Saturday January 29 at Perth Motorplex. A full field of 8 Top Doorslammers rolled into the track to do battle in front of a few thousand fans on a sweltering hot day. As always with hot temperatures, concerns over track performance and engine tuning are on everyone’s minds.
Round 3 of the Direct Mining & Industrial Summer Slam Series, Perth Motorplex’s own home-grown championship bracket for Top Doorslammers, we should be so lucky to have a full field of these things in our own backyard!
Coming into the round, The championship standings sit as a TIE, between defending champion and Round 1 winner John Zappia (Zappia Racing Holden Monaro), and Stu Moresby (Dannani Hotshots Studebaker), both on 145 points. Moreseby is the most recent winner in the series, finding some amazing form on his way to claim his first ever Top Doorslammer event win at the 47th Annual Goldenstate Championships last November. Daniel Gregorini (Scratch & Match Chevy Camaro) sits 3rd, just 10 points shy.
Marty Dack comes into Round #3 well and truly out of the picture. Dack only competed in the 2nd round of the series – the Goldenstates, marking the end of an 18-month sabbatical since his underdog win at the 49th Annual Westernationals – back in 2020.
The Dack Attack motorsports team are seemingly used to being underdogs in this game though, memories of that Westernationals weekend still in their minds. Marty barely qualified for the 8-car field (by 0.02s), before defeating Kelvin Lyle, Steve Aldridge and Mark Chapman consecutively to claim the ANDRA Gold Christmas tree almost 2 years ago.
On his return, things feel different in the pits around the Dack Attack Ford Mustang, with Aaron Deery (ADR Engines) on hand to assist Josh McClennan on tuning duties…there’s a smile on everyone’s face, and a feel of general relaxation around the car.
Dack rolls out for the main qualifying session at Nitro SLAM – 5.30pm, in front of thousands of fans. Paired up to run alongside John Zappia for a first pass 6.160 @ 388.85kph to park the Mustang into the #3 spot in qualifying, Zappia stuns the fans with a 5.778s pass @ 405.6kph to be Top Qualifier for the night – more of the same for the Champ. Steve Aldridge parks himself and the Crown Security Plymouth Barracuda between pair, into the #2 spot with a 5.970 @ 397.45kph.
The format for Summer Slam is a tough one, due to the time constraints of a single-day event, the Eliminations are condensed into a single round. the 8 Car field runs in 4 pairs. The 2 winners with the fastest Elapsed Times (ET) then head into the ‘A’ final to race for the win, the other 2 winners head to the ‘B’ final to race for 3rd and fourth on the night.
Matt Abel (57 Chev Belair) defeated Steve Aldridge (Crown Security Plymouth Barracuda) with a 6.156s @ 373.45kph run, only good enough to sort into the B final.
Kelvin Lyle (Direct Mining & Industrial ’57 Ford Mustang) faced off against the Dannani Hotshots Studebaker of Stu Moresby. The race was mighty close at the half track marker before Kelvin’s mustang got out of shape, sideswiping the left side wall just before the finish line, sending Kelvin careening over into the right hand (Rocket) lane where he pulled the parachutes to straighten the car up. A terrifying few moments as Kelvins car then drove THROUGH one of the parachutes of Stu Moreseby, and passing the Studebaker on the right-hand-side against the wall. To the delight of the crowd; both cars stopped at the end of the track safely, Stu Moreseby taking the win with a 6.272s pass at 373.76kph, destined for the B-final.
After failing to fire up for the compulsory qualifying at 5.30pm, Daniel Gregorini (Scratch & Match Motorsports Camaro) frantically went to work in the pits, chasing an electrical issue in the ’68 Camaro to make it out for the Eliminations. Gregorini made it back out… as the #8 qualifier to face off against #1 John Zappia. A 0.016s Red-light for Gregorini sealed his fate, while Zappia pushed on with a 5.774 @ 406.65kph to earn himself another A-final appearance.
Marty would draw for battle against the #6 qualifier in the field, Pino Priolo (Mader Group ’37 Chevy Coupe). Priolo had Marty covered on reaction time, but found trouble down track, allowing the Dack Attack mustang to find its groove and rocket past on a 5.909s pass @ 398.65kph, locking Marty into an A-final duel with John Zappia.
“The second run we analyzed where we could improve (from qualifying) and the car stuck the whole run for a 5.90 taking the win against Pino and setting up a finals berth against John..” – Marty Dack reflecting on his Elimination run
In an interview before the A-Final, John Zappia said “We haven’t had (tire) shake the last 2 runs with this setup, and its been consistent. We’re going to leave the car be and see what we can do in the final.”
Time for the final, the business end of a huge night of racing.
John Zappia takes the Right (Rocket) lane, Marty Dack in the Left (Aeroflow) lane.
Dack leaves on a green light with a 0.034s reaction time, a whole 0.072s before Zappia, who chases him down for the length of the quarter-mile. Dack manages to hold on an cross the line first, a 5.890 @ 397.87 for a Holeshot win over Zappia with a 5.867 @ 405.17 – the winning margin only 0.049s (approximately 5.5 meters)
“For the final we had two options, to step the car up or tweak it slightly and give John a good run for his money to keep him honest…We elected to try and repeat the run before to show the car is behaving as it should, and with the air coming around to us (dropping the corrected altitude) we figured the slight horsepower gains should be good for a few numbers on the big end”
The round win makes Marty the third different driver to win a round of Summer slam so far this season, his first win since the 49th Annual Westernationals in 2020. Also the first time an “auto” (Torque converter/Liberty 5speed transmission) car has won at Perth Motorplex since Kelvin Lyle at the same event last year (Nitro Slam – January 2, 2021).
Dack Attack Motorsports are now setting their sights on the 51st Annual Westernationals, due to run over the Labour Day long weekend in March (March 4, 5, 6 2022)
“Overall a good baseline to begin our campaign at the westernationals knowing that we have a solid consistent 5.8 car.. remembering this is only the 6th full pass since switching to the MSD Coil on plug system and a 4 link change…we will analyse the data to see where we can improve and give the 51st western nationals a good hit out” – Marty Dack
Leaving Nitro SLAM – John Zappia now holds a small lead in the Direct Mining & Industrial Summer Slam Series – with 225 points over Stu Moresby in second (215 points) and Daniel Gregorini third (185 points). Marty Dack has lifted himself to #6 in the standings with 145 points.