Las Vegas: Alexis De Joria preview

De Joria set to 'charge' the field in Vegas LAS VEGAS - Rookie NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car driver Alexis De Joria will be set to 'charge' the field for this weekend's SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in her new...

De Joria set to 'charge' the field in Vegas

LAS VEGAS - Rookie NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car driver Alexis De Joria will be set to 'charge' the field for this weekend's SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in her new 2007 Dodge Charger body. De Joria had her old Camaro body ripped off in a freak top-end accident during last month's Phoenix Division 7 event where a competitor's parachutes ripped the body off the frame as he made the top-end turnoff at a high rate of speed. With her new body and a successful test session under her belt, she and the Tequila Patron/Jack O'Bannon Racing Team are excited about their chances to mix it up with the competition at the strip this weekend.

De Joria, 29, of Venice, Calif., is the daughter of Paul Mitchell Hair Care Products and Patron Spirits Company founder John Paul De Joria. Rather than follow her father's footsteps into the world of fashion and fame, De Joria is pursuing her dream of becoming a funny car driver. De Joria will train for the next few years behind the wheel of the Jack O'Bannon Racing Top Alcohol Funny Car to make the jump to Nitro Funny Car in the future.

"I'm really excited to be getting back behind the wheel," said De Joria. "This new Charger body is awesome. I was a little nervous at first because you really sit way back in this car. The windows are further forward than the Camaro, and you have the scoop that comes into the cockpit. But it actually helped because it makes you more focused down track and less likely to be distracted by what's going on out the side windows. The guys just finished wrapping the car in the Tequila Patron colors, so I can't wait to see what the car looks like. Hopefully we can make some strong runs and make a good showing for them this weekend."

De Joria and the team lead by former World Champion Randy Anderson have good reason to be excited after a test session in Fontana, Calif., produced strong numbers.

"We made some laps in Fontana to work on the way I was swapping feet," explained De Joria. "The team put some sensors on both pedals to see when I was getting on the throttle and letting off the clutch. It really helped me because it gave us some visual data to show what I was doing wrong, and what I needed to do to correct it. We didn't make full passes there, but one of the runs could have been a low 5.70, so we're very excited going into this weekend."

De Joria will be joined by her teammate Sean O'Bannon next weekend as he takes delivery of his new Brad Hadman chassis fitted with an identical 2007 Dodge Charger body. O'Bannon, who finished second in the world last season while competing in the Top Alcohol Dragster category, will crossgrade his license during testing next week and debut the car at the Division 7 Lucas Oil Series event to be held here the following weekend.

Qualifying begins on Friday for the alcohol cars with two sessions and one final session Saturday morning. Eliminations begin Saturday afternoon with round one and final eliminations will conclude the event on Sunday.

-credit: jor

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Paul