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May 19, 2014 - 06:13 AM
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2014 NHRA: Alexis DeJoria Races to Career First Number One Qualifier with Track Record in Atlanta
Posted by: newsla on May 19, 2014 - 06:12 AM
NHRA
2014 NHRA: Alexis DeJoria Races to Career First Number One Qualifier with Track Record in Atlanta


During the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals’ driver introduction ceremony on Sunday morning, Alexis DeJoria will be announced as the No. 1 Funny Car qualifier for the first time in her career.

 

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The Kalitta Motorsports driver grabbed the No. 1 spot in her Patrón XO Cafe Toyota Camry with a run of 4.012-seconds at 313.95-mph during Q2, leaving Atlanta Dragway on Friday night with her first provisional No. 1 qualifier. Saturday offered two qualifying sessions for the competition to knock her from the top, but no other team even came close, allowing DeJoria to hold on to the No. 1 spot. She will have lane choice when she squares off against No. 16 qualifier Tony Pedregon in round one of eliminations.

“It feels great to get my first No. 1 qualifier- it’s huge,” said DeJoria, who is currently ranked No. 3 in the NHRA Funny Car point standings. “It was one of those things Tommy [DeLago, crew chief] and Glen [Huszar, co-crew chief] were really striving for this season because our team had never done it before. Our team has been working so hard, and everyone has really connected and come together this year.”

2014 has been a season of firsts for DeJoria- her first Funny Car win, her first sub-four second run, and now in addition to adding first No. 1 qualifier, she can also add first track record to her growing list of accomplishments, as the Q2 run broke Atlanta Dragway’s record for quickest elapsed time.

Prior to the weekend, DeJoria’s best qualifying spot was third, which came about when she ran a 3.997-second run during the season opener in Pomona, earning her the title of first woman in Funny Car history to make a sub-four second run. Since that weekend, the successes have continued, with DeJoria picking up her first Funny Car win in Phoenix, and backing it up just a few weeks later with her second win in Las Vegas.

“Kalitta Motorsports is really having a great year, and Atlanta is no exception,” she said. “We got the track record for ET, my teammate Del [Worsham] got it for speed, and my other teammate, Doug [Kalitta], who’s also No. 1 right now, got the ET track record in Top Fuel. That’s the first time ever in Kalitta Motorsports’ history that that has been done, and it’s exciting to be a part of that.”

With NHRA’s ‘100th female win’ title still looming on the horizon, many are counting DeJoria and friend Erica Enders-Stevens, Pro Stock’s No. 1 qualifier, as the front runners to claim that title. When asked how she felt about the possibility of grabbing the ‘100th win’ tomorrow, DeJoria said, “I feel like we should make a big deal about it when it happens. If it happens tomorrow, great, but we just want to keep going rounds, and not let it become a distraction. We’ll do what we always do on Sundays- take each round one at a time. First things first- we’ve got to get past Tony Pedregon. As long as we remain consistent, we have a great shot of putting this Patrón XO Cafe Toyota Camry back in the Winners Circle for the third time this year.”


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