News/Race Reports

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Original LogoSONOMA, CA (July 23, 2021) --- After a breakout performance last weekend at the NHRA Mile-High Nationals in Denver Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria if thrilled to be getting behind the wheel of her Bandero Premium Brand Tequila in a few days for the Sonoma NHRA Nationals. The five-time national event winner raced to her ninth career final round and came up a few feet short of picking up her sixth win and getting a leg up on sweeping the Western Swing. The Austin, Texas, resident will instead focus on sweeping the California races over the next two weeks starting at Sonoma Raceway, July 23-25.

“We are coming from the high altitude in Denver to sea level in Sonoma,” said DeJoria. “We had a great race on the mountain and I have done well at Sonoma in the past. I am excited to get back to Sonoma Raceway..”

DeJoria has raced to two semifinal appearances at the beautiful, multi-use track located in the heart of wine country. Impressively, both of those strong race day performances began from tough qualifying spots. In 2013 DeJoria started from the No. 16 spot and took out No. 1 qualifier Matt Hagan, then Robert Hight before falling to John Force in the semifinals. The next year starting from the No. 10 spot the ultra-competitive DeJoria took out Ron Capps and Cruz Pedregon before being ousted once again by the 16-time Funny Car champion.

Lately the Bandero Premium Tequila ROKiT Toyota Camry Funny Car has been dominating in qualifying and showing its power on race day as the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series moves to the halfway point of the regular season. In three of the past five races DeJoria has raced to at least the semifinals and her average qualifying position this season is an impressive 4.5 through eight races. If you take out the outlier qualifier of No. 14 from Atlanta it drops to a category leading 3.1 for starting position. Over the last fourteen races going back to the 2020 U.S. Nationals the Bandero Tequila Toyota Camry Funny Car has averaged a 4.4 qualifying position and has only been outside the top six one time.

“I have a solid team led by crew chiefs Del Worsham and Nicky Boninfante,” said DeJoria, who sits No. 7 in the Funny Car point standings. “These guys do a great job every race and I am lucky to be the one that gets to hit the throttle. This is a team effort from top to the bottom and I know our first win of the season is right around the corner.”

The Denver final round appearance was DeJoria’s first since her return to racing at the beginning of the 2020 NHRA season. The last time she was in a final round was August 2017 when she defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. to win the Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota. DeJoria did not compete in 2018 and 2019.

Qualifying will begin at the Sonoma Nationals on Friday, July 23, with an evening qualifying session which is sure to produce low elapsed times and high speeds. Two sessions will follow on Saturday with final eliminations beginning Sunday morning at 11 a.m. local time. The race will be broadcast on FS1 from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. ET.

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Original LogoDENVER (July 18, 2021) --- Alexis DeJoria’s Bandero Premium Tequila ROKiT Toyota Camry took a calculated risk to test at Bandimere Speedway immediately following her semifinal performance at the NHRA Norwalk Nationals. The extra effort paid off today for the five-time Funny Car national event winner as DeJoria raced to her first final round of the season and ninth of her career at the NHRA Mile-High Nationals outside of Denver. 

The team had an excellent qualifying effort heading into race day as the No. 2 qualified Funny Car and made the most of race day turning on three win lights against Jack Wyatt, Funny Car point leader Bob Tasca III and veteran Tim Wilkerson. In a tough final round match-up with Matt Hagan, the No. 1 qualifier, DeJoria was not able to get the win but will leave the start of the historic Western Swing with momentum and confidence as the tour heads to Sonoma, California, next weekend.

After more than a decade of attempts to conquer ‘thunder mountain,’ defending NHRA Camping World Series Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan finally hoisted the Wally trophy at Bandimere Speedway on Sunday. Starting from the pole for the second time this season and 42nd time of his career, Hagan powered his Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye through eliminations to break through for his first coveted victory at the picturesque Morrison, Colo. venue which sits a mile above sea level. The triumph was his first of the 2021 season, the 37th of his career, and national event win No. 360 for Don Schumacher Racing, the winningest team in NHRA history.

“Man, I tell you, this mountain has chewed me up and spit me out several years in a row, and I’m just so glad to pull that win down for Dodge and SRT, and to do it behind the wheel of the Dodge//SRT Hellcat Funny Car in front of so many passionate Dodge and Mopar fans,” said Hagan whose last win came at the 2020 season-finale, the Dodge NHRA Finals presented by Pennzoil in Las Vegas, where he secured his third NHRA Funny Car series title. 

“We finally got it done, and I finally get to put this trophy up on the shelf,” added Hagan, acknowledging the unique conditions and challenges and that come with racing in the mile-high Denver altitude during the heat of the summer. “I’ve got to call out my guys and give them so much love. Dickie Venables, Mike Knudsen, Alex Conaway, the whole group, man. To watch them up here in the altitude wrenching and sweating. These guys love doing what they do, and they bust their ass for me. My heart was beating out of my chest up there during the finals and it felt like I was running for a championship. I had to remind myself to calm down, take a deep breath, and just do what I do. It’s so cool when you do a burnout and see all of these fans in the stands; it genuinely gives me chill bumps. It feels amazing being back in the winner’s circle like we’re used to.”

