O'BANNON RACING SIGNS TEQUILA PATRON
Former Five-Time NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster World Champion Team Owner Jack O'Bannon has announced the signing of Tequila Patrón as major sponsor of both his son Sean's championship runner-up Top Alcohol Dragster and a newly added Top Alcohol Funny Car that will be wheeled by Alexis De Joria. De Joria, who most recently won Super Comp at this past year's Pacific SPORTSnationals in Fontana, Calif., will have her Funny Car tuned by former World Champion Randy Anderson while O'Bannon's Dragster will be tuned by former World Champion tuner Sam Shockley.
The team has relocated to a new 9,500 square foot race shop in Ontario, Calif. Anderson, who tuned Bob Tasca III to four national event final rounds this past season, will oversee day-to-day operations at the shop in addition to serving as Crew Chief on the Patrón Top Alcohol Funny Car. Shockley, who most recently served as Co-Crew Chief on Cruz Pedregon's Nitro Funny Car tuned Bobby Taylor to two TAD World Championships in the mid '90's. Jeff Lirones will serve as team manager.
De Joria, 29, who's father John Paul De Joria founded both Patrón Spirits Company and Paul Mitchell Hair Care Products, has made laps at Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School behind the wheel of their school TAFC and finished her license last weekend in testing at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix. She will start the season in a Camaro-bodied machine until her new Murf McKinney 2007 Mustang is completed. Her tenure in Top Alcohol Funny Car will be to prepare her for a future ride in the Nitro Funny Car ranks.
"I'm really looking forward to racing in Top Alcohol Funny Car," said De Joria. "Ever since I saw my first Top Fuel run as a teenager at Pomona, I've been hooked. When I felt the power, saw the flames at night and the speed, I was like, sign me up. I've always been drawn to the Funny Cars; I have a real affinity for them. My ultimate goal is to move into Nitro Funny Car. They're just bad ass, they're harder to drive and that really appeals to me. Right now, I just want to learn as much as I can in the Top Alcohol Funny Car. Jack has assembled a great team to learn with. I can't wait to get this Tequila Patrón Funny Car in competition!"
O'Bannon, 27, who finished second in the world last year in the team's Top Alcohol Dragster, is excited about the team's new additions for 2007. Forest River RV's and Cargo Trailers(a Warren Buffet company), who sponsored him last season will return as a major associate sponsor.
"I look forward to the expansion of our team and am happy that Alexis has joined the team, stated Sean. "I am really excited about Sam coming on to crew chief as well as Randy crew chief on the funny car. 2007 will bring high expectations and I look forward to the year to come."
Team Owner Jack O'Bannon, who won five World Championships in the mid to late '90's with Rick Santos as his driver looks forward to what the 2007 season has to bring with two up-and-coming drivers coupled with championship-winning tuners. O'Bannon has 39 national event wins and 22 divisional wins as a team owner.
"I am honored to have the De Joria Family pick O’Bannon Racing to assist Alexis in achieving her NHRA Racing goals," commented Jack. " With the support of Tequila Patrón, John Paul and Ed Brown, Alexis and Sean will make their presence known."
In addition to the team's Top Alcohol cars, the team will field a Super Comp Dragster piloted by Jim Lirones.