Don’t bother asking Alexis DeJoria if she’s already back up to speed after a two-year hiatus from Funny Car racing. She is. The steely fan favorite has more laps under her safety belts already this season than any other driver after three test sessions dating back to late last year and is ready for everything her team can give her.
She’s already made two three-second passes on four qualifying attempts in her comeback race at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals and enters Sunday’s final eliminations ready to do battle.
“Obviously the first run in the car was ‘Oh man, this is loud and fast,’ but I already feel very comfortable in the car,” she said of her ROKit/ABK Beer Toyota. “Del [Worsham] and Nicky [Boninfante] 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 warmup, stressing out and hoping that I remembered the procedures than the actual runs.”
That she would always come back to racing -– and to Funny Car –- was never in doubt even when she announced in late 2017 that she was taking a sabbatical to spend time with her teenage daughter.
“It definitely was always my plan to come back; It was just a matter of when, and this seemed like the ideal time,” she said. “My daughter is going off to college soon. She’s doing so well in life, getting good grades in school –- she’s even taking AP classes online -– and she’s going to come out to the race with me some this year before she goes off to college.”