Hagan’s triumph at ‘thunder mountain’ was earned with a round-one victory over Chris King, an E2 Bye run, and an exciting side-by-side semifinal battle won against his fellow DSR HEMI-powered teammate Ron Capps to face No.2 qualifier Alexis DeJoria in the final round showdown. Hagan’s quick 0.046-second reaction time gave him the starting line advantage and he never looked back, powering his machine to victory in 4.105 seconds.  

With this win, Hagan will have his first career opportunity to attempt to ‘sweep the Swing,’ winning the grueling trio of back-to-back races which visits Sonoma and Pomona, Calif. following Denver, but Hagan isn’t getting ahead of himself and is focused on the task at hand – taking it one round at a time.

"I’m not even thinking about ‘sweeping the Swing’ at this point,” said Hagan. “I just want to take it one race at a time, qualify well, and take it round by round. Fuel Funny Cars are so unpredictable, and that’s why this sport is so humbling. Every win light and every race win you’re grateful for, and we’re just going to keep moving forward."
 
Hagan’s wire-to-wire weekend enabled him to advance three positions in the Funny Car point standings, where he currently occupies third heading into Sonoma.

Qualified: No. 1 (3.966 E.T. at 319.22 MPH )

The Results:
E1: 4.045 E.T. at 317.49 MPH defeated Chris King 6.222 E.T. at 100.34 MPH
E2: 4.019 E.T. at 314.09 MPH defeated BYE
E3: 4.022 E.T. at 314.53 MPH defeated Ron Capps 4.051 E.T. at 313.58 MPH
E4: 4.105 E.T. at 305.70 MPH defeated Alexis DeJoria 4.227 E.T. at 297.68 MPH

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Original LogoAustin, TX (July 15, 2021) --- It has been four  years since Alexis DeJoria raced at one of the most historic tracks on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, Bandimere Speedway. The track is carved into the side of the mountains surrounding the greater Denver metropolitan area and for decades NHRA competitors have battled the tough atmospheric conditions willing their 11,000 horsepower race cars to exceed speeds and elapsed times to the amazement of the fans. This year’s installment of the NHRA Mile-High Nationals will feature a packed house ready to see DeJoria and her Bandero Tequila ROKiT Toyota Camry Funny Car chase down her first win of the season. Last year the event was not contested and ticket sales have been brisk so far this season.

“I was disappointed we didn’t get to race the Western Swing last year during my first year back,” said DeJoria, who returned in 2020 after a two year break from racing. “This is one of the times I really love back-to-back races. They are awesome tracks. I am excited to go back to Denver and Sonoma and finally Pomona. We are going into the swing with a strong race car.”

The three races in three weekends Western Swing will begin this weekend with DeJoria making her seventh start at Bandimere Speedway. The five-time Funny Car national event winner has qualified in the top half of the field three times at the Mile-High Nationals and raced to the semi-finals in 2015 after starting from the No. 7 position. As co-owner of her Funny Car team along with veteran crew chief Del Worsham DeJoria is enjoying her return to racing action, the enjoyable grind of competition and the unique aspects of racing at over 4,000 feet.

“It is always a little tough up in Denver because of the different conditions and we are racing at much higher altitude. I usually go in a couple days early and get acclimated to the elevation,” said DeJoria. “When I first started racing I didn’t do that and I was really winded at the end of my runs which sounds crazy because our races are so quick but it is an intense, hardcore three seconds. At the top end there is less oxygen and you aren’t making as much downforce. The parachutes don’t blossom and hit as hard. It is a whole different animal. I love racing up there and love the track and fans.”

This season has seen DeJoria dominate in qualifying but have limited success on race day. The team tested in Denver following the NHRA Norwalk Nationals and the runs have given DeJoria even more confidence that her first win of 2021 is right around the corner. Two weeks ago at the Norwalk Nationals DeJoria raced to her second semifinal finish of the season before bowing out to eventual event winner Cruz Pedregon.

NHRA Mile-High Nationals qualifying will begin this Friday at 7:00 p.m. MDT. Qualifying will continue with two sessions on Saturday with final eliminations starting at 11 a.m. MDT on Sunday. Fans can tune into live coverage on FS1 beginning at 2:00 p.m. MDT on race day.

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DC MotorSportsNORWALK, OH (June 27, 2021) --- For the second race in a row Alexis DeJoria raced her specially designed Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota Camry Funny Car and the packed house at Summit Equipment Motorsports Park was treated to strong performance numbers. After two days of qualifying and a couple of 3.9 second runs DeJoria started race day as the No. 6 qualifier. The past three appearances at the NHRA Norwalk Nationals DeJoria has raced to at least the quarterfinals and her first round race against veteran Paul Lee would be a tough test. Today she raced to her second semifinal of the 2021 season and first at the NHRA Norwalk Nationals.

