INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 24, 2016)— In order for the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Funny Car team to return to NHRA competition following Alexis DeJoria’s crash at Sonoma Raceway last month, both DeJoria and her race car needed time away from the race track to repair and recover. DeJoria required healing time for a fractured pelvis and her Patrón Toyota Camry needed repair following structural damage to the body and chassis.
Members of the Tequila Patrón Funny Car team have worked tirelessly upon returning to Kalitta Motorsports headquarters in Ypsilanti, Michigan following the crash that sidelined DeJoria and her team for the past two NHRA Mello Drag Racing Series events. After front-halving two chassis and preparing DeJoria’s repaired Toyota Camry body, Team Patrón, led by crew chiefs Tommy DeLago and Glen Huszar, feels confident that they have a car that’s ready to return to the race track.
This week, the NHRA hosts their annual open Indianapolis test session which gives teams the opportunity to test equipment and tune-up combinations prior to the NHRA U.S. Nationals. The test session offers DeLago the opportunity to make test runs with DeJoria’s newly rebuilt Funny Car. DeJoria’s teammate and mentor Del Worsham will pilot her Patrón Toyota Camry at the Indianapolis test session while DeJoria continues to undergo physical therapy and focus on her rehabilitation.
“We want to make sure this car is 100% ready for Alexis when she is prepared to make her return,” said DeLago.
“Putting Del in the seat gives us the opportunity to knock the rust off and make sure any gremlins are sorted out while Alexis continues to recover. We’re still hoping and planning on racing at Indy next week. Whether it’s Indy or not, we’ll know with complete confidence that we’re entering our first race back with a car that is ready to compete with the best of them.”
DeLago plans on making eight test runs with Worsham over the course of Wednesday, August 24 and Thursday, August 25. The newly front-halved Kalitta Motorsports’ produced Bounty Hunter chassis will be utilized during the test session and remain as DeJoria’s primary chassis.
Alexis DeJoria and the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car team are scheduled to compete next at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, September 2-5, although their entry in the event remains uncertain at this time.
BRAINERD, Minn. (August 18, 2016)— Alexis DeJoria and the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car team will not compete in the NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota, August 19-21, while DeJoria recovers from a pelvic fracture.
The injury to the Kalitta Motorsports Funny Car pilot was sustained during a crash at the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals. On July 31st during the first round of eliminations, DeJoria’s car lost traction and made contact with the retaining wall in her lane. The powerful impact caused a high-energy fracture to her left iliac wing, and forced DeJoria to miss the NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle the following week.
While she had her sights set on returning to the seat of her Patrón Toyota Camry at this weekend’s NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event in Brainerd, DeJoria remains sidelined, under the advice of her treating physician.
“I was hoping and planning on being at Brainerd. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen,” said the four-time Funny Car winner, who has already claimed one win in 2016.
“With it being a fracture, the healing time is six-to-eight weeks and as much as I wanted it, the harsh reality is there just wasn’t enough time between Sonoma and Brainerd for that area to be healed properly. Even though I feel better, and yes, I’m physically able to return to the seat, the fact of the matter is, I have a cracked pelvis. Any slightly concussive movements could make that fracture develop into a full-blown crack, and if that were to happen, that would cost me and my team the whole season.”
“It’s a tough pill to swallow but it was a decision that had to be made. My doctor, my crew chief and I assessed the situation and determined that the risk right now for further injury is too great. When you weigh it out, missing one more race is better than missing the entire season, and the reality is, if I were to go out there and shake or have any intense movements, that could very well be the final straw.”
DeJoria, a fierce competitor, is eager to get back to the track in order to retain her position in the Top 10 and qualify for the 2016 NHRA Countdown to the Championship. She currently sits in 10th with 765 points. In order to have an opportunity to make a run for the Championship, DeJoria must be locked into a Top 10 spot by the conclusion of the NHRA U.S Nationals in Indianapolis, the next event after Brainerd. Although not definite, DeJoria, along with her doctor, feel confident that by the U.S. Nationals, September 2-5, her body should be healed enough to safely absorb the rigors of racing.
“I’ll keep chipping away at it,” she said, adding, “I’m getting better every day. My sights are set on Indy. By then, that’ll be five weeks of healing time and I should be at 90% and pretty healed and ready to go. I’m working hard to ensure I achieve that goal.”
“Not only does this decision give me more time to heal and recover, but it also gives my team sufficient time to get my chassis and Camry bodies to 110% performance ready. We’re all chomping at the bit. It’s hard to miss one race, and even harder to miss two, but it’s something that comes with the territory.”
“I can’t let my ego dictate my recovery. I’m extremely grateful it wasn’t worse and I came out of it able to race another day.”
In the remaining weeks leading up to the U.S. Nationals, DeJoria will continue to focus on her rehabilitation. Her recovery plan includes regular visits to her physical therapist’s office, an at home regimen of exercises, and a cutting-edge laser therapy treatment intended to speed up healing and stimulate tissue repair and cell growth.
“My bones will heal when they heal. I’m doing everything I can to make sure I’m headed in the right direction. With physical therapy a few times a week, I’ve slowly been able to regain my range of motion.”
“I miss my team, my crew chiefs, my teammates, everyone I race with, race against, the fans; I miss it all. I miss being out there. Big thanks to everyone for their support through all of this. I really appreciate it, and I can’t wait to get back.”
