AUSTIN, TX (March 9, 2021) — Last season Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria reintroduced herself to the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series after a two season layoff. The 2014 U.S. Nationals champion powered through a tumultuous year for the series and developed a new team that began to hit on all cylinders as the 2020 season wound to a close. DeJoria drove her ROKiT Toyota Camry Funny Car to three semifinals over the final four races and qualified in the top five in each of the last five races.
This year after a weekend of testing in Florida with additional test sessions planned leading up to the 52nd annual NHRA Gatornationals, the five-time NHRA Funny Car winner is confident as she starts her pursuit of her first Funny Car world championship. She will once again have ROKiT as a primary sponsor with the addition of Bandero Premium Tequila.
“This is an exciting time of the year,” said DeJoria. “We had a good couple of days testing in West Palm and we will keep fine tuning our Toyota Camry Funny Car right up until that first qualifying session in Gainesville. This is unique because we don’t usually get to test on the track we will be competing at right before the event, so I think we will have some really good data going into the weekend.”
Last year at the rescheduled Gatornationals DeJoria enjoyed her most successful weekend at the historic event. She qualified No. 5 and raced to the quarterfinals before bowing out to eventual winner Ron Capps. DeJoria will be looking to make her eighth start at the Gatornationals one for the record books. Only two women have stood in the winner’s circle in either of the nitro categories and no female has ever won a Funny Car title.
“Winning the Gatornationals is a big deal no matter who you are,” said DeJoria. “There has been so much history at that track you just want to add your name to the list of winners. It is usually one of the first races of the season so having it as the kick-off event makes it even cooler I think. There should be a decent crowd and I know there has been a buzz about getting the NHRA season started. I am just pumped to get back to the track and start competing in this ROKiT/Bandero Premium Tequila Camry Funny Car,”
Earlier this year DeJoria announced her team sponsor line-up with ROKiT and Bandero Premium Tequila, two companies she has a vested interest in seeing succeed. This will be the second season for ROKiT, global conglomerate and start-up incubator, to utilize NHRA as a marketing platform to promote their diverse offerings. Bandero Premium Tequila is new to the team, handmade in small batches from the finest locally sourced, 100 percent Blue Weber agaves creating a unique, premium flavor.
“Both of these brands represent my passion and dedication to perfection, innovation and being true to yourself,” added DeJoria. “The diversity of the ROKiT brands is massive and we are continuing to find ways to integrate into the NHRA. I am especially excited about introducing Bandero to my NHRA fans because the meticulousness that goes into making this tequila gives it an amazing flavor.”
While her race car might have a new look, the duo of Del Worsham and Nicky Boninfante will continue to make tuning decisions on the 11,000 horsepower land rocket. The confidence and experience these two world champion tuners brings to the ROKiT/Bandero Premium Tequila team cannot be discounted.
“I have so much confidence in Del and Nicky it is really hard to put into words,” summer up DeJoria. “Last season we were all working with a rookie team and we really came together as the season progressed. You are always going to have growing pains but Del and Nicky continued to work hard and figure out a tune-up. They kept at it over the off-season and we are seeing positive results already in 2021. I am looking forward to standing with them in the winner’s circle very soon.”
Qualifying for the 52nd annual NHRA Gatornationals will begin Friday March 12 and continue into Saturday March 13. FS1 will televise two hours of qualifying coverage at 3:00 p.m. (ET) on Saturday. Final eliminations will start on Sunday, March 14 at 10 a.m. (ET) with the race broadcast beginning at 11 a.m. on FS1 and FOX.