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Alexis DeJoria, Bandero Team Runs Strong In Sonoma But Comes Up Short On Race Day

After an impressive qualifying performance that saw Alexis DeJoria clock the two best laps of the day on Friday, and another solid run on Saturday, the Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota GR Supra Funny Car team looked prime for a long day of going rounds on Sunday at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals.
 
DeJoria unloaded with a 3.942 E.T. during the weekend’s first qualifying session to place her name on the top of the Funny Car timing sheets. She backed up her Q1 effort on Friday night with another impressive blast of 3.966 seconds at 327.82 MPH and was the only Funny Car driver to make a full pull down the Sonoma Raceway track during that session. DeJoria and her Del Worsham-guided team’s strong qualifying performance earned six bonus points overall and placed them in the No. 2 seed to start race day. DeJoria pulled up to the line on Sunday morning, ready to square off against Paul Lee, her round-one competitor, but an early step of the throttle led to a red light start for the six-time Funny Car winner, and Lee advanced into the next round.
 
“Qualifying went really well out here in Sonoma,” said DeJoria, a three-time finalist in 2023. “We got six crucial bonus points from Friday’s qualifying runs, which we definitely needed because first round, unfortunately, I red-lit. It was an extremely long light but I’m not trying to make any excuses for myself. It’s inexcusable and I will just take this and go back home and keep working on my reaction times.
 
“The pressure is on right now, and we do have the car. Sometimes, when you feel like you’re the weakest link you want to try extra hard, but that [red light] was a surprise. I really didn’t expect myself to do that. We have an amazing race car right now. There’s plenty of races left, I was just hoping to get that first Sonoma win today.”
 
Alexis DeJoria and the Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota GR Supra Funny Car team close out the Western Swing ranked fifth in the NHRA Camping World Series Funny Car standings. They will compete next at the Menard’s NHRA Nationals, Aug. 11 – 13, where will make a run for the final Heartland Motorsports Park Wally trophy.

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