NHRA: Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria to once again offer free mammograms to female fans

(Photos courtesy Alexis DeJoria Racing)
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On the racetrack, Alexis DeJoria is fighting hard to earn her first NHRA Funny Car championship.

But off the track, DeJoria is just as passionate about fighting hard to raise awareness about breast cancer, which affects one-in-eight women, according to the American Cancer Society.

For the fourth consecutive year, Alexis DeJoria Racing and the team she races for, Kalitta Motorsports, along with corporate support from Toyota and Patrón Spirits Company, will offer free mammograms to female ticketholders 40 years of age and older attending upcoming NHRA races at Dallas (Oct. 13-16) and Las Vegas (Oct. 27-30).

gn1_1708“Breast cancer awareness is a subject very dear to our hearts,” said DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry. “Early detection is key, and being proactive is the best way to fight this.”

Several hundred women have already taken advantage of the free screening in the first three years – with several fans that underwent the testing ultimately being diagnosed and able to be treated for breast cancer.

“The last three years with this program have been incredible,” DeJoria said. “Alexis DeJoria Racing is committed to providing free mammograms as long as we are out on the race track. The outpouring of support for this program is astounding.”

Mobile mammography units known as “Mammovans,” provided by Baylor Health (in Texas) and Nevada Health Care Systems (in Las Vegas), will be on-site at both Texas Motorplex (in suburban Ennis) and The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to provide screening for female fans.

In addition, several teams across all levels of NHRA drag racing are expected to add the color pink to their cars or uniforms in a show of support for victims of breast cancer.

DeJoria said one of the major reasons women don’t have regular mammograms is due to the cost, but the screening that will take place in Dallas and Las Vegas will be absolutely free, regardless of an individual’s health insurance status.

DeJoria plans to spend time during the race weekends at the Mammovan sites to welcome and offer “support and share hugs with women whose nerves may be getting the best of them,” the media release noted.

“Don’t be shy, ladies,” encourages DeJoria. “We’ll all be out there supporting each other. We have a great group of women that come out and operate the Mammovans.”

Mammograms will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. No appointment is necessary and insurance or referrals are not needed.

So if your mother/sister/wife or daughter plan to attend either race, DeJoria encourages them to stop by to be screened.

“Each year, we work hard to put the word out about this program and the impact has grown every year,” DeJoria said. “The more people that find out about it, the better.”

For more information, visit AlexisDeJoria.com or visit her Twitter site @ADRnhra

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Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
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On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)