Alexis DeJoria has enjoyed a history of success at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway over the years, including a pair of wins and a No. 1 qualifier, and the three-time finalist in 2023 was hoping a little Las Vegas luck would help propel her to her first win of the year on Sunday at the NHRA Nevada Nationals.
DeJoria opened the race weekend by powering the Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota GR Supra to a solid 3.958-second run. In Friday’s second session, she improved upon her time, posting a 3.902 E.T. at 300.26 MPH to move into the top half of the field. Traction issues plagued DeJoria and the DC Motorsports team on Saturday, and by the time qualifying concluded at the series’ penultimate event, DeJoria had landed in the No. 8 spot. Starting from the quick half of the field for the 13th time in 20 events, DeJoria found herself facing Tim Wilkerson in the first round for the second consecutive race.
At the NHRA Fall Nationals near Dallas two weeks prior, DeJoria fell to Wilkerson during the opening round of eliminations, but on Sunday in Las Vegas, DeJoria was able to avenge the loss by clocking an impressive 3.923 E.T. to easily defeat her opponent who lost traction before suffering an explosion in the opposite lane. In the quarterfinals, DeJoria drew championship-chaser Robert Hight, who had impressed with a 3.816-second lap in the first round of eliminations. Crew chiefs Del Worsham and Nicky Boninfante had the car tuned up and were prepared to give Hight a run for his money, but a parts malfunction caused the Bandero machine to slow while Hight made a clean pass to advance.
“Lady Luck wasn’t on our side this weekend,” said DeJoria, a six-time Funny Car event champion. “We had some good runs in qualifying and earned a spot in the top half of the field. Got our first round-win in a long time against Timmy. We souped it up for second round and ended up breaking our blower belt and obviously Robert was straight down the line and got the win.
“We were really strong at the beginning of the season and towards the end we’ve had some issues but it’s all learning for us, and all building for the future,” added DeJoria, who will leave Las Vegas ranked ninth in the Funny Car rankings. “The more things that you experience, the more you learn from it, and it makes you a stronger team, a stronger driver, and we’ll just take it all to the last race of the season and finish strong.”
The 2023 NHRA Camping World Series season concludes with the In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif., Nov. 10 -12.
Qualified: No. 8 (3.902 E.T. at 300.26 MPH)
Elimination Round Results:
E1: 3.923 E.T. at 326.16 MPH defeated Tim Wilkerson 4.674 E.T. at 164.49 MPH
E2: 4.085 E.T. at 247.79 MPH defeated by Robert Hight 3.859 E.T. at 333.99 MPH
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Funny Car Point Standings (Unofficial):
|2||Bob Tasca III||2524|
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