Story By: ALLISON MCCORMICK / DC MOTORSPORTS – AUBURN, IN – After a successful pre-season test session at the PRO Nitro Spring Training event last week, Alexis DeJoria and the DC Motorsports team are ready for their Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota GR Supra Funny Car to make its competition debut.
The 2022 NHRA Camping World Series season opens with the NHRA Winternationals this weekend in Pomona, Calif., and the team is looking for a strong start to the season to build upon the success they enjoyed in 2021, particularly toward the latter part of the year.
DeJoria and the DC Motorsports team were fixtures on the Sunday afternoon eliminations ladder in 2021, advancing to the semifinals or beyond at eight of the 20 contested events, but it was their statement-making end of year push, which included a win, a runner-up finish, and two No. 1 qualifier awards at the final three events which really showed that they had found their groove. With the 2022 season-opener just two days away, DeJoria feels more confident than ever in her team’s ability to put together a solid campaign and position themselves to battle for the series title at the end of the year.
“This will be our third season competing together, and each year, we get better and better,” said DeJoria, who reunited with former crew chief and longtime friend Del Worsham to form DC Motorsports in 2020. “We did so well in ’21, that we’re kind of operating with the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality.
“We front-halved our chassis, but aside from the new body, we didn’t make any major changes over the off-season,” she added, referring to the addition of the new Toyota Gazoo Racing Supra body, which was unveiled during the NHRA Finals in November. “The visibility of this new Supra body is just incredible. It also has more downforce and less drag. Excellent job by the team at Toyota.”
Aside from making a few ‘shakedown runs,’ the team’s primary purpose of attending last week’s test session at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park was to get acclimated with their two new Supra bodies, and Worsham is more than pleased with the results.
“We made six runs over the course of three days, and sent both of our new Supra bodies down the track,” said Worsham, who along with co-crew chief Nicky Boninfante, oversees the tuning responsibilities of the Bandero Toyota Supra. “Our goal of testing wasn’t to go out there and lay down a bunch of fast ‘hero runs.’ We already know we have the performance. Our whole reason for testing was to get runs on both of these new bodies. All were planned early shutoffs, and on each pass, we were pleased with the incremental numbers – they were right where they needed to be.
“I’m excited for this season. We’ll continue to get more data and build upon our program, but there’s no reason we shouldn’t be right there running with the best of them, and hopefully, be a part of the title conversation when we get to the Countdown.”
For DeJoria, the ultimate goal is to become the first female Funny Car world champion, and in the loaded Funny Car category, which saw 10 different winners in 2021, she knows the competition will be just as tight this year.
“Consistency is key. We know we can get down the race track and run competitively; we just need to be more consistent,” said the Austin, Texas resident. “We need to stay in the mix and get hot at the right time of year, in late summer and the Countdown. We want to continue to make sure we qualify well so we set ourselves up for a long day of going rounds on Sunday, and if we can do that, and win some races, the points will take care of themselves.”
DeJoria will begin her 2022 campaign this weekend at the NHRA Winternationals, an event that in 2014, saw her become the first female Funny Car driver to record a sub-four second run. The DC Motorsports team then heads straight back to Phoenix the following weekend for the NHRA Arizona Nationals where DeJoria captured her first of six Funny Car Wally trophies in 2014.