Alexis DeJoria and the Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota Funny Car team clocked quick and consistent passes throughout the NHRA Nevada Nationals race weekend, and continue to appear to be on the verge of breaking through for a win in 2022. DeJoria has enjoyed a string of successes in Las Vegas, including two event wins and a No. 1 qualifier at the 2021 Fall event, and was hoping ‘The Strip’ would be the scene of the team’s first win of the year.
DeJoria posted three sub-four-second runs during qualifying, including powering to the second-quickest pass of the second session to earn two bonus points before posting a 3.919 E.T. in Q3, followed by a 3.917-second run in Q4. Unfortunately, during the final qualifying session, DeJoria’s machine shoved her hard toward the middle of the track past the finish line, and she was docked 15 points for crossing over the centerline stripe ahead of the 1,320-foot marker.
Starting race day from eighth out of a 19-car entry list, DeJoria had lane choice over Paul Lee, her first-round opponent. She was straight down the groove, powering to a 3.906 E.T. to easily defeat Lee’s early tire smoker. In round two, she faced championship contender Robert Hight in a close nail-biter of a race. The two charged hard down the track, but Hight held a slight lead from start to finish, which helped propel him through the finish line beams first, ending DeJoria’s day after the quarterfinals.
“We’re still making progress, and making good runs down the track,” said DeJoria, who departs Las Vegas ranked eighth in the standings. “Unfortunately, in qualifying, we got deducted 15 points for touching the centerline after the finish line with the new rule that NHRA instated in the last two years. So, that hurt us. We won the first round, which was really good, we needed that to make up for those lost points. Second round against Hight, we gave him all we could. We ran another 3.90, and we were consistent but it just wasn’t enough.”
The Bandero team has come close to parking their Supra in the winner’s circle in 2022, having raced to a runner-up finish in Charlotte last month, and are now shifting their focus to sealing the deal and finishing the day with trophy in hand at the season finale in Pomona, Calif. in two weeks.
“We’re going to Pomona next and it’s points-and-a-half,” said DeJoria, a six-time race winner who is only two points shy of moving ahead of No. 7 ranked Tim Wilkerson. “We’re still trying to win a race this year, and this will be our last shot so hopefully, we can get it done, but regardless, we want to finish as high up in the standings as possible.”
DeJoria and the Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota GR Supra Funny Car team will make a bid for a Wally trophy for the final time in 2022 at the NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif., Nov. 11-13.
Qualified: No. 8 (3.917 E.T. at 327.03 MPH)
Elimination Round Results:
E1: 3.906 E.T. at 328.86 MPH defeated Paul Lee 9.415 E.T. at 76.88 MPH
E2: 3.907 E.T. at 326.24 MPH defeated by Robert Hight 3.894 E.T. at 327.03 MPH
NHRA Camping World Series Funny Car Point Standings (unofficial):
|5||Bob Tasca III||2391|
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