By Rick Teverbaugh The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin
---- — CLERMONT — She comes from a family with a highly successful business and she has good looks to go with it.
But neither of those things have led to Alexis DeJoria’s position among the world’s top pro Funny Car drivers.
She entered this weekend’s Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in the No. 12 spot of the Funny Car points standings. Only the top 10 have a chance to race for the title over the next six races, but she is still happy with her season.
DeJoria’s father is John Paul DeJoria, who is the owner of Paul Mitchell Hair Care Products.
“I worked in the family business,” said DeJoria in an interview from her hospitality tent before the Funny Car qualifying on Saturday. “But I’ve always had this affinity for racing. So I told my family I needed to go find my passion.”
She went to a driving school to develop her skills and then started chasing her dream.
Her beginnings included driving a 1963 Corvette in the Super Gas category. She then moved on to Top Alcohol Funny Car.
Her family’s money and her good lucks had nothing to do with the climb. “I’ve won at every level where I’ve competed,” said DeJoria.
When asked if she views herself as a bit of a rebel among the female competitors in her sport, she said, “Well, I was never a cheerleader, if that’s what you’re asking. I was a hot rodder.”
But she is still waiting for her big first win as a Top Fuel Funny Car competitor. The wait is starting to get a bit taxing.
“I remember what my first win in Top Alcohol meant to me,” said DeJoria. “It was six years in the making. It was a validation that all of the hard work paid off. This year we are definitely better than last year.”
She is hopeful that some of the recent adjustments are starting to pay off. “We’ve just invested so much in this, but it’s a process,” said DeJoria. “My experience is helping me. I’ve now had over 100 runs.”
The car is getting close to a title.
“We picked it up,” said DeJoria. “We’ve run well. We made it to two semifinals. I think we finally found something. Indianapolis is special. We get five runs here to qualify.” The final runs to make Monday’s finals will come today.
“We were too aggressive (on Friday),” said DeJoria. “I smoked the tires and had to pedal it. We are going to back off a little bit because we want to get it down the track.”
Last year, her first full season in this class, she entered 23 events and finished 13th in points.
She was in one final, where she lost to Ron Capps at Bristol.
“Last season we didn’t qualify for every event,” said DeJoria. “This year we’ve qualified every week.”
Next step is a win. Perhaps it will come at the U.S. Nationals this week.