GETTING TO KNOW ALEXIS DEJORIA

Written by Randy Cunningham; Photos by Rogeer Richards; Gary Nastase.

GETTING TO KNOW ALEXIS DEJORIA

GNP GN2 4489

DEJORIA CONTINUES UPWARD TRAJECTORY

GNP GN2 4792Alexis DeJoria is getting hotter with every passing event. The driver of the Patron Toyota Funny Car has pulled into the Funny Car top ten headed into this weekend's Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals.

DeJoria finished her second semi-final finish last weekend in Houston, Texas and as of Thursday morning was already set up and ready to go at Commerce, Ga, located outside of Atlanta. The admitted adrenaline enthusiast has nothing but love for the consecutive race weekends. Off-weekends just aren't her cup of tea.

“I’m excited to go back-to-back racing,” said DeJoria. “It keeps us on our game. Hopefully we’ll keep seeing the consistency that we’ve experienced so far this season and continue to go rounds. This is the first ‘swing’ of the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and I’d like to finish out strong.”

DeJoria has already surpassed more than half of their 2012 round win count just six races into 2013. This performance bodes well for the morale of the team led by new crewcheif Tommy DeLago.

“The guys are doing a great job. You can definitely see a little more pep in their step as of late," said DeLago. "This past weekend they did such an awesome job with the quick 55-minute turnaround times and they’ve been working well together. I was really impressed. We experimented with a different clutch package at this last race and I think we made some headway. As for Alexis, she’s driving like a 10-year veteran. She’s on the tree hard, driving straight, and has clearly got a good handle on the car, as was evident at our last race.”

DeLago understands from his years of experience including a championship won with Matt Hagan, Atlanta Dragway can be a fickle and sometimes unforgiving track. Sometimes it's hot and sometimes it's cool.

“Atlanta can be a funny place though. Out of the twenty years that I’ve been going there, probably five of them have been cool,” he said, referring to the weather conditions of the Deep South that can vary greatly this time of year.

“The other 15 were hot and muggy. I feel pretty good about our hot weather tune-up, so if we get that hot, humid air, then maybe we’ve got something. Either way, we’ll analyze the conditions in front of us, adapt, and continue to make strides with this Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry.”
Most moms don’t normally strap themselves into a 10,000-horsepower roman candle on wheels, then hit the highway for a 319.07 mile-per-hour, 4.032-second trip down a 1,000-foot concrete and asphalt straightaway.

However, most moms aren’t Alexis Dejoria, the pilot of the Tequila Patron land rocket, a driver who is currently sitting in the 9th spot of the Funny Car standings ahead of such legends as John Force and Tony Pedregon after reaching the semi-finals at the O’Reilly Auto Parts SpringNationals in Houston.

Dejoria also loves her life outside the lanes, and the newly-minted resident of Austin sat down to talk about, among other things, time machines, Slurpees, and singing in front of 100,000 people.

You’re a Funny Car driver, and also a parent, so you know bedtime stories. Name the 7 dwarfs.

I don’t know all of ‘em! Grumpy, Dopey, Sleepy, Bashful…Sneezy.

Now, make up an 8th dwarf. What is his/her name?

Racer. That’s me.

Pretend you’ve been accidentally locked in a store overnight. What store do you hope it will be?

Oh my gosh! 7-11. Slurpees, are you kidding? I like all different kinds. You know, on the east coast, they have places called Wawa (convenience stores) that would be pretty awesome, too. I like Wawa better than 7-11. You can make your own shakes there, it’s like, the coolest convenience store ever.

Favorite guilty pleasure?

Let’s see. Would get manicures, pedicures, and facials be a guilty pleasure? It’s not very productive, but very necessary.

How long have you been a Texas resident?

I just moved out here over Christmas, but I’ve already managed to get allergies. I just got back from Charlotte, and there was about a quarter-inch of pollen on all the cars.

You’re a big music fan. Now, the NHRA needs intro music for every driver when they pull up in the lanes. What would yours be?

I would pick “Bad Company” by Five Finger Death Punch.

You’re pretty hard-core.

Sometimes.

You’re taking a week-long car ride with two musicians. The car has no radio, so get ready to talk a lot. Who will you take?

Oh, jeez, that’s a tough one. I like Flavor Flav from Public Enemy. I think he’s so funny, and probably Lemmy from Motorhead. Those two would keep me entertained the whole ride.

I’m going to give you $100,000 to stand up in front of 10,000 people and sing one song. Will you do it, and what song will you sing?

The National Anthem. Oh yeah. When I was younger I’ve gotten up to sing in front of people. I can sing, mostly in front of my kids.

Have you been in a band?

No, but I’ve been asked to be though, by the original guitarist for Alice in Chains. He wanted to start a band, but it was so long ago. I was like 18.

If you had a time machine that could take you to the past or the future, where would you go?

The past. Actually, I’d go to Woodstock and see someone like Jimi Hendrix. I’d go back and see Led Zeppelin… I could just go on and on. Or, the Rolling Stones back then when they were just badasses. But, Jimi Hendrix especially. He’s just my favorite.

OK, so you team up with Hendrix to form a band. What is the name?

I don’t know…Nitro. There you go.

What did your first grade teacher say on your report card?

I was kind of a troublemaker. Too social. She would’ve said I needed to concentrate more. Lack of focus.

In a recent interview  you mentioned how you talk to your Patron funny car. Who starts the conversation?

Yeah, umm…me. I’m just kind of coaxing her. John Force will tell you that he does it too. Sometimes you have to talk pretty strong, sometimes it’s more like, “C’mon, you can make it.” You try to have a spiritual, mental connection to what you’re doing. When I was 16 I used to talk to my Chevelle in hopes that it would make it after a street race back home. I’d say, “C’mon, you can make it, just a little further.”

You skydive, you’ve flown in an F-15, and you drive 300-plus miles per hour in about four seconds. So, what in the world scares you?

Sharks. Water. I love the water and the sun, but deep, dark water scares the crap out of me because I don’t know what’s below me. The fear of the unknown, you know. Out where I live, we have a lot of scorpions, spiders, tarantulas, bats…you name it.

You’re not exactly hanging out in the suburbs, huh?

No, we’re out in the boonies. We love it in the Hill Country. After the races, we come out here to unwind and regroup. We get that balance.

How is the NHRA better with Alexis Dejoria in the lanes?

I think I throw it a little bit of a curveball, kind of an edgier racer out there, for sure. I mean, there is no one else out there like me. I’m not trying to toot my own horn or anything, but there really isn’t. It’s like mixing the X-Games with NHRA.

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