Top Funny Car qualifier falls in first round
After a day of lengthy rain delays, five pairs of Top Fuel dragsters attempted to make it down the track for the first round of eliminations at Sunday’s Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals before the call was made to postpone the remainder of the race until Monday morning. A thick fog greeted racers and fans as they arrived at Atlanta Dragway on Monday morning for the remainder of pro eliminations, and it was another morning of waiting before Funny Car’s No. 1 qualifier, Alexis DeJoria, pulled up to the line for the first round versus No. 16 qualifier Tony Pedregon.
With the advantage of lane choice and first selection in pairing order, DeJoria and her Kalitta Motorsports Patrón XO Cafe Toyota Camry Funny Car team elected to race in the seventh pairing. While waiting for their turn, they watched car after car smoke the tires and struggle to get down the track. Unfortunately, the black-and-purple team suffered the same fate as many of their competitors. Their 10,000-horsepower Toyota Camry shook the tires approximately 100-feet into the run, and although DeJoria did an excellent job of pedaling the ca r- getting it to hook back up and quickly recover - T. Pedregon crossed the stripe first, ending the XO Cafe team’s day.
“Between all of the delays, and wild runs, it was a crazy weekend here in Atlanta,” said No. 3 ranked DeJoria. “But, we got our first number one qualifier with that track record run of 4.012-seconds at 313.95-mph [Q2], my Funny Car teammate Del [Worsham] got the track speed record, and my other teammate Doug [Kalitta] got the number one qualifier in Top Fuel and also set a track record, so that was awesome. Unfortunately, when it came down to eliminations, today just wasn’t our day. We went out there, shook the tires; I pedaled it and got it to recover really well- a lot better than the last time I had pedaled it, actually. It’s a learning experience, but I’m getting better with that [pedaling] every time I go down the track, so it was a good lesson. Today’s first round loss was only our second of the season, which is pretty good, so we’ve got to focus on the positive and move on to Topeka with our heads held high.”
Alexis DeJoria and the Kalitta Motorsports Patrón XO Cafe Toyota Camry Funny Car team compete next at the 26th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals in Topeka, Kan., May 23-25.