POMONA, CA (August 3, 2021) – The Bandero Premium Tequila ROKiT Toyota Camry Funny Car and driver Alexis DeJoria took on an unseasonably hot NHRA Winternationals this weekend at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Two days of qualifying had DeJoria’s team battling to get a handle on a hot track. In the final qualifying session last night DeJoria’s Toyota Funny Car flew to the No. 6 spot in the field and a first round match-up with Jason Rupert.
Earlier in qualifying Rupert suffered a major engine explosion and it was too much for the start-up team to overcome in time for the first round of competition. DeJoria would receive a competition bye run in the first round and the team was looking to take advantage of a “free” run to get prepared for what everyone was considering a challenging day on the race track.The Bandero Tequila ROKiT Funny Car lined up in the right lane for the solo run. DeJoria launched hard and as she approached the 330 feet mark her race car was dropping cylinders. Her team remotely shut off her race car to preserve parts before heading into the quarterfinals.
Temperatures continued to climb throughout the day and as the quarterfinals approached track temperatures soared to over 140 degrees. The hot track conditions made corralling the power generated by these 11,000 horsepower land rockets a tall order for crew chiefs in all the nitro categories. DeJoria would be racing Jim Campbell for a chance to go into her fourth consecutive semifinal round.
DeJoria took a strong starting line reaction time advantage and was pulling away from Campbell when her blower belt broke and she lost power. She was helpless to watch as Campbell drove around her for the win. It was a tough loss for a team that is one of the hottest in the category.
“Pomona was definitely our worst showing of the Western Swing,” said DeJoria. “We had somewhat of a bye on our first run today when Jason Rupert blew up yesterday and couldn’t make it to first round. Then we had Jim Campbell in the second round and we had him, then the bolts were completely sheared off the flywheel and our blower belt broke. I was dead in the water down there and here comes Jim Campbell. He passed me and that was the end.”
The dominance of the Bandero Tequila ROKiT team has DeJoria stoked for the end of the regular season and the upcoming Countdown. The team is just over three rounds out of third place in the Funny Car standings.
“We’ve been on a roll going to semis and qualifying really well. We have a week off and then we are going to hit Topeka,” said DeJoria. “I don’t want to go home right now. I wish we had another race to go to because I know how hot this car is. You can’t do anything about parts breaking and things like that, but we are right on the edge and it’s going to happen. I’m just proud of my guys. They’ve done a terrific job having been on the road for three weeks. We’ll just take everything back to the shop, go through it and get ready for the next race.”
Q1: 7.277 sec, 87.52 mph; Qual. 15
Q2: 6.183 sec, 107.26 mph; Qual. 15
Q3: 4.021 sec, 313.73 mph; Qual. 6
Bonus Points: +1 (3rd quickest of Q3)
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
Alexis DeJoria 6 .248 7.972 77.94 (W)
Jason Rupert 11 Did Not Run
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
Alexis DeJoria 6 .075 4.797 175.87
Jim Campbell 14 .095 4.314 271.95 (W)Camping World Funny Car Top Ten
1. Bob Tasca III, 729
2. Ron Capps, 734
3. John Force, 698
4. Robert Hight, 697
5. Matt Hagan, 689
6. J.R. Todd, 677
7. Alexis DeJoria, 632
8. Tim Wilkerson, 552
9. Cruz Pedregon, 537
10. Blake Alexander, 343