Following her ‘Night Under Fire’ victory in Norwalk, Ohio last weekend, Alexis DeJoria and the DC Motorsports team were looking to capitalize on their momentum and score their first NHRA triumph of the season at the Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor in Topeka, Kansas. DeJoria began her weekend at Heartland Motorsports Park by taking the Bandero Premium Tequila on a 3.983-second at 295.66-mph ride on Friday night to earn the No. 7 qualifying position and the advantage of lane choice versus her Toyota Gazoo Racing teammate, J.R. Todd, in the first round of eliminations.
Knowing her opponent is one of the strongest ‘leavers’ in the category, DeJoria was determined to make sure she and her team had every advantage possible, and was aiming for an uber-fast reaction time. Unfortunately, she was a bit too revved up and inadvertently stood on the throttle a tick too early, activating the red light. Shortly after DeJoria and the team returned to the pit following their round-one loss, they were informed that Todd’s run had been disqualified after being evaluated in a post-race tech inspection, and DeJoria’s run had been reinstated. The team quickly regrouped and raced to get their Bandero GR Supra prepared for round two where DeJoria would square off against Funny Car points leader, Robert Hight. Against Hight, DeJoria snagged the slight starting line advantage but her opponent had reclaimed the lead by the time they passed the tree and never trailed for the win, ending the DC Motorsports team’s day after the quarterfinals.
“Coming into this race, it was imperative that we go rounds, as we continue to try and solidify the highest possible spot in the standings at these last few events,” said DeJoria, a six-time Funny Car event champion. “We ran well during qualifying; made it down the track in the heat when a lot of other teams were struggling.
“First round, we went out there, and I know J.R. is really good on the lights, and the last thing I wanted was to get beat on a holeshot because I knew we had the better car that round. Unfortunately, I gave it up a little bit and we lost, but then, we received word that J.R.’s run had been disqualified so they put us back in the show where we would have Robert in round two. I was able to forget about the interception on the last run, and managed to cut an 0.87 light. We were ahead of them for a moment but then the car started hazing the tires while Robert ran a 3.98 in the other lane, so that was it for us today. Luckily, we’re racing in about five days. I’m looking forward to getting back to some cooler weather, and I want to thank all of the fans who came out this weekend, and stuck it out in this heat.”
Following Sunday’s quarterfinal finish in Topeka, DeJoria and the Bandero GR Supra team sit eighth in the Camping World Series point standings, and are within six points of the No. 7 ranked driver. Two races remain before the Countdown to the Championship points are reset for the playoffs, and DeJoria and the DC Motorsports team are looking to the series’ next event in Brainerd, Minn. next weekend to improve upon their position.