John Zappia's first round loss in the opening round of the 400 Thunder season wasn't the way the former champion wanted to start his season, but with more power than he can use in his Holden Monaro Pro Slammer, Zappia is optimistic for events to come.
Zappia qualified in sixth position at last weekend's East Coast Thunder at Sydney Dragway with a last ditch 5.86/250mph in the third qualifying session.
"Testing went well and we thought it was going in the right direction, then on qualifying day it spits a spark plug out on the first run and runs on seven cylinders for a 6.07," he said. "We lost any real data on that one, then we overpowered the track from 30 feet out on the next run and I pedalled it and ran a 6.03/252mph – which was only good enough to put us on the bump spot.
"We came out for the last one and backed the clutch and tune up off, it rattled the tyres so I pedalled it and went 5.86/250mph. That certainly wasn't ideal as we were up against Ben Bray for round one."
The team changed tact for the first round of eliminations, calming down the 3000 horsepower Holden Monaro as much as they dared to find a way down the track.
"It left slow but it got going and I made it all the way through first gear without having to back off," Zappia recalled. "Then just as I hit top gear it banged the burst panels and coasted to the finish line. It had started nosing over before half track, and still went 3.77 to the eighth mile, which is good for a 5.65/5.66 type run. Something in the fuel system leaned out and I am not quite sure why yet, it was good for all the other runs and a lost opportunity – we got in front and then we gave it back."
Zappia originally planned to wait until the opening round of the WA Summer Slam Series to race next, but he has decided to make a last minute entry to the Goldenstate Championships this Saturday at Perth Motorplex.
"We weren't going to race but there's all this extra power we have now and I want to find out how to use it," he said. "From what I have seen in the data we have found more power than expected, which is why we have been overpowering the start line. Now we need to find the happy medium so we can get the car to launch. We have a 5.6 tune up in the car, but more power – so who knows what is possible?"
The naming rights sponsorship for Zappia Racing remains available for any interested parties, and with the WA season only just firing up there are plenty of opportunities for exposure.
"We are committed to pursuing not just the national 400 Thunder series but also WA's awesome Summer Slam, which gives us the most racing opportunities of any team in the country. We'd love to have someone aboard to be a part of that journey with us," Zappia said.