After two-year hiatus from the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, Alexis DeJoria returned to the tour in 2020 behind the wheel of the ROKiT Toyota Camry Funny Car. The five-time Funny Car national event winner teamed with former world champion Del Worsham to return to racing action. After an eventful season DeJoria took some time to look back at her successes as well as look ahead to the 2021 NHRA season.
Can you talk about the highlights of your 2020 season?
The highlight of the season I would say was coming off a two-year hiatus and having a great showing at the Winternationals in Pomona. We had a new team, and I hadn’t been out there for two years. Even with all that newness we went out and ran good numbers and made it to the semifinals. That was a huge, huge highlight for me. Unfortunately, after that our season got cut short and we had to sit for a while. When we did come back out, we struggled a little bit at first but as soon as the guys figured out the tune-up we were running really good and consistent. Coming back after being off for so long and getting back to running well in itself was a huge highlight, too.
What did you miss the most? What was it like getting back behind wheel of 11,000-hp Funny Car?
I missed my team. Really this is a racing family. Being away for two years was like losing 12 people that are your friends and family all at once. I missed that and the camaraderie. I missed those G forces! I missed going those speeds and driving my Toyota Camry Funny Car. I missed the competitiveness of the nitro Funny Car class.
I was excited, hands down, when I got back to the track. I wasn’t really nervous about driving the car as much as I was nervous about the warm-up and the minute little things like packing my parachute. Once we went through the warm-up and I had packed some chutes, everything was good. As soon as that Funny Car started up on the starting line that was it for me. I have been racing for quite a while, not as long as some of my competitors, but enough to feel good about getting back up on the horse again.
How did the 2020 season make you a better driver?
The few mishaps that I had this year, the explosion in St. Louis and then the fire in Dallas, definitely made me a better driver. Going through those experiences brings so much more to the table. Some drivers don’t ever experience those things. On the one hand, I am not happy it happened but on the other hand, I am grateful for the experience and to be able to walk away from it to race another day.