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NHRA: Retired Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria recalls career, looks at future

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For fans of now-retired Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria, she’ll never say never about potentially returning behind the wheel one day.

But it may be a while — like five years from now or so.

DeJoria will appear on the syndicated “In Depth With Graham Bensinger” TV show this weekend, which will feature her famous father, John Paul DeJoria, who founded the Paul Mitchell Hair Salons and line of hair products, as well as The Patron Spirits Company, which features Patron Tequila.

But because Alexis is also famous in her own right, she played a big part in the show and offered some insight into possibly racing once again.

DeJoria said she’d consider a comeback once her daughter Isabella (15 years old) and step daughter Sunny (13) leave the nest with her and husband Jesse James.

“Maybe when the girls are out of the house, in college or something like that – I might,” DeJoria said of racing again to Bensinger. “Or I might just do some fun countdown races or maybe race Indy (the U.S. Nationals).

“(But) it’s hard to find a team that will come together for just a couple races. … It just all depends on what’s out there and really what I’m willing to sacrifice at home to do that again. But as far as a full-time schedule, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.”

Alexis DeJoria began racing in NHRA in 2005, starting in Super Gas and advancing to Top Alcohol Funny Car in 2007. She co-owned and operated her own team from 2009 into 2011.

She then joined Kalitta Motorsports in the latter part of the 2011 season in a Nitro Funny Car and became the first female driver in that class to break the sub-four-second barrier. She remained with the team, sponsored by Patron Tequila, through last season.

She won several races in Funny Car, the most notable one being in the 2014 U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.

The interview with father and daughter DeJoria featured several good stories that the pair shared, including how John Paul turned over his super-fast Vector to Alexis to drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas right after her 16th birthday.

“I said, ‘Lexi come with me,’” John Paul said. “The minute we cross the California/Nevada line, I let her jump in the seat and just drive this thing; very fast car. In those days it was the fastest road car ever made. 227 miles an hour top-end, 750 horsepower, twin-turbo.

“So she jumped in there. … And then she got on it and got on it and got on it. Pretty soon I realized we’re going about 200 miles an hour!”

Alexis interjected, reminding her father, “YOU told me to pass this person.”

To which John Paul responded, “I did… She passed them good. … And then I realized what 200 miles an hour was like. She was fine with it. I made her slow down because at that speed you have to see one mile ahead of you… Pretty gnarly, but she drove it great!”

Added Alexis, “I think that’s where I got my racing bug from – definitely my father and his enthusiasm for sports cars.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.