Delray Beach, FL (June 26, 2012)—With temperatures threatening to break into the nineties,’ it’s looking like a hot weekend at the 15th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Joliet, IL for the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patron Toyota Camry Funny Car team.
Coming off of their two best race weekends to date, Team Patron travels to Chicago feeling confident and looking to keep the momentum going strong. Prior to this weekend’s race, the black-and-green team made their first-ever Final round appearance at the Thunder Valley Nationals, a huge accomplishment for the young team. At the May Toyota Supernationals in Englishtown, Team Patron broke into the 4.0-seconds elapsed time bracket for the first time. Their 4.040-second pass during Friday night’s qualifying session landed team driver Alexis “La Patrona” DeJoria the right to claim the title of the second quickest rookie ever in the Nitro Funny Car class.
“Our car is running well and it’s consistent. We’re moving in the right direction. I’m really proud of how well our team has performed these past few weeks,” said DeJoria, a top Rookie of the Year contender. “Del [Worsham, the team’s crew chief] has done really well in Chicago in the past- he knows how to win,” she said, speaking of Worsham’s 2011 Route 66 Nationals Top Fuel win- one of four victories at that track for her award-winning crew chief during his successful Top Fuel career.
“I’ve raced in Chicago in the past with my Alcohol [Funny] car. It’s a great facility, and it’ll be nice to go back to a familiar race track in my Nitro car. Before we head out there, I’m going to spend some time in the city with my family seeing the sites and doing some press. Chicago is an awesome town and I’m looking forward to sharing it with my daughter.”
Jim Oberhofer, Vice President of Kalitta Motorsports, shares DeJoria’s view of the Midwestern tour stop. “Chicago is a nice track and the fans are always great. Historically, we [Kalitta Motorsports] have had a lot of success there. Of course, things are a little trickier these days now that this race falls during the summer, and both Friday and Saturday are evening qualifying sessions, but we know our car is good,” Oberhofer added, “With all four qualifying runs taking place at night, we’re not going to have much information for race day, but our strategy going into this weekend is to take advantage of both night sessions, run hard, and position ourselves in the ladder as best we can. That way, come race day, we’re not stuck going up against someone that’s very, very competitive.”
“This race is a funny thing, because you could show up on Sunday in the number sixteen spot and race the guy in the number one qualifying spot, and you’re both pretty much on equal footing because neither of you have any information. When you’re doing laps in the evening all weekend long, you really aren’t sure of what to expect come race day when you’re starting off at 11AM. The sun is more intense, the track gets hotter, the rubber gets slicker- it’s a whole different animal. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a lot of upsets this weekend.”
Alexis DeJoria and the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patron Toyota Camry Funny Car team are currently ranked 13th and are looking to add some more points this weekend at the 15th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Joliet, IL. Funny Car qualifying begins at 5PM on Friday.
June 30th, 6PM-7:30PM EST
July 1st, 6PM-9PM 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.