Austin, TX (June 10, 2021) --- Alexis DeJoria and her ROKiT Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota Camry Funny Car team have been on the cusp of success numerous times this season. This weekend they will be bringing a new look to the track running a Bandero Premium Tequila branded Toyota Camry Funny Car as part of the TascaParts.com NHRA New England Nationals presented by Bandero Premium Tequila. DeJoria has family ties to the area surrounding New England Dragway and the opportunity to get involved at the sponsorship level and run a specialty Funny Car was too good to pass up.
“New England Dragway and Epping hold a special place in my heart,” said DeJoria. “I love the race track and the passion the fans have for drag racing. For myself and my sister Michaeline we are proud to pair up with NHRA and sponsor this event with our premium tequila company Bandero Tequila. I have had a lot of success in Epping and we want to keep that positive momentum moving forward.”
The team has qualified top three at four of the first five events of the season and the strong qualifying streak actually extends well into last season. At the Charlotte Four-Wide Nationals DeJoria had one of the quickest Funny Cars on race day but a broken blower belt in the final quad relegated them to a semifinal finish. The veteran driver knows she has a race car that can win races and the NHRA New England Nationals would be the perfect place for her first win of 2021.
“We know this team is ready for that first win of the season,” said DeJoria, a five-time nitro Funny Car national event winner. “We have been running great in qualifying and just need to string four runs together on race day. I am feeling more confident behind the wheel and I know I have a great race car every time I roll up to the starting line. It would be cool to put this Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota in the winner’s circle at the Bandero Tequila national event.”
DeJoria has experience and success racing at New England Dragway. This weekend’s race will be her sixth appearance after a three year break. In 2014 she raced to the final round as the No. 5 qualifier outrunning Tony Pedregon, Tommy Johnson, Jr., and John Force before being edged out for the win by Ron Capps. The next season she raced to the quarterfinals taking out Ron Capps in the first round. Her success rate at the New England Dragway can be tied to her strength in qualifying. She has never lost in the first round when she has qualified in the top half of the field.
DeJoria is working with her former teammate and mentor Del Worsham during the 2021 season. Worsham along with veteran Nicky Boninfante are making all the tuning decisions on the ROKiT Toyota Camry Funny Car. The relationship with Worsham goes back to when they were teammates at Kalitta Motorsports and has given DeJoria a high level of comfort and competitiveness.
“Del is one of the best drivers and tuners in the history of the NHRA,” said DeJoria. “He has done it all at so many levels. We work really well together because he understands things from the driver’s perspective.”
Qualifying will begin on Friday with two more sessions on Saturday as DeJoria tries to keep her top qualifying streak alive. Final eliminations will begin at 11:00 a.m. (ET) on Sunday with Fox televising three hours of finals coverage beginning at 1:30 p.m. (ET).
BAYTOWN, TX (May 23, 2021) --- A wet and long weekend at Houston Raceway Park wrapped up with eliminations completed on Monday by Alexis DeJoria and the ROKiT Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota Camry Funny Car. The veteran driver came out of the trailer on Saturday with one of quickest Funny Cars on the property racing to the No. 1 spot after the first qualifying session. The Friday qualifying session was cancelled leaving the race teams with just two shots to get the most data and additional rain storms in the forecast. DeJoria’s quick time on Saturday earned her three qualifying bonus points and lit up the scoreboard with an impressive 3.912 second pass at 307.44 mph. As quick as the run was, the team knew there was more out there on the performance side for the ROKiT Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota team.
Before DeJoria could get a second qualifying run rain moved in and cut the session in half but not before one race car was able to edge her out of the top qualifying spot.
“We had a really good run in the first round with a 3.912,” said DeJoria. “At that point, we really didn’t think we were going to be able to get the second run in. It would have been nice to get another shot at it, but we’ve got a really good ROKiT Camry. We’re happy with qualifying second and we’re looking forward to eliminations on Monday.”
In the first round DeJoria, the No. 2 qualifier faced off with a brand new opponent in Todd Simpson, the 37th different driver she has faced over her career. Both cars jumped off the starting line and Simpson’s Funny Car smoked the tires immediately while DeJoria’s Camry Funny Car was on an impressive pass getting the win light with a time of 3.931 seconds at 314.53 mph.
In the quarterfinals DeJoria raced veteran Tim Wilkerson with a shot at going back to the semifinals for the second race in a row. Last weekend DeJoria was equally as impressive on the track and racing today she was confident she would have another long race day. In the race against Wilkerson both cars were welded together accelerating down the track and just before the finish line DeJoria race car lost power and Wilkerson was able to get his nose out in front of her at the finish line.
“My hot rod has been great all season and I know we are right around the corner from four win lights on race day,” said DeJoria. “We made a great run in the first round and in the second round we were right with Tim (Wilkerson). I am excited to have a quick race car. We have qualified top three or better four of the first five races and we were just as good at the end of last season. This kind of performance will carry us a long way this season.”
