Race Reports

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COMMERCE, Ga. (May 19, 2014)— After a day of lengthy rain delays, five pairs of Top Fuel dragsters attempted to make it down the track for the first round of eliminations at Sunday’s Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals before the call was made to postpone the remainder of the race until Monday morning. A thick fog greeted racers and fans as they arrived at Atlanta Dragway on Monday morning for the remainder of pro eliminations, and it was another morning of waiting before Funny Car’s No. 1 qualifier, Alexis DeJoria, pulled up to the line for the first round versus No. 16 qualifier Tony Pedregon.

With the advantage of lane choice and first selection in pairing order, DeJoria and her Kalitta Motorsports Patrón XO Cafe Toyota Camry Funny Car team elected to race in the seventh pairing. While waiting for their turn, they watched car after car smoke the tires and struggle to get down the track. Unfortunately, the black-and-purple team suffered the same fate as many of their competitors. Their 10,000-horsepower Toyota Camry shook the tires approximately 100-feet into the run, and although DeJoria did an excellent job of pedaling the car- getting it to hook back up and quickly recover- T. Pedregon crossed the stripe first, ending the XO Cafe team’s day.

“Between all of the delays, and wild runs, it was a crazy weekend here in Atlanta,” said No. 3 ranked DeJoria. “But, we got our first number one qualifier with that track record run of 4.012-seconds at 313.95-mph [Q2], my Funny Car teammate Del [Worsham] got the track speed record, and my other teammate Doug [Kalitta] got the number one qualifier in Top Fuel and also set a track record, so that was awesome. Unfortunately, when it came down to eliminations, today just wasn’t our day. We went out there, shook the tires; I pedaled it and got it to recover really well- a lot better than the last time I had pedaled it, actually. It’s a learning experience, but I’m getting better with that [pedaling] every time I go down the track, so it was a good lesson. Today’s first round loss was only our second of the season, which is pretty good, so we’ve got to focus on the positive and move on to Topeka with our heads held high.”

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COMMERCE, Ga. (May 17, 2014)— During the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals’ driver introduction ceremony on Sunday morning, Alexis DeJoria will be announced as the No. 1 Funny Car qualifier for the first time in her career.

The Kalitta Motorsports driver grabbed the No. 1 spot in her Patrón XO Cafe Toyota Camry with a run of 4.012-seconds at 313.95-mph during Q2, leaving Atlanta Dragway on Friday night with her first provisional No. 1 qualifier. Saturday offered two qualifying sessions for the competition to knock her from the top, but no other team even came close, allowing DeJoria to hold on to the No. 1 spot. She will have lane choice when she squares off against No. 16 qualifier Tony Pedregon in round one of eliminations.

“It feels great to get my first No. 1 qualifier- it’s huge,” said DeJoria, who is currently ranked No. 3 in the NHRA Funny Car point standings. “It was one of those things Tommy [DeLago, crew chief] and Glen [Huszar, co-crew chief] were really striving for this season because our team had never done it before. Our team has been working so hard, and everyone has really connected and come together this year.”

2014 has been a season of firsts for DeJoria- her first Funny Car win, her first sub-four second run, and now in addition to adding first No. 1 qualifier, she can also add first track record to her growing list of accomplishments, as the Q2 run broke Atlanta Dragway’s record for quickest elapsed time.

Prior to the weekend, DeJoria’s best qualifying spot was third, which came about when she ran a 3.997-second run during the season opener in Pomona, earning her the title of first woman in Funny Car history to make a sub-four second run. Since that weekend, the successes have continued, with DeJoria picking up her first Funny Car win in Phoenix, and backing it up just a few weeks later with her second win in Las Vegas.

“Kalitta Motorsports is really having a great year, and Atlanta is no exception,” she said. “We got the track record for ET, my teammate Del [Worsham] got it for speed, and my other teammate, Doug [Kalitta], who’s also No. 1 right now, got the ET track record in Top Fuel. That’s the first time ever in Kalitta Motorsports’ history that that has been done, and it’s exciting to be a part of that.”

