A grueling four race stretch of NHRA national events will come to a close this weekend at the NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway outside of St. Louis. Alexis DeJoria and the Bandero Premium Tequila ROKiT Toyota Camry might be one of the few teams that would like to keep the racing streak alive on the heels of their strong performance at the DeWalt NHRA Carolina Nationals last weekend. The five-time national event winner raced to the semifinals and while they did not get the trophy, the improved performance numbers across the board has the entire team ready for the final five races of the NHRA Countdown.
“Luckily, our next race is at St. Louis, we’ve had some good luck there, but we’ve also had some problems,” said DeJoria. “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.”
Sitting in eighth place may not seem like an optimal position but the compact point differential has DeJoria only 51 points, less than three rounds of racing out of fourth place. A strong weekend in St. Louis could easily catapult her into the top tier of Funny Cars with four races remaining. The remaining Countdown national events also play into DeJoria’s hand considering last season the Bandero Tequila ROKiT Funny Car team performed very well at those events.
“When you look at the races we have coming up to close out the season I have performed well there over the years,” said DeJoria. “I think we could get on a roll at just the right time and make this Countdown interesting. The main thing we need to do is make a great run Friday night during the first session. That will set the tone for the rest of the weekend.”
DeJoria’s success at World Wide Technology Raceway extends back to the 2015 season when she raced to the quarterfinals from the No. 12 qualifier position upsetting Tommy Johnson Jr. in the first round before losing to Ron Capps in the next round. Two years later as the No. 4 qualifier DeJoria once again raced to the quarterfinals with a strong race day performance. After a two-year hiatus from racing DeJoria returned, qualified No. 2, her best starting position in St. Louis, and raced to the semifinals before losing to eventual finalist Matt Hagan.
“We had a wild ride in the second round last year, but I was really proud of my team getting us ready for the semifinals,” said DeJoria. “These race cars are a handful. We have been doing a great job this season of going up and down the track. (Crew chiefs) Del Worsham and Nicky Boninfante have a great handle on the tune up and I am looking forward to getting to St. Louis.”
The Bandero Tequila ROKiT Toyota Camry Funny Car has raced to the semifinals in two of the last three races and additionally has started from the top half of the field in eleven of the past twelve races. In that span DeJoria has been either the No. 2 qualifier five times.
Qualifying for the NHRA MIdwest Nationals begins with one session on Friday at 6:00 p.m. with two more qualifying sessions on Saturday afternoon. Eliminations will begin on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. CDT with the race being broadcast nationally on FS1 starting at 1:00 p.m. CDT.
Tony Fay PR