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Alexis DeJoria is entering her 13th year as a professional Funny Car driver. (Submitted photo)

NHRA’s Alexis DeJoria Has ‘Unfinished Business’ To Tend To

At the beginning of 2023, nothing could convince Alexis DeJoria and the DC Motorsports team it wasn’t “their year.”

The longtime Funny Car driver was off to a hot start at the NHRA Gatornationals and cranked out back-to-back semifinal appearances during the opening two races of the season.

The steady climb continued through the Mile High Nationals, the 10th of 21 races on the schedule, where DeJoria narrowly lost to Matt Hagan in the final elimination round. Up to that point, it was the best start to a season the 46-year-old had ever experienced.

She had three runner-up finishes to her credit on top of two semifinal results.

But after that summer weekend at Colorado’s Bandimere Speedway, things turned for the worse.

“It was a number of things that kind of just collected and got us in a bad spot,” DeJoria said in retrospect. “We just kind of went down from there.”

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Alexis DeJoria packs her parachutes at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals. (Submitted photo)

It was one first-round loss after another during the final 11-race stretch, culminating with a DNQ in the season finale in Pomona, Calif., on Nov. 12. The disappointing streak left DeJoria 11th in points — a stark contrast to the third-place position she held at the season’s midpoint.

Over the offseason, the DC Motorsports crew went to work and managed to diagnose a few of the issues that tripped up the team at the end of the year.  

“They took the car down, took it completely apart, looked at everything and found some issues,” DeJoria said. “Luckily they found those issues, so we’re gonna have a better year.”

She explained that while the problems were “minute,” they had colossal ramifications in their performance on the drag strip. DeJoria also added that those certain issues had “really never happened to us before.”

It was a bitter pill for the team to swallow — DeJoria especially.

“We knew what we were capable of doing. We knew what we had done before and what the car could do,” DeJoria said. “It was hard.”

However, she has full faith that the changes made over the offseason will correct those minor problems and allow the tight-knit team to truly flaunt their potential for the full 21-race campaign.

Should it work, their expected surge of success would come at the right time for DeJoria, who is starting her 13th year as a professional Funny Car driver. If there’s one NHRA competitor who feels they’re only scratching the surface of what they can accomplish, DeJoria may top the list. 

“Oh, I’ve got unfinished business,” DeJoria said.

DeJoria has six career wins and nine runner-up finishes in 215 races. Last season, she became the first woman to make it past 200 starts in the Funny Car class.

But those accomplishments, while encouraging, are nowhere near enough to satisfy her.

She elaborated, “I’ve got more races to win, there’s a lot of tracks I haven’t won at yet and eventually a championship. We’ve got to win races to win a championship and you have to go rounds.”