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CHICAGO – The National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame (NIASHF) is proud to announce inductees and honorees for the 42nd Annual Induction & Awards Gala to take place at a dinner on Saturday, November 9th, in the Grand Ballroom at the Westin O’Hare in Rosemont, IL. Many previous inductees, members of the media and individuals of the sports world will be in attendance.

For the first time in the history of the NIASHF, a Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to 1981 inductee, Mario Andretti. This prestigious award will bare his name to all who are selected for this honor in the future.

The Mario Andretti Lifetime Achievement Award is established as one of the highest awards an individual can receive from the NIASHF. It will be presented to a person who is a legend in their field, embodies the NIASHF values of Family, Friends, Faith and Community, and whose character, leadership and charitable efforts are comparable to those of Mario Andretti’s.

The NIASHF Class of 2019 inductees include Glenn CaranoAlexis DeJoria and posthumously Ralph “Babe” SerpicoDominic Stramaglia will be honored as the Sportsman of the Year.

Glenn Carano, Superbowl XII Champion, played seven seasons as Quarterback with the Dallas Cowboys. Before being drafted to the Cowboys in 1977, Carano played college football at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) where he became a four-year starter as a quarterback, while setting almost all the school’s passing records.

Alexis DeJoria is a former American NHRA Champion who has won in each the Super Comp, Top Alcohol Funny Car, and Funny Car classes. Eight months after her NHRA debut, she went on to win the Sportsman Nationals. At the 2014 U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, NHRA’s crown jewel, she drove her Tequila Patron Toyota Funny Car dragster to the championship, beating legend John Force in the finals. Her time for 1,000 feet of asphalt: 4.038 seconds with a top speed just north of 310 mph.

Competition Plus - Alexis DeJoria knew from the day she announced her open-ended retirement she'd second guess her decision to retire from driving a fuel-burning Funny Car.  

"[Coming back] It’s something I’ve thought about, and I’ll be honest, it’s something that I thought about from the day that I retired," DeJoria, a five-time winner in eight finals during her professional career. "Is it possible I ever come back out? I think about it every day. I miss it tremendously. I miss all my competitors, my family out there. I actually do miss all the people at the tracks and coming into a new track and just meeting all the fans and all that camaraderie. I don’t know. It’s possible. I wouldn’t rule it out."

DeJoria stepped away from drag racing at the conclusion of a physically and emotionally challenging 2017 season, proclaiming her retirement as one she wouldn't hesitate to reverse when the time is right. 

This intent didn't mean DeJoria didn't struggle with her decision early on. 

"I knew I was in for it," she said. "I had a bout of depression that I had to deal with because when you’re in such a fast-paced lifestyle where your job is everything to you, it’s not just a job, it is a lifestyle. It’s your profession; it’s how I perceive myself. I’m a racer. I’m a driver. That’s is me. To go from 300 miles an hour to standing still, it took a lot to get through that. I’ve had a lot of support from my family. I have a great family that loves me very much. They loved me when I was racing, and they still love me when I’m not racing. 

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POMONA, Calif. (November 12, 2017)-- Alexis DeJoria’s six-year Funny Car career came to an end at the Auto Club NHRA Finals on Sunday afternoon.
 
After qualifying fifth for the 141st event of her professional career, DeJoria faced Jim Campbell in the first round of eliminations. The five-time Funny Car winner had the advantage off of the starting line. She powered her Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry down the track in 3.932-seconds at 331.45-miles per hour, defeating Campbell’s tire smoking effort.
 
The Southern California native drew Tommy Johnson Jr. in the quarterfinal round. DeJoria made another strong run, but Johnson Jr.’s 3.911 E.T. edged out DeJoria’s 3.944-sec. at 327.90-mph pass, which would be recorded as the final run of DeJoria’s 12-year NHRA career.
 
“I could sit here and say it was a tough day and hard to go out with a loss, but honestly, we ran hella good throughout qualifying, ran well on race day, it just wasn’t our day to win that trophy,” said the 2014 U.S. Nationals Funny Car event champion.
 
DeJoria, who announced her retirement following the conclusion of the 2017 season last month, hands over the reins of her Nicky Boninfante-Tommy DeLago-led operation to Kalitta teammate, Shawn Langdon, beginning with the 2018 NHRA season.
 
“This is a top-notch team. Shawn’s going to be stepping into a really good car, and my guys are going to get a great driver. I’m glad the operation will continue with Global Electronic Technology on the side.”
 
