DEJORIA RACES TO SEMIFINALS AT CAROLINA NATIONALS

Photo Credit Ron Lewis

Alexis DeJoria and the Bandero Premium Tequila/ROKiT took full advantage of great racing conditions to race to the semifinals at the DeWalt NHRA Carolina Nationals. Through three qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday that saw the five-time Funny Car winner post consistently quick elapsed times, the team moved into race day as the No. 7 qualifier.

“This weekend really felt like it was our weekend to win,” said DeJoria. “We qualified seventh, which wasn’t the best, but no matter what we’re making good consistent runs in qualifying. We had a good run in the first round against a tough opponent in Blake Alexander. In the second round against Terry Haddock we made a really good run and I had a good light. My reaction times kept getting better each round.” 

DeJoria took care of business in the first round with a wire-to-wire win over Blake Alexander. The Bandero Tequila Toyota Camry Funny Car was first off the line and got to the finish line first with a winning 3.913 second pass at 324.98 mph. It was the team’s second quickest run of the weekend but a strong run in the heat of the day. 

In the quarterfinals DeJoria was facing veteran Terry Haddock who upset Robert Hight in the first round.  Once again DeJoria was on her game with a reaction time advantage, and she advanced to the semifinals on the strength of a 3.960 second run. The team tested after the Reading Nationals the extra runs paid off with win lights on race day.

Racing against two-time Funny Car champion Cruz Pedregon in the semifinal DeJoria was geared up for victory. She continued her assault on the Christmas Tree with a stellar .047 reaction time to give her Toyota Camry Funny Car a huge advantage. In a surprising turn of events for the first time in recent memory her race car over-powered the racetrack and smoked the tires very early in the run. DeJoria attempted to pedal her 11,000 horsepower Funny Car but realized there was no chance to reel in her opponent who was on a smooth run.

“Going into the semifinals against Cruz, who’s been really, really fast,” said DeJoria. “I was ready and had an .047 light against him and our car just did something that it never does – it smoked the tires right at the hit – and I just watched him go all the way down the track. We were ready. It couldn’t have been a better set-up all day long and then we smoked the tires right at the hit. Luckily, our next race is at St. Louis, we’ve had some good luck there, but we’ve also had some problems. It’s a good track and we’re excited to get back on it. We’re closing the gap and the finals will be here before you know it and, hopefully, we can get a win before the end of the season.”

With six races in the Countdown playoff DeJoria and her Bandero ROKiT Camry Funny Car team are building momentum at the perfect time. Over the last six races the team has reached a final round and three more semifinals including today’s strong performance. 

Qualifying Results

Q1: 3.907 sec, 328.62 mph; Qual. 6

Q2: 4.045 sec, 279.61mph; Qual. 6

Q3: 3.926 sec, 294.98 mph; Qual. 7

Bonus Points: 0

Race Results

First Round
Driver                                  Qual       R/T         ET           MPH 
Alexis DeJoria                   7             .086       3.913     324.98 (W)                        

Blake Alexander                               10           .088       4.317     298.27

Second Round
Driver                                  Qual       R/T         ET           MPH 
Alexis DeJoria                   7             .071       3.960     318.32 (W)                        

Terry Haddock                  15           .135       10.239   91.63

Semifinal Round
Driver                                  Qual       R/T         ET           MPH 
Alexis DeJoria                   7             .047       11.519   68.13                    

Cruz Pedregon                  3             .091       3.959     326.24 (W)

Camping World Funny Car Countdown Top Ten

1.          Ron Capps                                             2233

2.          Matt Hagan                                          2228

3.          John Force                                            2208

4.          J.R. Todd                                                2187

5.          Cruz Pedregon                                     2181

6.          Robert Hight                                         2161

6.          Tim Wilkerson                                      2161

8.          Alexis DeJoria                                      2136

9.          Bob Tasca III                                         2130

10.       Blake Alexander                                   2064

Tony Fay PR