Brainerd, Minnesota (August 19, 2012)—After enjoying a quick and consistent car all weekend-long, Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patron Toyota Camry Funny Car, suffered an unfortunate first round loss to John Force after what can only be described as a wacky round, and a unique learning experience for the first-year Funny Car driver.
In their fifth matchup of the season, the rookie and veteran drivers pulled up to the line ready to battle it out. As he has done previously when matched-up against the black-and-green machine, Force staged deep, but this time ended up red lighting (foul start). His ‘jumping the gun’ error caused DeJoria to react and red light as well, although at that point she had technically won the round due to the ‘first or worst’ NHRA rule. Unaware that she had won the round, DeJoria continued to go for it, pedaling the car as it smoked the tires and went on a wild ride, swerving and eventually crossing the center line. Just as the ‘first or worst’ rule had helped her initially win the round, it then caused her to have to give up the win after the car crossed over the middle, which is considered the ‘worst’ offense of the two.
“We were pretty stoked going into the first round today. It was like a rematch of Seattle, going up against Force again. It seems like we keep getting matched up against each other,” said DeJoria. “I was super focused and took my time getting in. I didn’t realize he had red lit or that I had even red lit. I was just focusing on getting down quick. Go means go! The car smoked the tires, and when I didn’t see him in the other lane, I just kept going and trying to get the car to hook up, but it never did. I hadn’t seen the win lights come on and by the time I got the radio call to let off it because I had won, I was already in a sideways drift towards the center line and I ended up clipping the middle. It was a bummer to have that happen- we really needed that round win. It was the second time I have ever pedaled the car and I feel as though I did my best. I was just trying to get to the finish line first. When you don’t see a car in the other lane, you just don’t know. I was trying to keep it straight, and it was unfortunate that we lost, but it was certainly a good learning experience for me.”
“Our next race is Indy, and I’m really looking forward to getting back out there. We know we have a fast car, and our team is doing a great job. Thankfully, my team is very tolerant of my rookie mistakes. It’s all part of the first-year learning curve.”
Alexis DeJoria and the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patron Toyota Camry Funny Car team will compete next at the 58th Annual Mac Tools US Nationals presented by Auto-Plus in Indianapolis, August 29th-September 3rd.
About Alexis DeJoria
Alexis DeJoria, daughter of the famed John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems and proud owner of Tequila Patron, is a professional NHRA race car driver, competing in the Nitro Funny Car class on the Kalitta Motorsports team. She is their second Nitro Funny Car driver and fourth member of the team. Alexis drives a Tequila Patron-sponsored 2012 Toyota Camry.
Alexis had a successful career in the Top Alcohol Funny Car category where she co-owned and operated her team, and was one of the few females ever to do so. She left the TAFC category holding the title of Top Female Top Alcohol Funny Car Racer and 2011 NHRA Northwest Nationals TAFC event champion. She is the 2nd woman ever to win a TAFC race. She is currently the female world record holder for the fastest and quickest TAFC speeds. Alexis is also well-known for her infamous 2009 Englishtown, NJ crash.
Alexis, who had all the opportunity in the world to pursue any type of career, felt strongly about following her passion, and her need for adrenaline drove her to pursue the unlikely profession of auto-racing. The determination to ‘blaze her own trail’ continues to drive her and push her to higher levels in male dominated sport of drag racing.
About Kalitta Motorsports
Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Kalitta Motorsports is a Top Fuel and Funny Car drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. The team was founded and is owned by drag racing icon Connie “the Bounty Hunter” Kalitta. For more than 50 years, Connie has been involved in the sport as a driver, tuner, and an owner. Kalitta Motorsports is one of the most successful teams in the history of auto racing with five world championships and over 50 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.