With NHRA’s ‘100th female win’ title still looming on the horizon, many are counting DeJoria and friend Erica Enders-Stevens, Pro Stock’s No. 1 qualifier, as the front runners to claim that title. When asked how she felt about the possibility of grabbing the ‘100th win’ tomorrow, DeJoria said, “I feel like we should make a big deal about it when it happens. If it happens tomorrow, great, but we just want to keep going rounds, and not let it become a distraction. We’ll do what we always do on Sundays- take each round one at a time. First things first- we’ve got to get past Tony Pedregon. As long as we remain consistent, we have a great shot of putting this Patrón XO Cafe Toyota Camry back in the Winners Circle for the third time this year.”

Eliminations begin at 11AM EST on Sunday, May 18. For more information please visit www.alexisdejoria.com, Follow Us on Twitter @ADR_Nitro771, or Like Us on Facebook Alexis DeJoria.

TV Schedule

Eliminations

May 18, 9PM-12AM EST

ESPN2

About Alexis DeJoria

Alexis DeJoria, daughter of the famed John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems and proud owner of Tequila Patrόn, is a professional NHRA race car driver, competing in the nitro Funny Car class on the Kalitta Motorsports team. Alexis drives the Patrόn XO Cafe-sponsored 2014 Toyota Camry. Alexis, who had all 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 male dominated sport of drag racing.

About Kalitta Motorsports
Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Kalitta Motorsports is a Top Fuel and Funny Car drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The team was founded and is owned by drag racing icon Connie “the Bounty Hunter” Kalitta. For more than 50 years, Connie has been involved in the sport as a driver, tuner, and an owner. Kalitta Motorsports is one of the most successful teams in the history of auto racing with five world championships and over 50 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.

RLP rl3 1245COMMERCE, Ga. (May 16, 2014)— Alexis DeJoria powered her Patrón XO Cafe Toyota Camry nitro Funny Car to a blistering 4.012-second at 313.95-mph run under the lights of Atlanta Dragway on Friday night, earning the number one provisional qualifier spot, and setting a new track record at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals.

With cool temperatures and stellar track conditions, the 10,000-horsepower black-and-purple XO Cafe Camry rocketed down the track with header flames high, immediately boosting DeJoria from the No. 12 qualifying spot, up to No. 1- DeJoria’s first provisional number one qualifier of her Funny Car career. There were still several stout teams waiting to run after DeJoria, but other than her Kalitta Motorsports teammate Del Worsham who ran a 4.014, none were able to come close. The run earned DeJoria three bonus points, and her first track record.

“I knew Tommy [DeLago, crew chief] was going to go for it and try and run a good number,” said No. 3 ranked DeJoria, who has two wins under her belt in the 2014 season thus far. “Thankfully, the track held it and I was just amazed when I heard Tommy say that we ran a 4.01 over the radio.”

“I’m really proud of my team- I give all the credit to my guys. Not only were we able to take the No. 1 pole position, but we also set a record. I didn’t let myself get too stoked on the record immediately after our run because I knew there were a lot of capable cars behind me, but thankfully none were able to get around us.”

Making the evening that much more dramatic, DeJoria’s friend Erica Enders-Stevens took the No. 1 spot in Pro Stock. Both women are considered the front-runners to win NHRA’s coveted ‘100th Win’ by a woman title. When asked about what it would be like to claim that title, DeJoria said “It’s anyone’s game. If our team got it, it would be amazing. I would love to go down in the history books, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. We still have another day of qualifying, and on Sunday we’re just going to focus on one round at a time, and go for that third win.”

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With nearly two weeks off after our last race in Houston, I’m so ready to get back on the track. Our team is doing great so far this season. With wins come expectations, and once you’ve tasted success, that is all you can think of. It’s almost like an addiction of sorts.