DeJoria and her Del Worsham tuned Toyota Camry Funny Car did not take anything for granted to start race day. The Bandero Premium Tequila Funny Car that also represents ROKiT took the first round win with a 3.973 second run at 320.66 mph mirroring her final qualifying pass from Saturday. Both race cars were charging to the finish line but it was DeJoria who got their first and advanced to the quarterfinals.

In the second round facing the reigning Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan the Bandero Premium Tequila Funny Car team was unfazed and took out Hagan with a 3.952 second pass, the second quickest run of the session. DeJoria will have lane choice in the semifinals.

A massive rain storm blew across Summit Motorsports Park halting racing action for nearly three hours. When the teams returned to the track temperatures remained consistent but the air quality changed dramatically giving all the teams completely different racing conditions to deal with.

In the race of the day DeJoria and eventual winner Cruz Pedregon raced in one of the closest semifinals in recent memory. Both of the 11,000 horsepower nitro Funny Cars hit the finish line a mere 3.94 seconds after they took off. DeJoria proved she has one of the strongest race cars on the circuit running posting five 3.9 second runs including four in a row going back to the third qualifying session yesterday and today’s three elimination rounds. It was Pedregon advancing to the final round by a nose but DeJoria will head to the Western Swing with the confidence of a driver who has a race car that can go rounds every race.

“This weekend was interesting to say the least,” said DeJoria. “Conditions were all over the place, but we had five good runs and we were consistently in the ‘90s. We dropped cylinders the last two rounds. In the second round, we managed to get around Matt Hagan and in the semis, we just didn’t have enough. I didn’t see him the whole way down and I actually thought we’d won the round until we got to the top end. I’m proud of my Bandero Toyota guys, they’re doing a really good job. We’ve got two weeks off and I think we might do some testing. I’m just going to go home and keep practicing on my simulator. It’s one of those things. I’ve been doing this for about 15 years, but I’ve been out of the seat for two years. I just need to get back on the horse. I know I can do it. I know how to win and I’ve won before and I’ve got the team behind me.”

The Bandero Premium Tequila ROKiT Toyota Camry will be back on track in two weeks for the NHRA Mile-High Nationals in Denver. The team is sitting solidly in eighth place in the Camping World Funny Car point standings and is just outside the top five.

Qualifying Results

Q1: 3.936 sec, 327.35 mph; Qual. 6
Q2: 9.544 sec, 81.89 mph; Qual. 6
Q3: 3.974 sec, 324.59 mph; Qual. 6

Bonus Points: 0

Race Results

First Round
Driver                                    Qual       R/T         ET           MPH 
Alexis DeJoria                     6              .102        3.973     320.66 (W)
Paul Lee                               11           .061        4.053     292.14

Second Round
Driver                                    Qual       R/T         ET           MPH 
Alexis DeJoria                       6              .086        3.952     317.27 (W)
Matt Hagan                           3              .057        4.086     260.16

Semifinals
Driver                                    Qual       R/T         ET           MPH 
Alexis DeJoria                        6              .115        3.941     320.89
Cruz Pedregon                      10           .091        3.947     324.44 (W)

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Austin, TX (June 24, 2021) --- Last year the NHRA Norwalk Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park was one of a handful of events that was not contested during the shortened NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season. Veteran driver Alexis DeJoria is eager to get back to the track just over an hour west of Cleveland to continue her pursuit of her first Norwalk National title at the fan-friendly and wildly popular national event. Since it began hosting NHRA national events Norwalk has quickly established itself as one of the largest and fan-friendliest events on the nation tour boasting a pound of ice cream for $1 and an amazingly quick race track.

“We love racing in Norwalk,” said DeJoria. “The Bader family is very hands-on and the fans are incredible. After the last race our team is chomping at the bit to get back on track and redeem ourselves. We’ve got the car to do it.”

For the second national event in a row DeJoria will be running a Bandero Premium Tequila branded Toyota Camry Funny Car. The veteran driver and co-owner of the Bandero brand unveiled the race car two weeks ago at the NHRA New England Nationals and powered to the No. 5 qualifying spot. This weekend DeJoria will be looking to keep and improve on a winning streak at the NHRA Norwalk Nationals.

During the past three races contested in Norwalk DeJoria has won the first round and raced to the quarterfinals. In 2015 and 2016 she took upset wins from the No. 12 qualified position and in her last appearance at the track in 2017 she took out current crew chief, then driver, Del Worsham in the first round from the No. 7 qualified position.

DeJoria, a five-time national event winner, is looking for her first win since returning to her successful racing career last season. Teaming with veteran crew chief and two-time world champion driver Del Worsham has made her reintroduction to the sport almost seamless. As last season came to a close the ROKiT Toyota Camry team began flexing its performance muscle qualifying in the top five at the final five races of the season and racing to three semifinals in the last four events. This season DeJoria came out of the off-season just as strong posting top five qualifiers at five of the first six races.

NHRA Norwalk Nationals qualifying will begin this Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET. Qualifying will continue with two sessions on Saturday with final eliminations starting at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday. Fans can tune into live coverage on FOX beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET on race day. 

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