INDIANAPOLIS (September 5, 2016)— While her quest for the 2016 NHRA U.S. Nationals title may have been cut short, Alexis DeJoria’s dream to become the 2016 Funny Car World Champion is still alive. DeJoria secured her third consecutive NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoff berth at the 62nd annual U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Monday afternoon.
“We made it into the Top 10 Countdown to the Championship in dramatic fashion,” said DeJoria, who took to the track for the first time since fracturing her pelvis at Sonoma Raceway in late July.
“I really didn’t expect to have to miss out on two races due to my injury and still be able to swing it, but we made it. The guys gave me a great car. We’ve won some big rounds throughout the season. We got the win in Vegas; all of that helped us to get to this point. I’m just really proud of everybody.”
DeJoria, the 2014 U.S. Nationals Funny Car Champion, entered the prestigious Indianapolis event in 10th place with an 87-point buffer between her and 11th ranked Chad Head. In order to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship and have an opportunity to run for the 2016 Funny Car title, DeJoria must have finished out the four-day event in the 10th spot.
The Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car team made three consistent three-second passes throughout qualifying, placing DeJoria in the No. 10 qualifying spot on the U.S. Nationals Funny Car ladder. She faced her teammate, No. 7 qualifier Del Worsham, in the first round of eliminations on Monday morning.
“We made three really solid runs in qualifying, but it’s been a minute. We haven’t been out here for about a month, so we’re just getting back in to the groove,” said DeJoria, who worked hard, undergoing physical therapy, low-level laser treatments and pulsed electromagnetic field therapy in an effort to return to the track as quickly as possible.
Prior to the Kalitta intramural match-up, Team Patrón watched as Countdown hopeful Head raced John Force in the previous pairing. Head set off the win light, putting him one step closer to the coveted 10th Countdown spot, keeping his Championship chances alive.
Following the Head/Force matchup were the Kalitta Camrys. DeJoria and Worsham left the line together but the Patrón Toyota Camry lost traction almost immediately, allowing Worsham the round win.
The first round loss meant that DeJoria and her Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry teammates were deemed spectators and would have to wait and watch as Head’s race day unfolded, determining their Countdown fate.
Fortunately for the Patrón team, Head’s day would end in round two, securing DeJoria the No. 10 spot in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship.
“We didn’t go rounds today, but man does it feel good to be back in this race car with my team and my teammates. I ended up getting taken out by my teammate, but they ran a really good number,” said the four-time Funny Car winner.
“As far as the Championship goes, it’s anybody’s game at this point. We have six races left and we’re going to fight hard. We’re a good team, and we have experience through and through. I’m excited to be a player again in the Top 10.”
Alexis DeJoria and the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car team begin their campaign for the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car title at the ninth annual NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway, September 16th. They will begin the Countdown to the Championship from the No. 10 spot.
Photos courtesy of Gary Nastase Photography. Hi res images available upon request
About Alexis DeJoria
Alexis DeJoria is a professional race car driver competing in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. DeJoria drives the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry as a member of the legendary Kalitta Motorsports team. DeJoria, who had all of the opportunity in the world to pursue any type of career, felt strongly about following her passion, and her need for adrenaline drove her to pursue the unlikely profession of auto-racing. The determination to ‘blaze her own trail’ continues to drive her and push her to higher levels in the sport of NHRA drag racing. She is a four-time Funny Car winner and made history when she became the first woman to compete in 100 Funny Car events.
About Tequila Patrón
From hand-harvesting the highest-quality 100 percent Weber Blue Agave, to the traditional, time-honored distillation process and individual labeling, numbering, and inspection of each bottle, Patrón tequila is crafted with meticulous precision and care. Though Patrón has grown to become one of the most-recognized and respected luxury spirits brands in the world, it is still exclusively produced in the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, in the same small batches and with the same commitment to quality and craftsmanship. For more information about Patrón tequilas and liqueurs, please visit www.patrontequila.com.