BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 16, 2013) After a string of first round losses, the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patron Toyota Camry Funny Car team broke their streak when driver Alexis DeJoria defeated former Kalitta teammate Jeff Arend in the first round of eliminations at Bristol Dragway during the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals on Sunday afternoon.
The team’s solid 4.096-second run from Friday night’s second round of qualifying positioned them in the top half of the field in the No. 8 spot, earning them the advantage of lane choice against Arend. DeJoria, who visited the final round in her rookie campaign at this race last year, was quick off the line giving her the initial advantage. After dropping a cylinder, it looked like Arend might steal the win, but DeJoria held on, driving the car like a seasoned veteran, and was able to seal the deal and advance Team Patron to round two of eliminations.
‘We had a good first round against Jeff. Last year he was our teammate and we had to run against each other and we beat him. History repeated itself this year when we were matched up yet again here in Thunder Valley, and luckily, our Toyota Camry triggered the win lights again. That run was a little tricky because the car dropped a cylinder and was definitely a beast to fight to keep on the race track, but we won, and that helped to build my confidence going into the next round.’
Round two found DeJoria matched up against teammate and former crew chief, No. 1 qualifier Del Worsham. In the battle of Kalitta vs. Kalitta’ Toyota Camrys, DeJoria knew the competition would be fierce. ‘Going up against Del, it’s a student-teacher matchup, and I think when I race him I try extra hard. Thereâs just something about it. I want to show him how well he did with me and how much heâs taught me. Whenever weâre paired up next to each other, I seem to cut really good lights. Unfortunately, this time around I just left a little bit too early and red lit. Both of our cars ran really well and it was disappointing to go out like that.â
Patron tuner Tommy DeLago remarks that her “jumping the gunâ” just proves how passionate she is as a driver and how hungry she is for her first win. “It just goes to show that she’s trying her absolute hardest to have a good reaction time. If you never red light, youâre probably not trying hard enough.”
Of the run he said, “We were in a tough spot going into that round because we were in the last pairing in round one and first pairing in round two, and with all the oil downs in the first round, the turnaround time was very tight for us. We didnât even have time to start the car back in the pit. We were just trying to be safe and get the car down smoothly because a lot of cars were having trouble making it down the track, and we accomplished that. Overall, this weekend was pretty good for Team PatrÃ³n. We were really happy about Friday” two qualifying runs (4.142-sec at 302.21-mph, and 4.096-sec at 312.42-mph). That was a good start and provided us with additional information. Iâm starting to get back to the feeling that I had at the beginning of the year where I’m really, really excited to go to each race because I think we’re going to win one very soon.
DeJoria shares DeLago’s optimism saying, “Although we didn’t make it all the way to the finals like we did last year, I still count this weekend as somewhat of a success, and we definitely can’t leave Bristol feeling bad. We just need to concentrate on how much progress weâre making. I feel very confident in my team and my abilities as a driver, and weâre all looking forward to racing in New Hampshire in just a few days.â”
Alexis DeJoria and the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patron Toyota Camry Funny Car team currently sit in 12th place with 441 points. They compete next at the inaugural NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H. For more information, please visit www.alexisdejoria.com. Follow us on Twitter: @ADR_Nitro771 and Like Us on Facebook: Alexis DeJoria.
June 16, 11PM-12AM 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. Alexis drives a Tequila Patron-sponsored 2013 Toyota Camry. 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) Mello Yello 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.