Four races into the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, and driver Alexis DeJoria has already claimed half of the Funny Car titles. She picked up the second win of her Funny Car career at the 15th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at the famed Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon.DeJoria, who drives the 10,000-horsepower Kalitta Motorsports Patrón XO Cafe Toyota Camry, defeated Matt Hagan, Tony Pedregon, Cruz Pedregon, and Robert Hight on her way to claim the title of Vegas victor.
Throughout qualifying, the Patrón XO Cafe Toyota Camry made clean and consistent passes, but opted to be conservative, placing them in the No. 12 spot in the competitive 16-car Funny Car field. They came out strong Sunday morning with a 4.071-second at 305.08-mph pass- at the time, their best run of the weekend, and low ET of the session. Ultimately, their best run of the weekend was in the Finals against Hight, as DeJoria set off the win light with her 4.026-sec run versus Hight’s 4.083. DeJoria and Hight had met previously in the Finals in Phoenix, the second race of the season, with DeJoria coming out on top. She is 4-0 against Hight in competition.
“It was definitely a great day at the office to get the win for the Patrón team here in Vegas where they are headquartered. It was huge,” DeJoria said, while clutching her Wally. “We have been in a few semi-finals but never made it past that point here at this track. Today we focused on taking it one round at a time, and with each round win, I was just hoping and hoping. And then when we just kept going rounds, I kept my head down and tried to stay focused. Tommy [DeLago] and my crew gave me a great car today and it felt amazing for our team to pick up our second win of our career.”
The Patrón team, which struggled to get their footing in their first two years, has had a breakout year in 2014 thus far. In addition to picking up her first two professional wins, DeJoria can also add making history by becoming the first woman ever to make a sub four-second run in the Funny Car class, bragging rights of currently having the most wins of any nitro-class in the 2014 season, and spending the majority of the season so far in the ‘Top 3’ in points standings to her list of 2014 accomplishments. Additionally, by winning the Phoenix race she has already qualified for the prestigious Traxxas Shootout- a race within a race that occurs annually at the U.S. Nationals.
Alexis DeJoria and the Kalitta Motorsports Patrón XO Cafe Toyota Camry Nitro Funny Car team currently sits in the No. 3 spot in the NHRA Funny Car rankings with 299 points. They compete next at the 5th annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, N.C., April 11-13.