Norwalk, Ohio (July 4, 2012)— The Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patron Toyota Camry Funny Car team has been riding a wave of success and heads into Norwalk, OH with a great feeling of accomplishment and looking to keep the momentum going this weekend at the 6th Annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. In the past three races, Team Patron, led by ESPY nominated crew chief Del Worsham, has set a 2012 Rookie record, made final and semi-final round appearances, and beat 15-time NHRA Funny Car champion, John Force.
The team’s driver, Alexis “La Patrona” DeJoria visited neighboring Cleveland, Ohio last month for a media tour and has been looking forward to coming back to compete in the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals ever since. “I’ve been here several times in my Alcohol [Funny] car, but never in my Nitro car. Bill Bader and his family operate a great facility and I can’t wait to hit the track for the first time in my Patron Toyota Camry,” she said, speaking of the Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.
“We’ve done so well lately. Our team has come so far in such a short period of time,” said the Rookie of the Year candidate who visits Ohio with her family as they extend their ‘4th of July’ celebration, taking advantage of the nearby amusement parks. “I made a couple of mistakes this past weekend, but we still managed to get to the semis. Our car is running really good and my teammate [Jeff Arend] won the race, which is awesome, so all is well for Team Kalitta!” she said, referring to last week’s NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Illinois.
Norwalk is a big race for Kalitta Motorsports, as it is the team’s ‘home track’ so friends and family will be out at the Ohio drag strip in full effect this weekend. Team Patron hopes to put on an exciting show for all their fans and drag racing first-timers making the trip over to Norwalk.
The 8,000 horsepower black-and-green stunner has been running excellent lately, but with another hot weekend coming up, Team Patron will have to overcome the challenge of what could be tricky track conditions. “Racing is always a little complicated there because it’s the middle of the summer, and the temperatures are supposed to be in the nineties [degrees] this weekend, which will make for a really tricky race track. Just like last weekend, our main focus going into the race is to really put it all out there during that Friday night qualifying session. If you don’t run well in that session, you’ll be in trouble the rest of the weekend as far as how you’re positioned,” said VP of Kalitta Motorsports’ Jim Oberhofer, referring to how the teams are paired up in Sunday’s eliminations.
“Looking at Chicago, the team deal is really starting to payoff. The two Toyota Camry Funny Cars [the Patron and DHL cars] were doing the exact same thing on every run, and with Jeff’s win and Alexis making it to the semis, it just shows how much stronger the team is getting,” he explained of the Kalitta Motorsports Funny Car strategy of having both cars tuned exactly the same. “Hopefully this week, we’ll keep going down the track, go rounds and make another final round appearance.”
The Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patron Toyota Camry Funny Car team currently sits in eleventh place on the points ladder, just 83 points away from the ‘Top Ten.’ They hope to continue to climb the rankings this weekend, July 6th-8th, at the 6th Annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio. Funny Car qualifying begins at 4PM on Friday afternoon.
July 7th, 6PM-7:30PM EST
July 8th, 8PM-11PM EST
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.