Zappia knocked out a 5.585 second time in qualifying to set a new track record, eclipsing the previous best of 5.629 set by New South Wales’ Paul Mouhayet in 2018.
The run was not a fluke, as Zappia followed up with a 5.615 and a 5.617 before a 5.622 in the final round to defeat Daniel Gregorini’s 5.653 in the quickest side-by-side Top Doorslammer race ever seen.
Zappia said his ultra-quick qualifying pass was on a perfect edge.
“It blew me away because it didn’t feel that fast,” he said. “The car was loose and so was the track but it just hung on enough to keep it going.”
The final round between Zappia and Gregorini had fans on their feet as the two intense rivals stayed locked together for the entire quarter mile strip.
“The car left really well, though I shifted to third gear early and we lost a little bit of time on the 5.62,” Zappia said. “We stepped up to another level during the event. All the one percenters we have been playing with came together and the planets aligned. We learned a lot and the car is also going straighter than ever, which has given me more confidence.”
The Summer Slam proved a wild affair with three spectacular incidents during the elimination round. Kelvin Lyle had his Ford Mustang on two wheels at well over 200kmh, while Mark Chapman saved his Plymouth Fury from severe damage when he turned 180 degrees to face the start line after spinning the tyres. Not so lucky was Stuart Moresby, whose Studebaker made hard contact with the braking area walls after his parachutes failed to deploy.
A capacity crowd turned out for the event, despite the Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Car headliners being stuck on the Nullarbor due to a highway closure caused by bush fires.
Nitro Funny Car racers Andrew Katavatis and Matt Abel from Northern Territory, who was driving Rory Taylor Nitro Thunder still turned out to put on a show, with Katavatis taking out the night’s match racing 2-1, as well as running the quickest time with a 5.601 clocking.
Wayne McGuinness dropped one of the most impressive passes of the event to win Top Bike, smashing his personal best with a stunning 6.524 second victory against Benny Stevens, who set new personal best of his own earlier in the day with a 6.632.
Other winners on the night included Wayne Keys (Top Comp), Todd Stacy (Super Comp), Trent Anthony (Comp Bike), Jodie Mellitt (Supercharged Outlaws), Chris Roe (Top Sportsman), Kevin Boulton (Outlaw Radial), Cory Treasure (Modified), Mick Fenton (Super Sedan), Chris Allen (Modified Bike), Richard Stevens (Super Street) and Brodie Zappia (Junior Dragster).
Story Credit – Luke Nieuwhof
Photo Credit – Phil Luyer