POMONA, Calif. — NHRA Funny Car competitor Alexis DeJoria will sit out the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals after being diagnosed with a concussion.
Jeff Arend, a former Kalitta Motorsports driver, will drive DeJoria’s Team Patron Funny Car at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
At the most recent event, the NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Team Patrón elected to not compete in Sunday’s elimination rounds. The decision followed an incident that occurred during Saturday’s third round of qualifying. Past the finish line, DeJoria experienced a series of mechanical malfunctions that caused her Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry to careen uncontrollably across the race track and make contact with the left retaining wall.
DeJoria’s head whipped hard into the left roll cage head pad as a result of the collision. DeJoria exited the vehicle unassisted and initially felt fine. It wasn’t until later that evening that she begin to feel the effects of the impact, waking up the next morning with concussion-like symptoms.
Upon returning to her home in Austin, Texas, DeJoria was evaluated by medical professionals at Texas Sport and Family Medicine and was diagnosed with a concussion. DeJoria’s treating physicians ruled her out of the final event of the season.
“I underwent a series of cognitive tests and the doctors diagnosed me with a full-blown concussion that required me to step away from the seat for the time being,” said DeJoria, who has already had to miss two other races earlier in the season due to a fractured pelvis, also caused by a side-impact crash.
“It takes two weeks for these symptoms to subside and even then, because of the trauma from the concussion, it would be unsafe for me to race this weekend. To go out and get behind the wheel of a 10,000-horsepower race car with its high g-forces and the possibility of tire shake, would just be too traumatic for my head in its sensitive state. I’ve never been a quitter and never will be, but I must accept my fate and sit this last race out.”
Doctors have ordered DeJoria to abstain from flying until she has experienced a full recovery.
“It’s going to be hard for me not to be there but I’m thinking long term. I need to get myself healthy and focus on coming back strong next year,” said DeJoria, a four-time Funny Car winner.