Being on the road 24 weekends out of the year can take a toll on your body --especially as a professional athlete who has to be in the best possible shape for the ever demanding Nitro Funny Car. I make every possible effort to eat healthy and work out regularly. I try to buy healthy, organic food whenever I can, but it can sometimes be a challenge depending on where we happen to be racing that week.

My husband and I stay in a tour bus at the track like many race car drivers do. We don't always have the best options at our disposal. This is where discipline comes into play; making sure the refrigerator is filled with healthy proteins, good carbs, vegetables and fruit for a healthy snack. I typically start the day off with steel cut oats and a large cup of coffee. It’s probably not the best combo, but it’s been a staple at my house for as long as I can remember.

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SANTA MONICA, Calif. (May 13, 2014)— The Kalitta Motorsports Patrón XO Cafe Toyota Camry Funny Car team is headed south for the seventh race of the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. All eyes will be on Atlanta Dragway this weekend as the chase for the title of ‘100th Female Win’ continues. With 99 ‘wins by women’ in the books, No. 3 ranked Funny Car pilot Alexis DeJoria is hoping she can claim that piece in NHRA history when she competes for the Wally at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, May 16-18 in Commerce, Ga.

DeJoria is no stranger to making NHRA history having recently earned the title of ‘first woman to make a sub-four second Funny Car pass’ (Pomona, February 2014). Just six races into the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series, and DeJoria is riding high with three trips to the final round, powering her Patrón XO Cafe Toyota Camry Funny Car to victory at two of them (Phoenix, February; Vegas, March). She hopes to pick up her third career Funny Car win this weekend, and claiming the title of ‘100th Female Win’ would make the moment that much sweeter.

“Having 100 female wins is very impressive for our sport- especially when you compare it to other forms of motorsports that have very few [female wins] or none at all,” said DeJoria, a nine year NHRA competitor who can also add ‘only driver to have won in Funny Car, Top Alcohol Funny Car, and Super Comp’ to her impressive racing résumé. “The women in NHRA are very powerful. We win a lot of races out here, and I feel honored to have two wins on that list.”

“There are more women racing in NHRA than any other form of motorsports. Shirley Muldowney opened the door for all of us and proved that once you put that helmet on, and you’re strapped into your car; whether you’re male or female, none of that matters- we’re all equal out here. My goal has never been to be the ‘fastest or quickest female Funny Car driver,’ rather I want to be known as a ‘successful Funny Car driver,’ period. That being said, getting the 100th female win would be a huge accomplishment, and I would be honored to claim that place in NHRA history. There are seven women registered amongst the four pro classes this weekend, so there’s a very good chance that the 100th win could happen at Atlanta Dragway. Tommy [DeLago], Glen [Huszar], and the guys have had this Patrón XO Cafe Toyota Camry running well all season. Hopefully we’ll put this hot rod back in the Winner’s Circle this weekend, and grab the coveted title of ‘100th female win’ while we’re at it.”

The Kalitta Motorsports Patrón XO Cafe Toyota Camry Funny Car team begins qualifying for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at 5PM EST on Friday. For more information please visit www.alexisdejoria.com, Follow Us on Twitter @ADR_Nitro771, or Like Us on Facebook Alexis DeJoria.

TV Schedule

Qualifying

May 17, 6PM-8PM EST

ESPN2

Eliminations

May 18, 9PM-12AM EST

ESPN2

About Alexis DeJoria

Alexis DeJoria, daughter of the famed John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems and proud owner of Tequila Patrόn, is a professional NHRA race car driver, competing in the nitro Funny Car class on the Kalitta Motorsports team. Alexis drives the Patrόn XO Cafe-sponsored 2014 Toyota Camry. Alexis, who had all 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 male dominated sport of drag racing.

About Kalitta Motorsports
Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Kalitta Motorsports is a Top Fuel and Funny Car drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The team was founded and is owned by drag racing icon Connie “the Bounty Hunter” Kalitta. For more than 50 years, Connie has been involved in the sport as a driver, tuner, and an owner. Kalitta Motorsports is one of the most successful teams in the history of auto racing with five world championships and over 50 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.