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Alexis DeJoria Carries Positive Momentum into 2024 NHRA Season After Solid Showing at Gatornationals

Alexis DeJoria and the Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota GR Supra Funny Car team made four strong runs out of five during the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season-opener at Gainesville Raceway. The team’s solid outing at the 55th annual Gatornationals has them feeling confident in their car and looking forward to continued success throughout the season as DeJoria attempts to become NHRA’s first female Funny Car world champion.
 
DeJoria began her 11th season driving a nitromethane-powered Funny Car by unloading with a 3.953-second E.T. during the weekend’s opening qualifying round to place her in the provisional No. 6 spot. On Friday night, crew chief Del Worsham took advantage of the conditions and sent DeJoria’s machine down the track in 3.900 seconds at 327.74 MPH. Feeling good about their performance so far, DeJoria was eager to have two more shots at the track before fields were set for Sunday’s elimination show. After waiting out the rain on Saturday, DeJoria, now occupying the seventh position, returned to the starting line for Q3 but lost traction early into the run. Just as teams were pulling up for the final qualifying run of the weekend, the skies opened up again, and racing was canceled for the remainder of the evening.
 
Starting from the No. 7 position on Sunday morning, DeJoria had the advantage of lane choice versus her first opponent of the year, No. 10 qualifier Paul Lee. Against Lee, DeJoria clocked a winning 3.955 E.T. to easily defeat his tire-shaking attempt. In round two, DeJoria staged the Bandero GR Supra opposite Bob Tasca III where she posted another respectable 3.9-second pass but Tasca’s 3.886-second run allowed him to carry the lead from start to finish, ending DeJoria’s day after the quarterfinals.
 
“It feels great to be back out here and start a new season,” said DeJoria, a six-time Funny Car event champion. “Qualifying went well, we made two clean passes out of three before we got rained out on Saturday night for the fourth session. We qualified our Bandero GR Supra seventh and made a good run first round against Paul Lee. Unfortunately, we got beat second round, but we ran a good number; Tasca just ran better.
 
“We feel like we’re starting our season off strong, and we’ve got some momentum building. You definitely want to get past first-round at the first race of the season, so we’re very happy we got that under our belt. We’re trying not to go over center. The team made some big adjustments over the winter in the clutch area so we’re just trying to creep up on those 3.80s. We’ve done a lot of testing prior to this race and I feel really good about our chances this year.”
 
Alexis DeJoria and the DC Motorsports Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota GR Supra Funny Car team compete next at the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California, March 22 – 24.

This story was originally published on March 11, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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