News/Race Reports

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Alexis DeJoria made her return to Funny Car competition in Pomona after a two-year hiatus and picked up right where she left off. What's next and what has she been doing during the race break? This is one of a series of interviews with the top drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock.
 

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NHRA Drag Racing will return to the world stage in a major way in mid-July, relaunching its Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and associated programs with events on back-to-back weekends at famed Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis that will serve as the launch point for 15 more NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events that will follow.
 

 
Mike Pryson and Welsey Wren sit down in the digital studio with NHRA Top Fuel Funny Car pilot Alexis DeJoria. She talks about her return to drag racing, and how she’s keeping busy during the pause in action. Interview starts at 30.55

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The way that Alexis DeJoria looked at me, you would have thought that I’d asked her if maybe crew chief Del Worsham was going to run the big tires on the front of her new ROKiT Phones/ABK Beer Toyota.

It was one of those softball, warm-up questions you ask to get the party started, the way a crew chief might warm up the first engine of the year after the off-season. After all, it had been more than two years since she’d driven a flame-throwing 11,000-hp Funny Car.

“So, did you ask Del to take it easy on you the first couple of runs, maybe a little softer tune-up?”

“Oh, God no,” she said good-naturedly, laughing. “I don’t have any training wheels on. I want everything he has got.”

DeJoria was in her trailer lounge at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com, the first official event of her comeback season, signing hero cards by the dozen for the ROKiT employees on hand who’d driven over from the company’s Santa Monica, Calif., headquarters to see the debut of “their” car. Her father and No. 1 fan, entrepreneur and philanthropist John Paul DeJoria, was part of the autograph process, waving around each of the photos to air-dry her stylish signature.

Truth be told, DeJoria entered the Winternationals with more laps under her belt than any other driver since last year’s season finale, testing in Bakersfield in November, in Tucson, Ariz., in mid/late January, and then taking part in the annual Pro test session in Las Vegas the week before the Winternationals.

“Obviously, the first run in the car was, ‘Oh man, this is loud and fast,’ but I already feel very comfortable in the car. Del and Nicky [Boninfante, co-crew chief] have made this really easy. Almost from the start, it didn’t feel like I’d been gone two years. I was more worried about the warm-up — stressing out and hoping that I remembered the procedures — than the actual runs.”

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