Alexis DeJoria looking for more Bristol magic at NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals
Alexis DeJoria is hoping to find that same magic at Bristol Dragway that she used to have one of the best Sundays of her young racing career last October during the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.
This time around, she’d like to grab an NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series victory at the historic and revered dragstrip in Northeast Tennessee on Father’s Day weekend, June 17-19.
DeJoria says it would be awesome to give the Wally trophy from Bristol to her dad, John Paul DeJoria, as a very special Father’s Day gift. Last year when she won at Bristol the race was moved to an October Countdown Playoff spot from its traditional mid-June date.
“It would be great if my dad was there to celebrate with me,” DeJoria said. “He's never been out to that track before. Maybe I can get him to come out this weekend. But obviously getting a win on Father's Day would be special for my father, who obviously supports what I do very much. So on every level it would be the icing on the cake. Obviously, being a daughter, you want to make your father proud. And that's I think the ultimate.”
DeJoria says racing at Bristol has always just clicked for her. It’s the track where she made her first career final round appearance, a runner-up effort in 2012 to Funny Car veteran Ron Capps. And last October, she had a dominating weekend with crew chief and team partner Del Worsham as she claimed the No. 1 qualifying position and raced past a tough lineup of rivals including J.R. Todd in the final round to claim the victory.
“Yeah, it was the first place I went to my first pro nitro final with Del Worsham as my crew chief when I started off with Kalitta motorsports, so there's just a good vibe there for me,” DeJoria said. “I love the fans. I love where the track is. I love the acoustics. I mean, there's so much about that track that makes it really special.”
DeJoria has claimed six NHRA Funny Car wins in her career. After a bit of a sluggish start to the 2022 season, she is hoping to turn the tides on her season and increase that total as the circuit heads to Bristol. After advancing to the final round at the Four-Wide race at Las Vegas at the controls of her ROKiT Phones/Bandero Tequila Toyota GR Supra, DeJoria has been in a mini-slump the last four races.
“It's been a while since I've been a returning champion,” DeJoria said. “So I'm really excited. Bristol's been one of my favorite tracks for a while. And yeah, I mean, we’ve got one round win in the last couple races, so we definitely need to do better than that. And Bristol, Bristol is the place to do it.”
DeJoria says she isn’t sure why Bristol has become one of her favorite tracks. She says there are other tracks that she’s tried to love but has had nothing but heartbreak. At Bristol, she says she feels the love.
“It's got a special place in my heart, so there are tracks that you just maybe don't feel comfortable with,” DeJoria said. “It’s just the surroundings, the ambience, the sound, whatever it is, is just not the same (at other tracks). I think it's just like the luck of the draw, some tracks you have more luck at than others; certain things catch your eye or, certain things don't. But yeah, Bristol's definitely up there for me.”
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they're granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
Fans will get to see plenty of NHRA stars during the Father’s Day weekend event. In addition to DeJoria, fans will get to see eight-time Top Fuel champ and six-time Bristol winner Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, Funny Car kingpin John Force and his Top Fuel driving daughter Brittany, Tony Stewart Racing Top Fuel driver Leah Pruett, Virginia cattle rancher Matt Hagan, five-time Bristol winner and defending Funny Car champ Ron Capps, Bristol Top Fuel dominator Mike Salinas, four-time Top Fuel champ Steve Torrence and Top Fuel rising star Justin Ashley.
For the first time since 2018, the high-revving Pro Stock category will return to action at Bristol where defending champ and two-time Bristol winner Erica Enders will battle alongside category veteran Greg Anderson, third-generation racer Troy Coughlin Jr., and rising stars Dallas Glenn and Kyle Koretsky, among others.
The 200-mph Pro Stock Motorcycle class also will return this season and defending race winner Angelle Sampey will be looking to add a second Bristol trophy to her collection. Defending series champ Matt Smith, from King, N.C., Suzuki rider Steve Johnson, national record holder Karen Stoffer and Team Harley’s Eddie Krawiec will be among the two-wheelers looking to score a Thunder Valley victory.
The race also will feature action in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series and the Constant Aviation NHRA Factory Stock Showdown.
Fans also will want to visit NHRA's popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
Qualifying for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals begins Friday, June 17 with the pro session beginning at 7 p.m., which will include the nitro qualifying at night, which starts at 8 p.m. The final two rounds of qualifying are set for Saturday, June 18, at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for noon on Sunday, June 19.
Friday’s 90-minute live qualifying show will air on FS1 at 8 p.m. (ET), and be followed by a one-hour Saturday qualifying highlights show at 11 p.m. (ET), also on FS1. Sunday’s three-hour final eliminations show will air at 3 p.m. (ET) on FOX.
Enough with the multi-colored neck ties and fancy pocket protectors, there's still time to purchase tickets and give your Dad an unforgettable Father's Day weekend experience. Weekend packages begin at just $94 while single-day Friday tickets start as low as $30 for adults. Saturday adult tickets start at $47 and Sunday’s tickets start at $37. Kids 12 and under tickets are free each day in grandstand sections A-U with a paid adult.
To purchase reserved seats for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals please visit the Bristol Motor Speedway website or order your tickets over the phone by calling the Bristol Motor Speedway sales center at (866) 415-4158.