Alexis De Joria Seattle final summary

De Joria qualifies for first national event in Seattle KENT, Wash. - NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car rookie Alexis De Joria qualified for her first national event in the Tequila Patron/Jack O'Bannon Racing Dodge Charger during this past weekend's ...

De Joria qualifies for first national event in Seattle

KENT, Wash. - NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car rookie Alexis De Joria qualified for her first national event in the Tequila Patron/Jack O'Bannon Racing Dodge Charger during this past weekend's Schuck's Auto Supply Nationals at Pacific Raceways just outside of Chicago. The event was plagued by rain, limiting competitors to just one qualifying session.

De Joria, 29, of Venice, Calif., qualified for her first show in the 13th spot with a 5.954 second elapsed time at 246.35 mph. In round one, she squared off with No. 4 qualifier Ken Kraus. De Joria, the daughter of Patron Spirits Co., and Paul Mitchell Hair Care Products founder John Paul De Joria, then rocketed to a career best 5.736 at 252.71 mph but lost on a holeshot to Kraus' 5.897 at 242.89 mph.

"Overall, it was a good weekend for us," said De Joria. "We knew we were only going to get one shot to qualify, so my Crew Chief Randy Anderson told me to do whatever it took to get the car down the track. It started shaking and I tried to drive through it, but it wasn't recovering. I pedaled the car and got it down track to a 5.95, which was good enough to qualify. It was so exciting to finally qualify for a national event and make it to the first round. I know that was a big boost to the team."

"In the first round, the guy I had to run had run in the 5.60's in qualifying," De Joria continued. "So I knew I was going to have to cut a light on him. I was really amped up to cut a light and he deep staged on me, which threw my concentration off. I made the mistake of taking my eye off the tree and looking at his side of the tree. Next thing you know, the tree had come on and I was way late. The run ended up being our quickest and fastest run ever, which is a step in the right direction for us. That was a huge improvement. I just got a little distracted on the line. There's so many little things you have to work on driving these cars. To win it takes the whole package. That's why I'm here, to learn and gain experience. Jack O'Bannon has put together a wonderful team to train me. We run Sonoma next week, and I'm really going to work on my focus. Hopefully we can make another good showing in this Tequila Patron Dodge Charger."

-credit: jor

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