SONOMA, Calif. (July 28, 2013)— After qualifying in the No. 16 spot at the 26th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway, the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car team knew they were up against tough odds when being paired up against No. 1 qualifier and current NHRA Funny Car series points leader Matt Hagan in round one of eliminations on Sunday.
The team struggled to get their footing early on in the weekend and after being plagued with a recent string of first round losses, a flash of the win light in Team Green’s lane was a well-deserved and hard-earned reward. Both cars struggled to make a clean pass, but Alexis DeJoria’s veteran-like driving skills prevailed and she was able to drive around the 2011 World Champion, running a 4.705-second pass to his 5.288. According to DeJoria, “That first round matchup against Hagan was a tough one. He was the number one qualifier and his car is always competitive. This was the first time we’d gone to head to head in competition this year. It had been a while since we’d made it out of first round so to come out on top was a huge confidence booster for all of us.”
Round two of eliminations found DeJoria facing Robert Hight. “We knew that was going to be another fierce matchup,” she said. “He had low E.T. in round one and his car has been consistently good over the past few weeks. I had a better reaction time than he did, so I got him on a holeshot win with our 4.145 to his 4.127 run. That win was such a good feeling and we were all so excited to be going to the semis.”
The semi-finals proved to be a nail-biter of a race as DeJoria and opponent John Force raced side-by-side down the 1,000-foot stretch. DeJoria powered her 10,000 horsepower Patrón hot rod down the track and crossed the finish line in just 4.095-seconds at 309.84-mph. “Unfortunately, in round three, we just barely fell short to John Force. We made our best run of the weekend- a 4.095, but he ran a 4.086 and took the win by just fourteen thousandths of a second. I was disappointed that we didn’t have the chance for a run at the Wally in the finals, but we put up a good fight.”
Team Patrón will leave Sonoma, the second stop on the famous Western Swing, and head to Seattle for another opportunity to pick up more points next weekend. With just three races left to crack into the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship Top Ten list, the team knows that they need another Sunday of going rounds, and they look forward to riding the momentum of success from this weekend.
“I’m so stoked our Toyota Camry Funny Car went to the semis today, especially after qualifying 16th by just a hair. This was such a good day for Team Patrón. We’ve been working on a new clutch setup and making some good headway. I’m just really proud of Tommy, and Glen, and all of my guys. We were able to pick up 40 points today and we may still be able to pull off a Top Ten finish. It’s been a while since we’ve all felt this excited and we’re looking forward to racing in Seattle.”
The team currently sits in the No. 12 spot on the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship points list with 640 points. Their next opportunity to gain more points will be at the 26th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals. For more information, please visit www.alexisdejoria.com. Follow us on Twitter: @ADR_Nitro771 and Like Us on Facebook: Alexis DeJoria.
July 28, 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 Patrόn, is a professional NHRA race car driver, competing in the nitro Funny Car class on the Kalitta Motorsports team. Alexis drives a Tequila Patrόn-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.