John Zappia confirms new national record at Winternats
Western Australia’s John Zappia has annexed a new Australian Elapsed Time record for Top Doorslammer at day three of the Fuchs Winternationals, bettering his time from yesterday in qualifying three to confirm the new mark.
To set a new record under ANDRA rules, drivers must complete their next pass within one percent of the previous pass and Zappia was able to do that in the red hot qualifications for the Doorslammer category, which produced the fastest field in Australian history.
Zappia tore down the strip with a quicker 5.745 allow his 5.753 second lap from yesterday to re-write the record books.
The ordinarily under-stated Zappia has been uncharacteristic with the jubilation he has shown with the performance of his iconic Fuchs HQ Monaro right throughout the weekend.
Joining him in the field was Victorian Championship leader, Peter Kapiris. Kapiris was outside the eight car field this morning but settled his machine to qualify second quickest with a 5.781. Marty Dack was a surprise third placed qualifier with Stuart Bishop, Murray O’Connor, Mark Belleri, Ben Bray and Maurice Fabietti completing the field. Victor Bray was out-qualified and couldn’t force his way into the field in the final qualifying session.
In Top Fuel, nobody was able to best Phil Lamattina’s time from yesterday, however Tommy Johnson Jr joined the Victorian with exactly the same lap time – 4.610. It was the American’s best run in Australia aboard his Rapisarda Autosport International machine. Lamattina however has been credited with the number one qualifier spot through his superior speed.
Darren Morgan had a mixed day, a suspected oil pressure issue saw him shut down the car on the start line ahead of qualifying three before coming out with a 4.71 second pass in the final session. Although that was his best time of the weekend, he dropped from second fastest yesterday to fourth quickest today.
Last up winner at Willowbank, Steve Read set a pass of 4.734 in the third session setting for another strong run on his home track.
American based Australian, Rhett Lougheed set a new national speed record in Pro Stock Motorcycle – sitting atop the time sheets in the premier motorcycle category with a 189.55mph pass.
In Pro Stock, some big names were eliminated in the opening round. Last round winner, Lee Bektash was the first to go out when he raced against Wayne Daley. Tyronne Tremayne was lucky to advance when both he and Ian Brown both red lighted. Under the first or worst rule, Tremayne was able to set up a battle in round two against his brother Aaron tomorrow.
In the other big Pro Stock matchup, defending Winternationals Champion, Shane Tucker was able to eliminate defending ANDRA Champion, Michael Ali.
In Top Alcohol, the Lucas Oils Funny Car of 16 times Australian Champion, Gary Phillips established the pace with a 5.522 second pass. Local racer, Steve Reed was unfortunate to miss the field along with other big names in Wayne Newby and Debbie O’Rourke. Another on the outside is fellow female racer Katherine Shaw, making her drag racing return.
In Top Bike, Chris Porter maintained his position at the head of the field.
Earlier in the day, Pac Performance’s George Rehayem punched out the world’s quickest and fastest performance for a rotary vehicle with a 6.475 second pass at 222.84 miles per hour. The bracket’s Scott Porter went on to win the event from Archie Kajewski.
Another insane crowd turned out for the biggest drag racing event outside of the USA and they weren’t disappointed with some sensational action right throughout the day. Willowbank Raceway officials have been extremely happy with the crowds that have populated Queensland’s major drag racing facility.
Eliminations continue for Pro Stock and begin for each other professional level category tomorrow from 10:30am (approximately). Finals to crown the Winternationals Champions will take place tomorrow afternoon.