BAYTOWN, Texas (Houston) – Alexis DeJoria’s season seems to be winding down just as her ROKiT Phones/ABK Beer Toyota Camry is cranking up.
The five-time NHRA pro tour winner enjoyed her best outing of the shortened season Sunday at Houston Raceway Park where she recorded the event’s quickest time before dropping a semifinal decision to Ron Capps at the 33rd annual Mopar Express Lane SpringNationals.
The No. 5 qualifier at 3.958 seconds, the Texas resident got everyone’s attention in round one when she unloaded a best-of-the-race 3.874 at a whopping 330 miles per hour to get the best of multiple-time tour winner Tim Wilkerson. After dispatching Bob Tasca III in round two and getting a starting line advantage against Ron Capps in the semis, she had her run aborted by crew chief Del Worsham.
“It was shooting fire out of number four cylinder,” said Worsham who, during his driving career, was one of only to win NHRA Championships in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car divisions. “It sucks, but after the last two races, we can’t take any chances.”
Worsham, who was a three-time Houston winner from inside the cockpit, was alluding to mechanical issues that led to a supercharger failure at St. Louis and an engine fire at Dallas, both of which played havoc with the team’s parts inventory.
“It’s really bittersweet,” DeJoria said of Sunday’s performance. “We’re finally figuring out the car and the combination but now we’re down to the last race of the year (this week’s 30th Dodge Nationals in Las Vegas). But I’m stoked about going back to Vegas. I’ve had some good days there (including wins in 2014 and 2016).”
The semifinal finish equaled DeJoria’s best finish at Houston where she also reached the penultimate round in 2013.
20th Dodge Finals
Oct. 31-Nov. 1
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas, Nevada
The ROKiT Report with Alexis DeJoria
Driver of the ROKiT Phones/ABK Beer/Lucas Oil Toyota Camry Funny Car
Event: 33rd annual Mopar Express Lane SpringNationals
Site: Houston Raceway Park, Baytown, Texas
Qualifying position: No. 5 at 3.958 seconds, 308.21 miles per hour.
Qualifying bonus points: 1 for third quick time in Q1.
Race day results: Round 1, Alexis DeJoria, 3.874 seconds, 330.39 mph, def. Tim Wilkerson, 5.426 seconds, 132.70 mph; Quarterfinals, Alexis DeJoria, 3.912 seconds, 323.19 mph, def. Bob Tasca III, 3.970, 296.96 mph; Semifinals, Alexis DeJoria, 5.175 seconds, 142.10 mph, lost to Ron Capps, 4.160 seconds, 247.38 mph.
Perspective: For the second consecutive weekend, Alexis put up her best numbers of the season, muscling the ROKiT Phones/ABK Beer Toyota Camry through the 1,000 foot timers in 3.874 seconds at 330.39 mph in a first round win over Tim Wilkerson.
Current Funny Car Driver Standings
(After 10 of 11 events)
1. Matt Hagan, Christiansburg, Va., Mopar/Pennzoil Dodge 842
2.Tommy Johnson Jr., Avon, Ind., M.D. Anderson Hospital Dodge 800
3. Jack Beckman, Norco, Calif., Infinite Hero Dodge 799
4. Ron Capps, Carlsbad, Calif., NAPA Dodge 679
5. Bob Tasca III, Cranston, R.I., Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford 595
6. J.R. Todd, Indianapolis, Ind., DHL Toyota 584
7. Tim Wilkerson, Springfield, Ill., Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford 570
8. Alexis DeJoria, Austin, Texas, ROKiT/ABK Beer Toyota Camry 489
9. Cruz Pedregon, Brownsburg, Ind., Snap-on Tools Dodge 388
10. Paul Lee, Orange, Calif., FTI/Global Electronic Technology Dodge 383
FUNNY CAR – Ron Capps def. Tommy Johnson Jr.
TOP FUEL – Steve Torrence def. Tony Schumacher
PRO STOCK – Aaron Stanfield def. Jeg Coughlin Jr.