Topeka Quarterfinal Finish Locks DeJoria Into Countdown


Original LogoTOPEKA, KS (August 15, 2021) — With a quarterfinal finish today at the NHRA Topeka Nationals Alexis DeJoria secured her fourth career playoff start for the 2021 NHRA Countdown to the Championship. Ten Funny Car drivers will be eligible to race for the championship when the points are restructured following the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Labor Day weekend. Once again DeJoria set herself up for race day success qualifying No. 2 with a blistering 3.894 second pass on Friday night in her Bandero Premium Tequila/ROKiT Toyota Camry Funny Car.

“With everything we’ve accomplished so far this year I knew coming into this race we were going to do something and right out of the box we ran a 3.89,” said DeJoria, who has qualified top three or better seven times this season. ”We weren’t expecting it. We thought we were going to run a 3.92. It’s our sixth number two qualifier of the season. I’ll take that.” 

On race day DeJoria drew rookie Chris King who was making his second start on the NHRA tour at this event. DeJoria got the jump off the starting line and was pulling away as her race car was dropping cylinders and started moving towards the centerline. King lost traction immediately and DeJoria was able to keep her Toyota Funny Car in her lane for the win.

“The first round was a crazy one and we got away with it,” said DeJoria, after the wild round win.

In the second round DeJoria paired up with veteran Cruz Pedregon for a shot at her fifth semifinal of the season. In one of the closest races of the day DeJoria did not get the win in a race where both race cars lit up the Topeka Motorsports Park scoreboards with identical 4.006 second elapsed times. The race was decided on the starting line with Pedregon leaving first, .091 to DeJoria’s .111 reaction time.

“It is upsetting because he was there for the taking,” said DeJoria. “If I would have had one of my normal lights from this weekend we would have won on a hole shot. That hurts more than anything.” 

For the length of the race track both cars were welded together and it looked like either driver could pull away, but the nose of Pedregon’s Funny Car had just enough to get to the stripe first.

“That four flat was probably the longest run ever,” said DeJoria. “Just seeing the hood of his car out my side window the entire way down was tough. I was hoping I would pass him but I never did. I was upset with myself when I got back to my lounge and my guys said I could have five more minutes to be mad and then I needed to shake it off.” 

The five-time Funny Car national event winner knows there are frustrating days at the track. DeJoria is already turning her attention to the next event in five days in Minnesota.

“I am tough,” said DeJoria. “That’s racing. I am mad because I am tired of losing. We all are. We have the team and the car and everything it takes right now to win. Luckily, we have a race in few days in Brainerd, Minnesota.”

Qualifying Results

Q1: 3.894 sec, 329.67 mph; Qual. 2

Q2: 4.635 sec, 178.07 mph; Qual. 2

Q3: 3.975 sec, 322.34 mph; Qual. 2

Bonus Points: +2 (2nd quickest of Q1)

Race Results

First Round
Driver                                  Qual       R/T         ET           MPH 
Alexis DeJoria                   2             .064       4.811     190.86 (W)

Chris King                           15           .086       7.384     88.94


Second Round
Driver                                  Qual       R/T         ET           MPH 
Alexis DeJoria                   2             .111       4.006     319.52

Cruz Pedregon                  7             .091       4.006     311.20 (W)