After six years of touring in the Lucas Oil series and now competing in the professional level of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing series, Funny Car driver, Alexis DeJoria, is set to make her long-awaited Denver debut this weekend, July 20th-22nd, at the 33rd Annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.
Coming off of a tough weekend in Norwalk after three successful race weekends in a row, DeJoria and the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrόn Toyota Camry Funny Car team are anticipating getting back on the track now more than ever.
“After an off weekend, I’m really looking forward to getting back out there and redeeming ourselves after not qualifying at the last race. We’re really looking forward to making some good runs, qualifying well, and going rounds on race day,” said DeJoria, a top Rookie of the Year candidate.
Not only will this be an exciting debut weekend for DeJoria, but this weekend also marks the introduction of her brand new 2012 Toyota Camry body. According to Jim Oberhofer, VP of Kalitta Motorsports, the Patrόn team plans to run their current Camry body on Friday, unveiling the new one for Saturday’s qualifying runs. Both Kalitta Funny Car drivers (DeJoria and Jeff Arend) had the unique opportunity to test out a new Camry body during this 2012 season. After several months and countless laps, Toyota was able to tweak and refine- mainly lightening the weight in certain areas- the top-notch design. Fans should be on the lookout for some new and exciting graphics in the paint job of the black-and-green machine as well.
DeJoria has never raced before at the mile-high track, but she brings with her the support of the entire Kalitta Motorsports organization, who have enjoyed many successful years at Bandimere Speedway. According to Oberhofer, with its extremely high altitude, the crew has an entirely unique plan in place for tuning the car at this elevation. “Denver is a one of a kind race. You really can’t take information from any other race and apply it there. The altitude makes the engine, clutches, just about everything operate differently than it would anywhere else. It’s very difficult to make horsepower and create downforce. Here at Kalitta, we have one specific [Funny Car] combination that we run at Denver and then that’s it; when we’re done racing there, we take the rods, pistons, fuel injectors, pretty much our entire setup; we put them on the shelf and don’t mess with them again until next year.” He adds, “While it is a very tricky track, the racing surface in Denver is one of the best we race on all year long. The Bandimere family puts a tremendous amount of time, effort, and money to make sure we have the best possible surface to race on.”
Although this will be her first time racing in the Rocky Mountains, DeJoria, an avid snowboarder, is no stranger to the ‘mile high city,’ visiting often with her family and taking advantage of the pristine snowboarding conditions during the winter months. Additionally, DeJoria made a quick twenty-four hour trip to the neighboring city of Golden, Colorado just last week where she spent a day doing media interviews and touring both Tipsy’s Liquor World, the world’s largest liquor store and big seller of her car’s sponsor, Tequila Patrόn, and visiting with the students of Paul Mitchell, The School- Denver.
“Last week’s trip was really cool. We were only in town for a day, but we got to see some sites that I had not yet had a chance to check out before. It was really nice to do that before a race,” said the driver, affectionately nicknamed “La Patrόna,” which translates to ‘female boss’ in Spanish. “We’re getting into town early to do some other press appearances and a tour of the NORAD facility, which should be awesome, but of course I’m most looking forward to getting back in the car and racing at Bandimere for the very first time! I know our entire team is very enthusiastic about this race. It will be a great kickoff to the Western Swing!”