NHRA Funny Car standout Alexis DeJoria used a string of 3.9-second passes to reach the semifinals at the first race of the 2023 NHRA Camping World Series season, the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.
“It feels great to start off the year strong and go to the semifinals here in Gainesville,” DeJoria said. “Wish we could have made it one more round and gone to the finals, but I’m very proud of our performance today.”
Sporting a new look on her Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota GR Supra, DeJoria went out in the final qualifying session and posted her quickest pass of qualifying, a 3.954 E.T. at 326.71 mph, to qualify No. 9 for Sunday eliminations.
Kicking off her 10th full season as a Funny Car driver, DeJoria opened eliminations with her best performance of the event, beating Cruz Pedregon with a 3.900-second pass at 334.32-mph. DeJoria is now 10-8 against the multi-time world champion and was the only Funny Car driver to win out of the left lane in the opening round.
DeJoria met another multi-time champion, reigning Funny Car world champ Ron Capps, in the second round. She posted a strong 3.931 E.T. next to a tire-smoking Capps to advance to the semifinals. With that round win, DeJoria also earned a berth in the first Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge of the season. The specialty race will take place at the series’ next stop in Phoenix.
“I love going up against Cruz and Capps – they’re really competitive teams,” DeJoria said. “Funny Car in general is just a really competitive class, especially right now, but being able to take down some monsters today felt really good. My team does a great job. Del (Worsham), Nicky (Boninfante), and all the guys, they always give me a good car, and we’re starting the year off strong.”
In the semifinals, DeJoria and Matt Hagan traded the lead as they went down the 1,000-foot racetrack, but Hagan’s 3.896-second effort prevented DeJoria and her 3.912 E.T. from moving on to the final round.
“We struggled a little bit during qualifying but turned it around when it counts, and had a great car during eliminations,” DeJoria said. “We got some really good points this weekend, and we’re so excited to head to Arizona and be a part of the very first Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty specialty race.”
DeJoria and her DC Motorsports team will get another shot at their first Wally of the season in two weeks at the NHRA Arizona Nationals, March 24-26, at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
Qualified: No. 9 (3.954 E.T. at 326.71 MPH)
Elimination Round Results:
E1: 3.900 E.T. at 334.32 MPH defeated Cruz Pedregon 8.424 E.T. at 89.00 MPH
E2: 3.931 E.T. at 330.47 MPH defeated Ron Capps 9.617 E.T. at 74.27 MPH
E3: 3.912 E.T. at 327.19 MPH defeated by Matt Hagan 3.896 E.T. at 330.39 MPH
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Funny Car Point Standings (Unofficial):
|7||Bob Tasca III||60|