Race Reports

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (September 10, 2013)— It’s down to the homestretch of the 24-race 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series. With just six races left, Alexis DeJoria and the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car team are looking to close out the season strong. Coming off of their season best run in Indianapolis earlier this month (4.036-seconds at 312.35-mph), the Patrón team looks to carry that momentum in to Charlotte, N.C. as they get ready to compete in the 6th annual NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway this weekend.

In her short two year career as a nitro Funny Car pilot, DeJoria, who spent six years in the NHRA’s sportsman classes learning the ropes before hopping into the seat of a nitro-fueled machine, has amassed a visit to the finals, four semi-final appearances, and qualifying bonus points to her list of accomplishments. The Patrón team, which has experienced their fair share of ups and downs, is looking to add a win to that growing list, and they feel that this weekend could be their time.

“Without the pressure of trying to get into the Countdown, we’re able to focus all of our efforts on picking up that first win,” said DeJoria. “Winning of course has always been the goal, but now that the cutoff for the Countdown has come and gone, it’s now our only goal. Our eyes are on the prize. Tommy [DeLago, crew chief and 2011 Funny Car world champion tuner] has had good luck at the Charlotte track in the past. Judging from our Indy runs- not just the race, but also the test session that week prior- I think we’ve made some really good headway. We’ve learned a lot and Indy proved that we have a great car and a combination that can win races. Our last two runs at Indy [Q4 and E1] were among the quickest of the whole Funny Car class, which is promising.”

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (September 2, 2013)—Alexis DeJoria powered her 10,000 horsepower Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car to an impressive run of 4.036-seconds at 312.35-mph in the first round of eliminations at the 59th annual U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, her quickest run of the 2013 season.
 
The run would become her second best of her professional Funny Car career and hold up to be the third quickest of the session, but despite the solid effort, DeJoria and her Tommy DeLago-led Patrón team would fall short to Ron Capps by a mere thousandth of a second in the opening race day matchup on Monday at the historic ‘Big Go.’
 
DeJoria entered race day qualified in the No. 12 spot with her 4.081-sec pass from Q4, the third quickest of that round. “It was really exciting to be able to race on Monday at such a monumental race and be a part of one of the quickest fields in Indy Funny Car history. The Top 15 qualified cars all ran in the 4.08’s or better, which just goes to show you how competitive this class is when we’re all that close together,” she said of the stacked 16-car field.”
 
“Capps and I were the first pair out of the gate this morning and my team gave me an incredible car to run with. That 4.036 was our best run of the season, and the second quickest of Team Patrón’s career. Unfortunately, we came up short by just a bit. I had a decent light with my .089, but he took the win with his 4.062 pass and we got beat by a hair on a holeshot. We may have lost that round but we’re certainly not going to hang our heads- that run was something to be proud of. Team Green has really turned a corner and big things are coming. This weekend has proved that we have a great car and with that combination we can win races. It’s been a good weekend for both Team Kalitta Funny Cars here in Indy. I’m very proud of my teammate Del Worsham and the DHL team for clinching their Countdown position this weekend. Now it’s on to Charlotte!”

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (August 13, 2013)— Despite one final and four semi-final round appearances for the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car team throughout their high-profile career, a visit to the coveted Winner’s Circle has continued to elude the Ypsilanti, Mich. based team, now in their sophomore season.

With just eight events left in the 24-race season, Team Patrón has their sights set on one major goal- win a national event. The team has experienced their share of ups and downs throughout the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season, but recent changes to the car has the team feeling optimistic that the chance to pick up their first Wally will happen soon.

That next chance could be this weekend at 32nd annual NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. Following the grueling Western Swing, the black-and-green team had a weekend off from racing to regroup, refocus and prepare for the ever-popular event, which draws legions of loyal fans to the area.

“The Western Swing didn’t exactly play out the way we were hoping it would,” said DeJoria, an Austin, Texas transplant. “That first round loss in Seattle set us back and was definitely disappointing, especially coming off of our visit to the semis in Sonoma. Thankfully, we were able to make progress with our new chassis over that three race stretch.”

KENT, Wash. (August 4, 2013)— The Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car team leaves Seattle without their much-needed event win on Sunday after a first round loss at the 26th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals.

The twelfth ranked Patrón team, fresh off of their third semi-final round appearance of the season, felt confident going into race day. With only two chances to qualify due to a rainout on Friday, the black and green team led by veteran crew chief Tommy DeLago ran an impressive 4.099-second pass in the opening qualifying session. The run held up to take the No. 9 qualifying spot in the ultra-competitive Funny Car class and pitted driver Alexis DeJoria against No. 8 qualifier Courtney Force in round one of eliminations.

DeJoria and Force were the last pair up in the fuel Funny Car category on Sunday and fans eagerly awaited what was the ‘must watch’ matchup of the round.  DeJoria powered her Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry to a pass of 4.161-sec at 291.26-mph, but it wasn’t enough to take out Force’s 4.086-sec run, ending Team Patrón’s day.

“I’m definitely heartbroken over our first round loss today. We had some good mojo coming into this weekend after making it to the semis in Sonoma. We only had two chances to qualify here in Seattle and we did pretty well with that 4.09. There’s a lot of tough competition out here,” said DeJoria of the stacked Funny Car class, which even found last week’s event winner on the outside of the field.  

“Courtney’s car has been running pretty well, but I was confident going into the first round. Unfortunately we didn’t get it done today. We gave them a hell of a show though. My car was on a good run but starting spinning the tires a little at the top end and that’s when I saw her pass me. It’s the end of our weekend, but we’ve got some time off before our next race so we’ll regroup, refocus, and get race-ready for Brainerd. I’m ready to put this Patrón hot rod in the Winner’s Circle.”

The team currently sits in the No. 12 spot on the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship points list with 672 points. Their next opportunity to gain more points will be at the ­32nd annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. For more information, please visit www.alexisdejoria.com. Follow us on Twitter: @ADR_Nitro771 and Like Us on Facebook: Alexis DeJoria

KENT, Wash. (July 30, 2013)— The Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car team heads to the Pacific Northwest this week for the ­26th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle, Wash., the final race of the notorious three-event Western Swing. Coming off of a successful race weekend in Sonoma just days earlier where they raced their way to the semi-finals, Team Patrón will ride the wave of success up the West coast and hope to use that momentum to finish the Swing out strong.

Three races- Seattle, Brainerd, and Indianapolis- stand between Team Patrón and a chance to compete for the NHRA series Championship. They currently sit in the No. 12 spot on the Countdown to the Championship points list, but they’re not out of the hunt yet. Team Green, which has found recent success with a newly implemented clutch setup and chassis, hopes to pick up more valuable points at Pacific Raceways this weekend and inch closer to securing a spot on the coveted ‘Top Ten’ list. 

Team driver Alexis DeJoria has powered her black-and-green hot rod to one final and four semi-final appearances in her two-year Funny Car career, but has yet to hoist her first Funny Car Wally. It was at this very race in 2011 that DeJoria won her first national Top Alcohol Funny Car event, and she’s hoping for a repeat performance this weekend.