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Sep 02, 2014 - 07:08 AM
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2014 NHRA: Alexis Dejoria Wins U.S. Nationals; Becomes First Woman In Funny Car History To Win Three Races In A Season
Posted by: newsla on Sep 02, 2014 - 07:07 AM
NHRA
2014 NHRA: Alexis Dejoria Wins U.S. Nationals; Becomes First Woman In Funny Car History To Win Three Races In A Season


The U.S. Nationals- it’s the biggest, most prestigious race in NHRA drag racing history. Ask any driver and they’ll say ‘no career is complete without a win at Indy.’ Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Kalitta Motorsports Patrón XO Cafe Toyota Camry Funny Car, can now add her name to the coveted list of Indy winners.

 

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At the 60th anniversary of The Big Go, DeJoria powered her 10,000 horsepower black, purple and gold Camry across the stripe in 4.038-seconds at 310.34-mph, defeating points leader John Force in the final round of eliminations on Monday afternoon at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

With every Kalitta Motorsports crew member on the starting line watching her set off the final round win lights, the traditional ‘Kalitta Moshpit’ ensued in its usual gut-punching craziness. While any Kalitta win is special and deserving of the moshpit, this particular one is extra special, as DeJoria is only the second Kalitta Motorsports driver to have ever won the history-rich race. Team owner Connie Kalitta, who has competed at the Indianapolis race 59 out of the 60 years, is the only other Kalitta driver to have won here, with his victory in 1994.

“It’s a huge honor to represent such an incredible group of guys and a legend like Connie Kalitta, and I thank him every day for asking me to join their team,” said DeJoria, in between hugging and congratulating her crew.

Making the win that much sweeter, DeJoria had the support of her family, with her father and team’s biggest cheerleader, John Paul DeJoria, three daughters, and crew member husband Jesse James cheering her on at the starting line. “I couldn’t be happier right now- we won the U.S. Nationals and my whole family was here for the win. In fact, this was the first time that my dad was at a race where we won, so it’s really special.”

“I’m so overly excited,” said John Paul DeJoria while celebrating with the team at the Winner’s Circle. “Not only did Alexis work so hard for this race, but what was so wonderful, she did it pure and true. It was her racing that won- no one had a red light, no one smoked the tires; it was just great side-by-side racing all day. I’m the most excited dad you could ever imagine.”

Along her way to the final round, DeJoria defeated Cruz Pedregon (4.077 vs 4.825), Blake Alexander (4.039 vs 4.112), and Courtney Force (4.057 vs 4.069).

Now having won Indy, DeJoria can claim the title of ‘only woman to have won three Funny Car events in a single season,’ and becomes the fourth female to win the U.S. Nationals in the professional ranks, during the course of sixty years. “There are a lot of firsts, and it’s really amazing to be the first woman to win three events in a year, but mostly I’m just so happy to have won this for Connie. Tommy [DeLago], Glen [Huszar] and my whole team has worked so incredibly hard and it was great to get the job done today at such a huge race.”

It’s been a breakout year for DeJoria and her Patrón XO Cafe team. With three wins, a runner-up finish, a history making run, and three track records, the Austin, Texas-based driver has had a fantastic 2014 season thus far. With Indy marking the final race of the ‘regular’ season, the team heads into the six race Countdown to the Championship playoffs in fourth, and will use this momentum of their Indy win going into the Countdown.

DeJoria and the Kalitta Motorsports Patrón XO Cafe Toyota Camry Funny Car team kick off the first Countdown race in Charlotte, N.C. at the NHRA Carolina Nationals, September 12-14.

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