks as he works to get the motor back together.

“It’s getting parts that is tough. Hopefully we can get new valves from the States in time. The only other option would be to sit out and wait until parts get here. But that’s not something I want to do. I haven’t been short of trying and it is not going to stop now even with plenty of curveballs. Somehow and some way we will be back out to fight for that championship”.

Brodie and the team wish to thank all our sponsors and supporters a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New year, and hope to catch up with as many of you as possible in 2024.

Facebook: @zappiaracing 

Naming Rights Sponsor:

JK Construction

Major Sponsors:

Dannani Haulage (Hotshots)

Supporting Sponsors:

B.L. & S.G. Lake Brick Cartage

Photo Credits: On The Limit Photography and Phil Reeves Sports Photographer

Social Media & Marketing by ROBMEDIA 


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