DeJoria Stuns Force During U.S. Nationals
CLERMONT, Ind. – Alexis DeJoria raced past 16-time Funny Car world champ John Force Monday to win the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world’s most prestigious drag race.
Richie Crampton (Top Fuel), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were first time winners at the tradition-rich NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, the last race of the regular season.
DeJoria crossed the finish line in 4.038 seconds at 310.34 mph in the Patron XO Cafe Toyota Camry to defeat the current Funny Car points leader, who won the Traxxas Nitro Shootout Sunday. It was the third win of DeJoria’s season and her first at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. With the victory, DeJoria became the fourth female winner of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals and the first female driver to win three Funny Car races in a single season.
DeJoria, who also outran Cruz Pedregon, Blake Alexander and Courtney Force en route to the victory, earned a record 10th season victory for female racers in the NHRA Mello Yello Series.
“It’s huge [to win the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals],” said DeJoria, wife of noted TV personality Jesse James and daughter of famed entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria. “I was just happy to make it to another semifinal; that was four in a row. To make it past the semifinals, that was huge, but to win this race just builds our confidence even more and in me especially.”
DeJoria will be the fourth seed in Funny Car when the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs begins at the NHRA Carolina Nationals in two weeks.
Force was appearing in his sixth consecutive final and ran a 4.039 at 319.67 in the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang. Following his Traxxas Nitro Shootout victory on Sunday, Force was strong on Monday, defeating Robert Hight, Matt Hagan and Ron Capps in the first three rounds. Force was appearing in his eighth Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals final and was seeking his fifth victory. He finished the regular season as the points leader and will open the Countdown playoffs with a 30 point advantage over teammate Hight.
Rookie Top Fuel driver Crampton, appearing in his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, powered past Steve Torrence with a 3.766 at 327.98 in the GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster to claim his second Wally trophy of the season. He was close to sweeping the weekend, as he posted a runner-up finish in the $100,000 Traxxas Nitro Shootout bonus event on Saturday.