Photo courtesy Kalitta Motorsports

Alexis DeJoria to retire from NHRA racing at end of season

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SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) Alexis DeJoria, the first woman to break the 4-second barrier in a Funny Car, will retire from NHRA competition at the end of the season to spend more time with her family.

DeJoria announced her retirement Monday, calling it “one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make.”

She added that her “reasoning behind this decision is simple: It’s time for me to switch my focus towards my family.”

The 40-year-old DeJoria is ranked 11th in the Mello Yello Funny Car standings while driving for Kalitta Motorsports. She has five career wins, including a victory in August at the Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota.

DeJoria is the daughter of billionaire entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria, a co-founder of Paul Mitchell hair care products and The Patron Spirits Co. Alexis DeJoria married TV personality and renowned motorcycle fabricator Jesse James in 2013. She has a teenage daughter, Isabella, from a previous relationship.

DeJoria began her NHRA career in 2005, moving up the ranks in Super Gas, Super Comp and Top Alcohol Funny Car categories before making her professional debut in September 2011.

In her six-year pro career, DeJoria became the first woman to compete in 100 Funny Car events.

“I’ve accomplished great things throughout my NHRA career,” she said. “Working with Kalitta Motorsports and driving for Connie Kalitta has been an absolute honor. The man is a legend. He’s been the best boss I could have ever hoped for as a professional nitro Funny Car pilot.”

DeJoria and her team have three races remaining in 2017, beginning at the Texas FallNationals this weekend.

More AP auto racing: http://www.racing.ap.org

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)