Alexis DeJoria, driver of the 8,000 horsepower Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrόn Toyota Camry will square off against Johnny Gray in round one of eliminations on Sunday at the 53rd Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries, the first race of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
With nineteen Funny Cars registered this weekend, Team Patrόn was able to race their way to the 10th spot of the ladder with their 4.107-second at 302.69-mph run from Q2 on Friday. Despite suffering from a few mechanical malfunctions throughout the three-day qualifying session, the Patrόn team feels good about their chances of advancing beyond the first round in the first race day of the 24-race season.
“I’m stoked about that 4.107. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it down the track other than that one run, but we’re going to figure it out,” said DeJoria, now in her sophomore season of piloting a nitro Funny Car.
According to newly appointed crew chief Tommy DeLago, “I feel pretty good about tomorrow. Conditions are going to be a little cooler than what we’ve seen so far this weekend. They’re [Johnny Gray’s team] a strong team but I feel that we could outrun them for sure.”
When asked why the car struggled to make it down the 1,000-foot stretch today, DeLago said, “Today we were already in [qualified] pretty good. We knew we were safely in the show, so we took the first run today to try and push the envelope a little bit and outrun that 10 [the 4.107-sec pass from Q2], and gather some more information for the future."
"And then later in our second run today, we had an ignition box go bad, which is pretty much something that is completely out of anyone’s control. There’s no way to check on that. I hate to lose that run, and it’s aggravating, but these things happen, and to me, the car is still pretty much doing what we’re telling it to do, so I feel good about our chances tomorrow.”
Alexis DeJoria and the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrόn Toyota Camry Funny Car team will compete Sunday, February 17th, at the 53rd Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, in Pomona Calif. Funny Car eliminations begin at 11AM PST.