An early exit for NHRA Kalitta Motorsports Patrón XO Cafe Toyota Camry Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria during yesterday’s Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway. DeJoria fell to her round one opponent on Sunday afternoon- in her first opening round loss in nearly two months.
Coming off of a monumental win at the US Nationals in Indianapolis and two stout qualifying runs the day prior, the XO Cafe team had high hopes going into Sunday’s elimination rounds. They had the lowest ET of the session in Q3 (4.100-seconds) and quickest ET of the event in Q4 (4.090-sec), earning them the coveted ‘No. 1 Qualifier’ title and qualifying bonus points.
The first round of eliminations found DeJoria paired up against No. 16 qualifier Dave Richards. DeJoria had the advantage off the line, but both cars lost traction early into the run. DeJoria and Richards were both on and off the throttle, battling it out in a pedalfest until about the 400-foot mark when a supercharger malfunctioned on DeJoria’s car and Richards was able to pull ahead and take the win, ending the XO Cafe team’s day.
Deteriorating track conditions proved problematic for many competitors on Sunday, causing the NHRA to make the decision to postpone the rest of the eliminations until Dallas. The call was made just a few pairs into Pro Stock, after a horrific wreck in Pro Stock combined with the abundant amount of aborted runs and impending rain prompted many to question the safety of track conditions.
Despite the early exit, the team is not letting the loss dampen their spirits as they head to Dallas for the second race in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship series.
“We got our second No. 1 qualifier of the season and picked up those crucial bonus points so the weekend wasn’t a total loss, but unfortunately we were plagued by that No. 1 qualifier curse. It was just like back in Atlanta earlier this season when we were the top seeded qualifier, and then on Sunday, lost in the first round,” said DeJoria, who most recently added ‘first woman to win three Funny Car races within a single season’ to her long list of accomplishments.
Alexis DeJoria and the Kalitta Motorsports Patrón XO Cafe Toyota Camry Funny Car team compete next at the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals in Dallas, Texas, September 19-21. Currently ranked fourth in the Chase standings with 2,104 points, Alexis will await the pending the completion of eliminations during qualifying of Dallas to know the impact her loss has on her position in standings.
“This was not the way we wanted to start out the Countdown, of course, but it is what it is; it just wasn’t our day today. We’ll be alright; we have a strong team and a fast, consistent car. We’ll move on to the next race and work hard to make sure we remain a strong contender for the series title.”