Alexis DeJoria and the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car team are scheduled to compete next at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, although their entry in the event is uncertain at this time.
SEATTLE, Wash. (August 5, 2016)— NHRA Funny Car pilot Alexis DeJoria was scheduled to compete at the 29th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle, Washington this weekend, but due to injuries sustained in a recent crash DeJoria and her Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Funny Car team will not enter the event.
Less than one week ago at Sonoma Raceway, DeJoria was involved in a harrowing accident when her Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry lost traction and made a sudden violent left turn, colliding with the retaining wall in her lane. The impact caused a high-energy fracture to the left side of her pelvis - more specifically, her left iliac wing.
“I’ve experienced different types of crashes in my race car- from going off the end of the track, to blowing up, to scrapes with the wall, but this one was different,” said DeJoria of the incident, which occurred during the first round of eliminations at the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals.
“I felt the car make a move to the right, I corrected it and then the car laterally and smashed into the wall. All four wheels were sliding and no matter what I did with the steering wheel, it wasn’t responding to any of my movements.”
“I knew right away I had hurt my back. All I wanted to do was get the car stopped. Once I had it safely stopped, I pushed myself out of the car, and as soon as my feet touched the ground, I felt pain shoot straight into my lower back.”
“My adrenaline was rushing. When these things happen, I tend to get angry. I’m a very competitive person. I never want to go out like that, obviously. My number one concern is always to keep myself safe, as well as the driver in the other lane. There were a lot of emotions when this happened, but I was very grateful that it wasn’t worse.”
While immediate surgery was not required, DeJoria currently suffers from extreme pain and has been left temporarily immobile, unable to race. She remains on bedrest in her Austin, Texas home. Her absence this weekend could potentially affect her chances at having an opportunity to compete for the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car World Championship.
Seattle’s NHRA Northwest Nationals mark the 16th of 18 regular season NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events. In order to be in the Championship chase, DeJoria must be locked into a top ten spot by the conclusion of race No. 18, the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, the last event before the six race Championship playoff.
Currently, DeJoria, who has already won one event in 2016, sits in 10th with 765 points. Playoff hopefuls Chad Head and Cruz Pedregon sit in 11th and 12th, with a 150-point margin between DeJoria and Head. 198 points separate DeJoria and Pedregon. With just three races left until NHRA’s Countdown contenders are locked into the top ten, DeJoria is determined to get back on the track to earn her playoff berth.
Despite the prospect of racing with a significant amount of pain, the strong-willed DeJoria avows to return as soon as physically possible, and while not definite, her sights are set on returning at the NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota.
“The goal right now is Brainerd. I’m going to do everything I possibly can to heal properly. I’m on bedrest for the time being, and then I start physical therapy on Monday [August 8th]. I want to get back in the car and need to get back in the car as quickly as possible. I’m a fighter. The cutoff to qualify for the Countdown is coming up and we need to secure our position.”
“I realize that at this moment I have to rest in order to better the healing process, but it’s hard for someone like me to be stagnant. I’ve never missed a race in my NHRA Funny Car career thus far. However painful it will be to have to watch the NHRA Northwest Nationals from my bed, rather than be there at the track, I’ll be cheering on my Kalitta Motorsports teammates.”
Since the accident, DeJoria has experienced an incredible outpouring of support from the NHRA community.
“Thank you to all of my fans, sponsors, friends, and the racing community for their caring words and support! I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of my Patrón Toyota Camry, and resume my quest for the 2016 Funny Car Championship. ”
Substitute drivers for the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny car will not be considered in the event of any unexpected setbacks.
SONOMA, Calif. (July 31, 2016)— During the first round of eliminations at the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals, Kalitta Motorsports Funny Car pilot Alexis DeJoria experienced an accident that required a trip to the trauma center.
DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry, was competing in the left lane alongside opponent John Force in the opening round of eliminations on Sunday morning at Sonoma Raceway. The Patrón Toyota Camry lost traction and made a violent turn to the left as soon as DeJoria stepped on the throttle, causing her Camry to make impact with the left retaining wall.
DeJoria exited the vehicle under her own power, but immediately knew something was wrong. Upon a quick evaluation from on-site medical personnel, she was transported via ambulance to Queen of the Valley Medical Center in nearby Napa. After x-rays and a CT scan, doctors diagnosed DeJoria with a high-energy fracture of the left pelvis. The fracture was caused when she struck the wall. The injury does not require immediate surgery, but is extremely painful. DeJoria is in good spirits and was more concerned with the condition of her race car, and if it was ok. She was released from the hospital on Sunday afternoon, and will start intense physical therapy as soon as possible, determined to get back on the track.
DeJoria and the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car team were scheduled to compete next at the NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle, Washington, but due to injuries sustained, that race is to be determined.
Alexis DeJoria: Driver of the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car
No. 11 Alexis DeJoria vs. No. 6 John Force (LC)
Alexis DeJoria, Driver
We made two good runs in qualifying. We’re qualified eleventh, but hey, we’re qualified and again that’s all that matters. We’re going into race day charged and we’ll have a good setup tomorrow. We’re going to dig deep, fight hard and go rounds.
It’s great to have my dad [John Paul DeJoria], Eloise [DeJoria] and Jesse [James] here this weekend. It’s been a while since my dad’s been to a race, so it’s nice to have him out here this weekend. He’s never been out to the Sonoma Raceway track before, and it's just always nice to have the support of family and friends.
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