Maple Grove Raceway Hosts First Playoff Race as DeJoria Chases First Championship

Photo Credit Ron Lewis

The goal for Alexis DeJoria has not changed since she returned to the Camping World Drag Racing Series at the beginning of last season. The veteran driver who has won at every level in drag racing, including five professional Funny Car national events, is chasing her dream of winning the NHRA Funny Car world championship. With the Countdown starting this weekend at Maple Grove Raceway outside of Reading, Pennsylvania, DeJoria and her Bandero Premium Tequila/ ROKiT Toyota Camry Funny Car team have seven races to write their names into the record books.

“Reading is going to be crucial,” said DeJoria. “We definitely need to gain some points there. We’re a very good team. It’s just getting everything aligned at the right time. Now it’s crunch time and everything is coming together.”

DeJoria will start the playoffs as the No. 7 seed and will face a very manageable 70-point deficit behind the No. 1 seed Ron Capps. Since the institution of the Countdown in 2007 drivers have won championships from a wide variety of seeding positions, including Robert Hight moving from the No. 10 seed to the championship in 2009. Additionally, Funny Car championships have been captured from the No. 5 and No. 4 seeds multiple times.

Last year DeJoria closed out the season which did not include a Countdown with three semifinal finishes over the final four races. She also qualified no lower than fifth over the final five races. If she can duplicate that effort starting this weekend and mix in race wins there is no doubt she will be in contention for the championship when the season ends in Pomona, California, in early November.

In 2014 DeJoria raced to the semifinals at Maple Grove Raceway which was her best effort at a track known to produce record times thanks to its smooth racing surface and productive weather conditions.

“I love Reading because it has the potential of having a record-breaking run every time out there,” said DeJoria. “We’re going to try to gain some points in qualifying and then just look to add as many points as we can and go rounds.”

The Bandero Tequila/ROKiT Toyota Funny Car has been one of the most consistently quick race cars all season. She has only started race day from the bottom half of the field twice in 13 races and in seven of those events she started No. 3 or higher. The Toyota Camry Funny Car tuned by world champion Del Worsham and Nicky Boninfante has also raced to four semifinals and a final round in Denver.

“We have a great Toyota Funny Car, and I am ready to start the playoffs,” said DeJoria. “There are seven races to see who the champion will be. I like our odds because everyone is totally focused on what we need to do to be successful.”

Qualifying for the NHRA Reading Nationals will begin Friday night at 5:45 p.m. from Maple Grove Raceway with two sessions on Saturday. Final eliminations will begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday. The race will be broadcast on FS1 beginning at 2 p.m. ET.

Tony Fay PR