Returning to the track where she made her professional debut 12 years prior, Austin, Texas resident Alexis DeJoria was looking to capture her first victory of the season in front of a hometown crowd on Sunday at the Texas Motorplex. DeJoria made two strong runs during qualifying to secure a spot in the top half of the Texas NHRA Fall Nationals Funny Car field, but a first-round exit during eliminations ended her chances at picking up a win at the Ennis, Texas facility located outside of Dallas.
Aboard the Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota GR Supra, DeJoria opened qualifying with a conservative 3.951-second baseline pass to start the weekend. While the team struggled in Friday night’s ‘field-setting’ session, DeJoria came back strong in the fourth and final qualifying round on Saturday evening, clocking a 3.876 E.T. at 330.03 MPH to move up into the quick-half of the field, landing in the No. 8 position.
Facing No. 9 qualifier Tim Wilkerson in what was billed as NHRA’s ‘Funny Car marquee match-up’ during round one of eliminations on Sunday, DeJoria was looking to extend her 12-8 record over her opponent. Previously, DeJoria and Wilkerson had faced each other 13 times in the first round with DeJoria having a winning 7-6 record, but Wilkerson was able to even the score when traction issues plagued DeJoria early into the run. While her opponent suffered traction problems himself, he had enough of a lead over DeJoria that he was able to cross the finish line first, posting a 4.416 E.T. to DeJoria’s 5.238-second effort.
“It’s tough, we’ve lost first round at the last couple of races and this is definitely not how we started off the year,” said DeJoria. “We had the car to beat throughout a large portion of the regular season. We’re just going to have to keep testing. We’ve had some mechanical issues that have plagued us in this Countdown, but we’ve got a great car. During qualifying, we all really thought we had our car back. It ran that 3.87 in Q4 and then today we were planning on stepping it up a little bit more and it just didn’t take. It went out there and shook, and I saw Timmy was in trouble so I got back on it, it smoked the tires, got back on it again, and man, if we were still quarter-mile racing, I might’ve very well passed him at the top end. I was fighting for it, trying to chase him down. Definitely disappointing to go out first round today, but we’ve got two more races left this season. Obviously, we just want to get a win before the year’s over.”
While the clock is ticking on the 2023 season, DeJoria feels confident knowing that the next race on the schedule is at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a facility where she has enjoyed a long history of success.
“Vegas is up next and that’s definitely one of our better tracks, performance-wise. I’ve won twice there, been to a few finals, been No. 1 qualifier. If we can’t make something happen in Vegas, I’ll be very surprised. But, before we leave Dallas, I just want to acknowledge the Meyer family. They always put on a great show and I just want to thank them so much for all of their support and what they do for our sport.”
DeJoria and the Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota GR Supra Funny Car team will head to the NHRA Nevada Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway ranked ninth in the standings. Qualifying begins on Friday, Oct. 27 at 1:00 p.m. PT.
Qualified: No. 8 (3.876 E.T. at 330.03 MPH)
Elimination Round Results:
E1: 5.238 E.T. at 209.17 MPH defeated by Tim Wilkerson 4.416 E.T. at 202.42 MPH
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Funny Car Point Standings (Unofficial):
|2||Bob Tasca III||2425|
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