SEATTLE — NHRA Funny Car pilot Alexis DeJoria and her Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Funny Car team will not enter the 29th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle this weekend, due to injuries DeJoria sustained in a recent crash.
Last weekend at Sonoma Raceway, DeJoria was involved in a violent accident when her Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry lost traction and made a sudden violent left turn, colliding with the retaining wall in her lane.
The impact caused a high-energy fracture to the left side of her pelvis — more specifically, her left iliac wing.
“I’ve experienced different types of crashes in my race car — from going off the end of the track to blowing up and scrapes with the wall — but this one was different,” said DeJoria of the incident, which occurred during the first round of eliminations at Sonoma. “I felt the car make a move to the right, I corrected it and then the car traversed laterally and smashed into the wall. All four wheels were sliding and no matter what I did with the steering wheel, it wasn’t responding to any of my movements.”
“I knew right away I had hurt my back. All I wanted to do was get the car stopped. Once I had it safely stopped, I pushed myself out of the car, and as soon as my feet touched the ground, I felt pain shoot straight into lower my back. … There were a lot of emotions when this happened, but I was very grateful that it wasn’t worse.”
While immediate surgery was not required, DeJoria is suffering from extreme pain and has been left temporarily immobile, unable to race. She remains on bed-rest in her Austin, Texas home. Her absence this weekend could potentially affect her chances at having an opportunity to compete for the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car title.
Seattle’s NHRA Northwest Nationals mark the 16th of 18 regular season NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events. In order to be in the championship chase, DeJoria must be locked into a top 10 spot by the conclusion of the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, the last event before the six race Championship playoff.
DeJoria currently sits in 10th with 765 points, on the strength of one win this season. Playoff hopefuls Chad Head and Cruz Pedregon sit in 11th and 12th, with a 150-point margin between DeJoria and Head and 48 more back to Pedregon.
With just three races left until NHRA’s Countdown contenders are locked into the top ten, DeJoria is determined to get back on the track to earn her playoff berth.
Despite the prospect of racing with a significant amount of pain, DeJoria plans to return as soon as physically possible. While not definite, her sights are set on racing again at the NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn.
“The goal right now is Brainerd. I’m going to do everything I possibly can to heal properly. I’m on bed-rest for the time being, and then I start physical therapy on August 8. I want to get back in the car and need to get back in the car as quickly as possible. I’m a fighter. The cutoff to qualify for the Countdown is coming up and we need to secure our position.”
“I realize that at this moment I have to rest in order to better the healing process, but it’s hard for someone like me to be stagnant. I’ve never missed a race in my NHRA Funny Car career thus far. However painful it will be to have to watch the NHRA Northwest Nationals from my bed, rather than be there at the track, I’ll be cheering on my Kalitta Motorsports teammates.”
Substitute drivers for the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny car will not be considered in the event of any unexpected setbacks.