John Zappia unleashes his national record-breaking form at Willowbank Raceway.
John Zappia unleashes his national record-breaking form at Willowbank Raceway. Dragphotoscomau

Zappia zaps national record in Willowbank Raceway blitz

WEST Australian John Zappia and his FUCHS-Striker Monaro had the fans on their feet at Willowbank Raceway yesterday.

Zappia ran the quickest pass for the Top Doorslammer bracket in the country to reset the national elapsed time record during qualifying for the Winternationals.

With qualifying for all brackets complete, Zappia and his fellow ANDRA Pro Series racers will be on track today for the final day.

With cars taking to the quarter-mile from 8.30am, the official opening ceremony will be held at 10.30am ahead of the start of eliminations racing for the ANDRA Pro Series bracket.

Finals for all brackets are to be held from 2.30pm.

Yesterday's pass by Zappia is the quickest Top Doorslammer pass recorded in Australia.

It bettered Zappia's 2012 Winternationals result, the existing record (also set by Zappia) and the 'under record' pass he set on Saturday (5.753 seconds) to see him officially re-write the record books.

Under ANDRA rules, for a driver to reset a record they must run a second pass within 1% of the time before the end of the same event (known as 'backing it up').

"In last night's 'five-seventy' pass, the car went to the right towards the centre line so we came back and looked at the data and made some fine adjustments overnight," Zappia said.

"Today we went out there and the car did well. It went pretty straight and pulled very well down the track.

"I thought it was a good run, but it is always hard to tell times and what not.

"The guys down the end of the track told me they thought it was a '5.75' and that I had backed up the record. But then my team showed up and said no, it was even quicker - a 5.74 second effort.

"Not only had I reset the record, I had gone even quicker and set a personal best for both ET and mile per hour - so I was very happy with that.

"When it comes to race day, anything can happen. We have a car that has just done two back-to-back 'five-seven' passes, so now it is time to just focus on myself and my reaction times."

Also claiming the top of the ANDRA Pro Series qualifying sheets yesterday were Phil Lamattina (Top Fuel), Zappia (Top Doorslammer), Gary Phillips (Top Alcohol), Chris Porter (Top Bike) and Aussie-born US resident Rhett Lougheed (Pro Stock Bike).

In Pro Stock, the 16 car field enjoyed their first round of eliminations yesterday afternoon, with eight racers making it through today.

They are Wayne Daley, Tyronne Tremayne, Aaron Tremayne, Shane Tucker, Rick Chilton, American Brandon Huhtala, Chris Soldatos and top qualifier Jason Grima.