DeJoria and the ROKiT Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota Camry Funny Car team will head to the Tascaparts.com New England Nationals presented by Bandero Premium Tequila solidly in the top ten and looking for their first win of the 2021 NHRA season.
Q1: 3.912 sec, 307.44 mph; Qual. 1
Q2: Rain halted qual.; Qual. 2
Bonus Points: +3 (Quickest of Q1)
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
Alexis DeJoria 2 .092 3.931 314.53 (W)
Todd Simpson 15 .086 25.341 49.76
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
Alexis DeJoria 2 .092 4.204 229.16
Tim Wilkerson 7 .059 3.972 321.42 (W)
Austin, TX (May 20, 2021) --- Coming off her best best performance of the season, a semifinal finish at the NHRA Charlotte Four-Wide Nationals, NHRA Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria is looking to keep the pressure on the rest of the Funny Car class. The ROKiT Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota Camry recaptured its early season mojo posting consistently quick times including two round wins in the unique four-wide racing style to land DeJoria in the final quad of the day. Throughout the event DeJoria, who qualified No. 2 her best starting position of the season, handled her 11,000 horsepower race car like a seasoned veteran.
"This ROKiT Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota Camry Funny Car was a dream to drive in Charlotte," said DeJoria, who currently sits in sixth place in Funny Car points. "We went right to the top of the field on Friday night and only one car ran quicker in qualifying. We knew we had a quick hot rod and we showed it on Sunday with two more quick runs to get to that last quad. On the final run I am not sure what happened but it was mixing up cylinders all the way down the track and we let one get away from us. We tested on Monday and I am ready to get after it in Houston."
DeJoria, an Austin, Texas resident, has raced to two semifinals at the Spring Nationals during her career. Her sophomore season she picked up two round wins as the No. 12 qualifier before wrapping up her race in the semifinals and then last season in the fall DeJoria qualified No. 5 and took out Tim Wilkerson and Bob Tasca III before being ousted by Ron Capps. The successful race in October has the five-time nitro Funny Car national event winner looking for more win lights at Houston Raceway Park this weekend.
"We really started getting on a roll at the end of last season," said DeJoria. "We were qualifying really well and going rounds on Sunday. I like our chances this weekend since (crew chiefs) Del (Worsham) and Nicky (Boninfante) have really good info to work with and this is a fast track at sea level. The Texas fans are pretty cool and I hope there are a lot of them at the track. I know the weather could be tough but we'll just have to see what happens."
Earlier this season DeJoria announced a technical partnership with Mobil 1 to go along with her team's relationship with Toyota Racing Development (TRD). Both companies have headquarters in Texas and should have a number of representatives at Houston Raceway Park supporting DeJoria and the ROKiT team.
"I can't say enough about the support we get from TRD and Mobil 1," said DeJoria. "They are amazing partners and the technology they bring to the table really gives our team a lot of help. I also know we are putting their Mobil 1 to the test which only makes that product better for the consumer. It is a great relationship and I am proud to be representing both brands."
The ROKiT Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota Camry Funny Car has been one of the quickest race cars in the category for the past ten races including three top three qualifiers out of four races in 2021. Over the past nine races DeJoria's Toyota Funny Car has only started an event outside the top five in qualifying one time. That kind of consistency will eventually lead to multiple round wins and victories on Sunday.
"I think they turned a corner in Charlotte and Del and Nicky will keep fine tuning the car," said DeJoria. "My team is awesome and I just have to do my job behind the wheel. I have a lot of confidence that we are going to see a lot of win lights this season. It would be great to get a streak started this weekend in Houston. I like the fact we are getting right back at it after a strong showing last weekend in Charlotte."
Qualifying will begin on Friday night under the lights with two more sessions on Saturday as DeJoria tries to keep her top qualifying streak alive. Final eliminations will begin at 11:00 a.m. (CT) on Sunday with the race broadcast on FS1.
CHARLOTTE, NC (May 16, 2021) --- Three rounds of racing today showed that the ROKiT Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota Camry Funny Car and driver Alexis DeJoria will be a tough team to handle as the NHRA season ramps up. The 11th NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals highlighted the strength of DeJoria’s race car and also showcased her skill behind the wheel.
“We had a very positive day today. What a turnaround from last race,” said DeJoria. “Our ROKiT/Bandero Toyota Camry was consistent. We qualified number two. We were the best of the opening round and won the first two quads. Any time you see a win light come on, it’s an ego booster. We were just on it today.”
The experienced driver made the most of two days of qualifying posting impressive times including the quickest run of Friday night that earned her three qualifying bonus points and the provisional No. 1 spot. On Saturday she was bumped back one position but entered race day as the No. 2 Funny Car on the property and a favorite to go rounds.
