CHANDLER Ariz. — Funny Car standout Alexis DeJoria experienced a breakout 2014 season in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, and it all started at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
DeJoria picked up her first career Funny Car victory a year ago at the track, kicking off her ascension into a championship contender in the star-studded class. Two more victories followed the Phoenix win, as well as qualifying for the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs for the first time.
With those memories still fresh in her mind, DeJoria will compete in her first event as the reigning event champion at the 31st annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Feb. 20-22. Now a known contender, DeJoria hopes to apply those lessons she learned one year ago into a successful 2015 season at the controls of her 10,000-horsepower Patron XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry.
“I learned a lot of things last year, especially in the Countdown,” DeJoria said. “With that knowledge and my first Countdown under my belt, I should do a much better job this year. All the wins, the losses, being in the hunt; all of that combined made for a really big year for us. We want to continue that momentum.”
The top drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock are all heading to Phoenix next weekend for the second of 24 races on the 2015 circuit. Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) joined DeJoria as winners last year of the event that will once again be televised nationally on ESPN2.
That Phoenix victory jumpstarted DeJoria’s standout season, which also included victories at Las Vegas and the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis. In all, DeJoria advanced to at least the semifinals at 10 different races, posting a top 10 finish for the first time in her Funny Car career.
DeJoria also became the first female to record a three-second run in Funny Car, one more highlight in her breakout season. But the victories started in Phoenix and DeJoria, who lost in the first round at Pomona to kick off the 2015 season, wouldn’t mind repeating the process.
“I’m really excited to come back as the CARQUEST Nationals defending champion,” DeJoria said. “Hopefully we can back-up what we accomplished there last year and get another Phoenix Wally.”