As the feeling of finality sank in for the only driver to claim a win in each of the Funny Car, Top Alcohol Funny Car, and Super Comp categories, DeJoria expressed gratitude and appreciation for her time, and friends made, along the NHRA tour.
 
“I want to thank all of my sponsors for their support. Patrón, Toyota, Mac Tools, Red Line Oil, Justice Brothers, Global Electronic Technology, and most of all, the Kalitta family. I say ‘family’ because that’s what they truly are. Everybody connected to this family here has just been incredible and I’m going to miss them so much. My team, my crew chiefs, all those guys, they always give me a great car on race day.
 
“I’m going to miss racing against all of these guys and girls. When we’re on that line, it’s one thing, we’re out for blood, but behind the scenes, we’re family.
 
“Lastly, thank you to all of our incredible fans for coming out and supporting us through thick and thin for all of these years.” 

Qualified:
No. 5 (3.894 E.T. at 331.94 MPH)

The Results: 
E1: 3.932 E.T. at 331.45 MPH defeated Jim Campbell BROKE
E2: 3.944 E.T. at 327.90 MPH defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. 3.911 E.T. at 329.34 MPH                      

Alexis Pomona Finals.jpg

Alexis DeJoria, Driver of the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car

The Results: 
Q1: 3.902 E.T. at 329.10 MPH (Three bonus points for second best run of the session)
Q2: 3.894 E.T. at 331.94 MPH (Two bonus points for third best run of the session)
Q3: 6.267 E.T. at 106.92 MPH
Q4: 3.897 E.T. at 328.66 MPH (Two bonus points for third best run of the session)

The Competition: 
No. 5 Alexis DeJoria (Lane Choice) vs No. 12 Jim Campbell 

Quotables:
Alexis DeJoria, Driver
Super proud of this Patrón team. Three out of our four qualifying runs were the quickest of their rounds. On my last run, I thought 'this is as good a time as any to do a super long burnout,' so I went past the tree and gave the fans a good show. 

My Patrón Toyota Camry was definitely a handful in both lanes throughout qualifying, but that's what Funny Car is all about. It's been a lot of fun driving one of these things and I'll definitely miss it. Trying not to think about it much until that last run, but I made sure I had a good time. Looking forward to tomorrow and going rounds. 

Alexis DeJoria.jpg

POMONA, Calif. (November 8, 2017)— Alexis DeJoria will strap into her Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry nitro Funny Car for the last time at this weekend’s 53rd annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California.
 
The final event of the 2017 NHRA season also marks the final event of DeJoria’s 12-year NHRA career. DeJoria, who announced her retirement following the conclusion of the 2017 season last month, has strong ties to the historic Southern California race track. DeJoria’s career concludes where it all began, Pomona, where she first experienced the heart pounding, soul shaking, fire-breathing monsters known as Funny Cars, and vowed to one day get behind the wheel of one.  DeJoria, who has always had a love for hot rods and all things fast, was sixteen years old when a friend first brought her to the California drag strip for an NHRA event.
 
“Growing up in Southern California, Pomona was ‘the track.’ It was my home track and where I first witnessed NHRA Drag Racing,” said DeJoria, a Venice Beach native who now calls Austin, Texas home.
 
“As much as I’m looking forward to going back to Pomona this weekend, it’s bittersweet because it’s my final race. This track holds a lot of history for me. It’s where I became the first female in NHRA history to make a three second Funny Car run, and where I became the first woman to compete in 100 Funny Car events. I raced Division Seven here. It’s a special place for me.”
 
DeJoria hangs up her helmet following a six-year tenure as a Funny Car pilot, having won five events, including the prestigious U.S. Nationals, and breaking numerous records. The fan favorite would like nothing more than to cap off her career with a win in her native Southern California.
 
“There’s going to be a lot going on this weekend. It will be exciting and fun but, of course, we want to go out with a bang and win our final race together,” she said of her Nicky Boninfante-Tommy DeLago led Funny Car team, “As much as that track means to me, a win there would be unreal.”
 
Alexis DeJoria’s Pomona, California accomplishments:

The first woman to compete in 100 Funny Car events, 56th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals, Pomona, Calif., February 12, 2016

No. 1 Qualifier, 50th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals, Pomona, Calif., 3.998 seconds, November 15, 2014

The first female to make a three second Funny Car run, 54th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals, Pomona, Calif., 3.997 seconds, February 8, 2014 

For a comprehensive list of DeJoria’s career highlights and professional biography, please contact Allison McCormick at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Alexis DeJoria Racing

About Tequila Patrón

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Please visit www.patrontequila.com.