Alexis DeJoria: Driver of the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car
No. 10 Alexis DeJoria vs. No. 7 (LC) Del Worsham
Quotable: Alexis DeJoria, Driver
We just finished qualifying here at the U.S. Nationals, and it feels really good to be back in my Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry. I’m getting my bearings again, handling this beast of a race car. We made three consistent runs down the race track, and I’m feeling more comfortable with each run.
To qualify for the Traxxas Shootout was awesome. It’s just an exciting weekend and to be here with all of my friends and family and my teammates is incredible. Unfortunately, we have to race our teammate tomorrow in the first round of eliminations, but the important thing is, we’re back racing after being out for a month. It’s good to be back. Del is obviously a tough competitor, but so are we. We’re going to make the best of it and see what we can do out there; I’m sure we’ll have something for him.
Photos courtesy of Gary Nastase Photography. Hi res images available upon request
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 29, 2016)— Only one race stands between Alexis DeJoria and her opportunity to make a run for the 2016 Funny Car Championship, the NHRA U.S. Nationals. DeJoria, who missed the past two NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events due to a pelvic fracture suffered during a crash at Sonoma Raceway in July, will make her highly anticipated return this weekend in Indianapolis.
As of August 29, DeJoria has received medical clearance from her team of doctors as well as NHRA’s medical staff to return behind the wheel of her 10,000-horsepower nitro Funny Car.
“I’m so excited to finally get back in the seat on Friday,” said DeJoria, who has been undergoing physical therapy and receiving low-level laser treatments as well as pulsed electromagnetic field therapy in an effort to heal as quickly as possible.
“I’ve really been missing my guys, my Kalitta teammates and my fans. Not to mention, the 10,000-plus horsepower machine I’m fortunate enough to drive 24 races a year. I missed two of them this season, but I’m back now, and man, what a race to come back to- Indy, ‘the Big Go.’”
DeJoria enters the U.S. Nationals, the final event of the NHRA’s regular season, sitting in the No. 10 spot. In order to qualify for the NHRA Countdown to the Championship, DeJoria must finish the weekend inside of the Top 10. The 11th and 12th ranked drivers are hot on her heels, trailing her by 87 and 115 points respectively.
With the U.S. Nationals’ unique points-and-a-half format, the pressure is on for the four-time Funny Car winner and her team as they look to deliver their third consecutive Countdown to the Championship playoff berth.
“It’s so crucial for us to do well in order to be able to finish out the weekend in the Top 10 and qualify for the Countdown to the Championship. I know we can get it done. I have a lot of faith in my guys, we just need to get that consistency back. If there’s any race where we can pull it off, it’s Indy,” said the Kalitta Motorsports Funny Car pilot, who won the celebrated 60th running of the U.S. Nationals in 2014.
While fighting to retain their spot in the Top 10, the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car team will also have the opportunity to race for a $100,000 purse when they compete in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout, a race within the race. DeJoria earned her spot in the Shootout when she and her team were victorious at the NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas earlier this season.
“Indy is the biggest race of the year. I’ll have my friends and family in the pit cheering us on. Between the Traxxas Nitro Shootout, the points-and-a-half format, and all of the extra fanfare that comes along with Indy, it’s shaping up to be an intense, but exciting weekend.”
“I’ve had a lot of time to rest, practice and get myself race-ready. I’m eager to get back into my Patrón Toyota Camry and do work.”
Alexis DeJoria and the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car team begin qualifying for the 62nd annual NHRA U.S. Nationals on Friday, September 2 at 8 PM EST.
Photos courtesy of Gary Nastase Photography. Hi res images available upon request
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.
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