DeJoria’s second act


By Kelly Crandall – Alexis DeJoria was exultant. The Funny Car driver, who had solidified her No. 2 qualifier status at the Sonoma Nationals the night before, had finished warming up her Toyota Camry (including whacking the throttle to send a garbage can flying and a fan falling over) when she enthusiastically popped out.

DeJoria bounced into her hauler, removed and put away her gas mask, and then peeked out and bounded over to the crew. She playfully smacked one and interacted with others while looking eager for the day ahead.

Welcome to the second act of Alexis DeJoria, and in this edition, life is settled and peaceful.

“I love her this time more, I think, because her attitude and her demeanor are a little bit different,” Paul Doleshal, Toyota group manager for motorsports and assets, tells RACER. “She’s more confident and more aware of things now, and I think she is having a lot more fun doing it, and it’s great to see. I want for her to have a good time and it to be fun and to win, and she’s just coming from a different and better place, and it’s great.”

Finding peace between work and home has been a journey. After a two-year sabbatical, DeJoria, 43, returned to the NHRA last season as driver and co-owner of DC Motorsports with Del Worsham. She’s done so with an admitted different level of maturity, growth, and acceptance.

Stepping away was necessary at the time, but coming back was always the plan. DeJoria, who drove for Kalitta Motorsports, had come to the hard realization by 2017 that her family needed her more. In truth, her marriage required fixing.

“Toward the end of those last few years, I had an incredible team of great crew chiefs, great car, great team owner, great sponsors. Everything,” DeJoria tells RACER. “And to walk away from that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I had to do it; it was necessary. It was for my family.

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