CURRENT AND PAST DOORSLAMMER RECORD HOLDERS TO SQUARE OFF IN SYDNEY
John Zappia has always had a swagger, an American description to walk in confidence, while in his Australian homeland. Winning an unprecedented ten Top Doorslammer championships has a lot to do with this level of confidence.
Zappia, who is aligned with fellow Australians Noonan Race Engineering, joined them in the United States for a United States tour which included participation in Professional Drag Racing Association [PDRA] events.
Zappia returned to Perth this week and made the haul over to Sydney Dragway to participate in the AC Delco East Coast Thunder – The Nationals, Round 2 of the Thunder 400 Pro Slammer 2018 Championship continues.
What Zappia branded as his "80 Day USA Tour" ended with a semi-final finish at the PDRA World Finals, and an even larger accomplishment which transcends all borders.
Zappia became the quickest and fastest doorslammer racer in the world on October 21, stopping the clocks with a 5.424 elapsed time at 265.33mph on the day after Pro Extreme portion of the event had been completed.
“We’ve had an amazing time, and It’s been a dream come true,” Zappia said. “To race the quickest Pro Extreme Doorslammers in the world, to compete amongst the best and to come away with a World Record is pretty remarkable."
What makes Zappia's achievement impressive is he did it in a Jerry Bickel-built 1969 Camaro with 20 runs, and left-hand drive. Down in Australia, Zappia runs a Holden Monaro, which is a traditional Aussie right-hand driven doorslammer. Additionally, Zappia's traditional car is a clutch car.
The Noonan USA car was equipped with an auto combination, then converted to a Boninfante clutch and B&J 3 speed gearbox.
"We had to make a call on the setup for an unknown car," Zappia confirmed. "To be in the top half of the field was a big effort from the whole team."
The driver with whom Zappia snatched the supercharged doorslammer record from, American Frankie Taylor, will get a glimpse of what Zappia experienced this weekend in Sydney, as he was brought in to drive for Victor Bray, another decorated Aussie Top Doorslammer racer.
Bray, who didn't have medical clearance to race this weekend, brought in Taylor to drive an identically-built Gulf Western-sponsored Top Doorslammer 1979 Corvette like the one fielded by Ben Bray.
Fortunately for Taylor, the Murray Anderson-built entry is also a left-hand drive car as he is accustomed to, which made the learning curve limited to corralling the new, and essentially unproven race car.
Taylor tested last week at Willowbank Raceway, outside of Brisbane.
Taylor, who has a personal best of 5.47, 263, made the first four passes on the car.
“I am really happy with how testing went – after only four passes in a brand new car, we recorded a five-second pass and that was with an early shut-off," Taylor said.
The two will square off this week in Sydney, Round 2 of the 400 Thunder professional drag racing series.
“Sixteen cars have entered for the event, which is a strong turnout with some hard hitters amongst those," Zappia confirmed. "We will have to be on top of our game to do well – we don’t take anything for granted despite our previous years’ success. Each season is a new one and we currently sit third behind Gary Philips and Paul Mouhayet – with new technology and US tuners appearing regularly, the game has changed in Doorslammer in Australia and that will make it an even better spectacle than it already is."
And speaking of spectacles, Zappia is already planning another U.S. tour.
“We have purchased the Camaro roller from Jamie and Renee Noonan, and we will leave it here in the USA for the next season of PDRA racing, providing we can pick up sponsors for the 2018 USA Tour," Zappia confirmed. "We will be back to try and go one better. We are in discussions with several parties, but we are open to talking to new sponsors who would like to come on board and help us to take the No.1 Door Car record.”
And nothing spruces up the swagger like being the quickest and fastest doorslammer racer in the world.