DeJoria and the ROKiT Bandero Tequila team did not disappoint as the blasted down the track in the first round winning their quad and lighting up the scoreboard with an impressive 3.903 second run. It was the second quickest run of the event and brought the near capacity crowd at zMAX Dragway to their feet.
In the second round quad DeJoria was matched up with a very tough trio of drivers including Bob Tasca III, Matt Hagan and Cruz Pedregon. Once again DeJoria showed an aggressive attitude jumping off the starting line just behind Hagan and then racing to victory posting the quickest run of her round. The win moved DeJoria into the first final quad of her career at the four-wide national events.
The final quad featured her Toyota teammate J.R. Todd, John Force and Pedregon. It was a line-up of heavy hitters and DeJoria held her own to close out her race day. DeJoria, Todd and Force left the starting line with nearly identical reaction times and all three Funny Cars were storming down their respective lanes. DeJoria’s race car was mixing up cylinders throughout the run and uncharacteristically slowed to 4.057 seconds, her second slowest elapsed time of the weekend.
“I honestly felt like it was going to be our day, but in the finals, unfortunately we dropped a cylinder at the step,” said DeJoria. ”Then more down track and that was it for the day. My reaction times are coming around. We’re just figuring things out and I know we’re going to win a race very soon. We’re going to stay and test here tomorrow at zMAX and get both cars on point. We’re going to bring the back-up car we ran in Atlanta out and make sure it’s all good. You never know when you’re going to need to pull that second car out and it needs to be just as good as the first one. In Houston, we need to do the same thing as we did here – good runs in qualifying and staying consistent.”
The success on the track moved DeJoria up to sixth in the Funny Car point standings and also moved her closer to the fifth and fourth place Funny Cars. The team will head to Houston Raceway Park for the NHRA SpringNationals set to kick-off Friday, May 21.
AUSTIN, TX (May 14, 2021) --- The NHRA Carolina Four-Wide Nationals are Alexis DeJoria’s second shot this season driving the ROKiT Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota Camry Funny Car in one of drag racing’s most unique events. With over 40,000 horsepower on the starting line the round by round competitors almost equal an entire starting grid of most NASCAR races as soon as they hit the throttle pedal. That kind of raw power is what draws thousands of fans to zMAX Dragway and has led to a sellout crowd for Saturday’s final day of qualifying. It is also what fires up self-described adrenaline junkie DeJoria to suit up and strap in for a 320 mph ride throughout the season.
“There is nothing like sitting on the starting line with a Funny Car on either side of you,” said DeJoria. “When we are all doing burnouts before a run it is an amazing sound and you feel the ground move. Four nitro Funny Cars or Top Fuel dragster racing at the same time is one of the coolest things we get to do.”
Earlier this season at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway DeJoria qualified No. 3 and made a strong first round run. In the second quad a broken blower belt stole her chance to advance to the final quad and an opportunity to pick up her first four-wide nationals win. In 2014 at zMAX Dragway DeJoria raced in the final quad ultimately finishing third. The format of being first or second to the finish line has its advantages and disadvantages for the ultra-competitive racer who calls Austin, Texas home.
“The first couple of rounds of a four-wide race are wild because you just have to be either the first or second race car to the finish line to go to the next round,” said DeJoria. “If you smoke the tires you really have to take a chance about getting back on the throttle because someone else could be in trouble too. Getting off the starting line clean and building some momentum down track a lot of times is the key to victory at the four-wide.”
DeJoria’s ROKiT Bandero Premium Tequila Funny Car team is led by the only driver to have won in both Funny Car and Top Fuel at the zMAX Dragway Four-Wide Nationals, Del Worsham. The two-time world champion is recognized as one of the best drivers and tuners in the sport. Worsham, along with Nicky Bonifante, has set-up DeJoria’s Funny Car to be one of the quickest race cars on the property week in and week out.
“I can’t really put into words what Del and Nicky mean to our program,” said DeJoria. “They work so well together and the hours and hours they put into the race car to get it just right are impressive. Every time I strap in I know I have a race car that can go low or get a round win. As a driver that gives you a lot of confidence.”
This season DeJoria has qualified No. 2 and No. 3 at the events with two days of qualifying and has advanced to the second round in both events. Two weeks ago at the Southern Nationals an issue with the Funny Car body riding low on the chassis disrupted DeJoria’s staging process in the first round. The team evaluated and corrected the positioning. They are focused on putting the final race at Atlanta Dragway behind them.
“It was a frustrating turn of events for sure and we were able to go back and figure out what the issue was at the end of the race day,” explained DeJoria. “I am looking forward to getting to zMAX Dragway and making three great qualifying runs and then seeing three win lights on Sunday. We will be racing the next two weeks back-to-back and I am looking forward to getting into a solid racing groove.”
Qualifying for the 11th NHRA Carolina Four-Wide Nationals will begin Friday, May 14 and continues with two additional rounds on Saturday, May 15. Final eliminations will begin at noon on Sunday and will be broadcast on FS1.