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Eventful Weekend For Team Bandero At Topeka

Qualifying for the Menards NHRA Nationals Presented by PetArmor was anything but routine for Alexis DeJoria and the Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota GR Supra Funny Car team. Despite not taking the Tree during two of the three sessions, the three-time finalists in 2023 made the most of their sole qualifying attempt before advancing to the quarterfinals on race day.
 
In the opening qualifying round, a mechanical malfunction prevented DeJoria from being able to back up from the burnout. Crew chiefs Del Worsham and Nicky Boninfante didn’t let the mishap deter them and tuned the Bandero Supra to the fourth-quickest pass of the second session to put their DC Motorsports entry safely into the elimination field. During the third and final qualifying round, the team once again experienced an issue following the burnout, and DeJoria was forced to shut the car off. For a team that routinely has one of the best-performing cars in the category, the circumstances were unusual, but once again, they were able to quickly bounce back.
 
Starting from 12th on race day, DeJoria drew John Force as her first-round opponent. Against drag racing’s winningest driver, DeJoria clocked a 4.029 E.T. to defeat a tire-smoking Force. The run earned the Bandero team the advantage of lane choice over Bob Tasca in the next round, but their 4.046 E.T. couldn’t keep pace with Tasca’s 4.025, ending DeJoria’s day after the quarterfinals.
 
“It was a weird weekend,” DeJoria explained. “The weather was challenging, we had weird things happen during qualifying. We only got one full run but that 4.12 got us into the show. We made it past Force to win first round, which was great because it’s been a minute; we didn’t get past first round at the last two events. Unfortunately, we didn’t make up any ground in points this weekend, but third through sixth are all bunched up together so a solid Brainerd outing next weekend is really important. We just need to get that horsepower back in our car, and get some more consistency and go rounds.”
 
DeJoria and the Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota GR Supra Funny Car team depart Heartland Motorsports Park ranked sixth in the Funny Car standings. They will compete next at Brainerd International Raceway where DeJoria returns as the 2017 Funny Car event champion.

This story was originally published on August 14, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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