DeJoria and the Bandero Crew Qualify In Top Half After Fiery Run In Ohio

Alexis Summit Nats

NORWALK, Ohio (June 30, 2024) – NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series Funny Car star Alexis DeJoria had an action-packed weekend that showcased the strength of the team behind her Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota GR Supra Funny Car as they came back from a fiery explosion to qualify in the top half of the Funny Car field at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.

DeJoria started qualifying off on a good note at Summit Motorsports Park with a solid lap of 3.950 seconds at 324.98 mph straight down the groove in the first Friday session. In round two, her 12,000-horsepower Funny Car had more power than the track could hold and she had to shut off early.

On Saturday, after a torrential downpour caused a delay, DeJoria clocked an impressive pass of 3.950 at 316.08 but the engine exploded at the top end resulting in a cockpit fire. DeJoria swiftly and safely piloted the car to a stop and took fire extinguishing measures. The Bandero Premium Tequila crew burst into action as they raced to the pit to replace the body, assess the damage, and service the engine in a very short window of time due to the delay earlier in the day.

“We weren’t sure if we were going to get any qualifying passes in on Saturday because of the rain,” said DeJoria. “Luckily, the skies parted, and the sun came out, and we were able to get Q3 and Q4 in. Then in Q3, I had a fireball at about 800 feet. Whenever that happens, you want to do as much as you can to protect the car. You want to get it stopped, make sure you don’t hit the wall or go into the other lane. And if the flames are bad, you want to pull the fire extinguisher. I try not to because they are a nightmare to replace. But in this instance, we definitely had to. It’s interesting, in situations like this my mind gets quiet and I get very focused. Some might think it would cause panic, but it’s really the opposite because you’re dealing with fractions of a second and you have to get these cars stopped very quickly. We still ran a 3.95, so we matched our Friday E.T.”

The team banded together to get up to the line on time for Q4 where DeJoria made her most impressive run of the event, a 3.911 at 323.35 to place her in the No. 8 qualifying position for race day.

“We do really well under pressure,” remarked DeJoria. “This team has been together a long time. Major kudos to my guys and Del (Worsham), for getting the backup body out and ready. The car was fine, but the body got burned and we had to replace a few things. We came back to the pits and we thrashed like crazy. To come back and lay down our best pass of the weekend after all of that is pretty amazing.”

In eliminations, DeJoria and Chad Green left the starting line within four-thousandths of a second of each other. She was ahead at the 60-foot mark before going up in smoke and ceding the first-round win to Green.

The Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota GR Supra will next appear at the NHRA Northwest Nationals, July 19-21, at Pacific Raceways, just outside of Seattle.

Qualified: No. 8 (3.911 E.T. at 323.35 MPH)

Elimination Round Results:
E1: 6.324 E.T. at 111.58 mph defeated by Chad Green 3.930 E.T. at 330.23 mph