Alexis DeJoria defeated J.R. Todd in an all Toyota Camry Funny Car final round to win Sunday’s NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. It marked the first all-Toyota final round in Funny Car since Shawn Langdon defeated Todd at World Wide Technology Raceway in St. Louis back in 2019.
“We have a great car and we just haven’t had those luck rounds,” DeJoria said. “We were slamming after that first round. Just to make it to the semifinals and finals was a huge deal and it was a big deal to have an all Toyota final round. This is a huge weight lifted off our shoulders. Getting that No. 1 qualifier was a huge first step and to get the Wally at the same race is just insane. It’s a huge confidence builder for our team. We knew we could do this, it was just a matter of getting it done.”
“I was hungry and I know that feeling,” DeJoria said. “I was just happy to be there and I believed I was going to win. It’s one of the biggest wins of my career. Coming back after two years off, getting to work with my mentor and friend, being able to do this, it’s huge. It’s just been a roller-coaster and it takes a toll on you.
"It’s very humbling, but I was just ready to win. I was calm and just excited, and when I’m in that headspace I do my best. This is definitely one of my favorite tracks and it’s just beautiful here. I just love it,” DeJoria added.
The win is the sixth career Funny Car win for DeJoria and her first since coming out of a two-year retirement last season.
RPM Round By Round:
Round 1 - DeJoria faced Paul Lee in round number one. Lee struggled and DeJoria was able to move forward with a run of 4.030 at 269.83.
Round 2 - With only 14 cars in the field, DeJoria was able to secure a bye in the 2nd round because of her top qualifying run the day before. She still made a run at 3.931 at 321.04 MPH in an attempt to have lane choice in the semi's.
Round 3 - DeJoria faced Robert Hight in the semi's and this was one of the best battles of the weekend. While both competitors made full competitive runs, it was DeJoria who made it to the stripe first to move on to the final.
Round 4 - Teammate J.R. Todd awaited DeJoria in the finals. Todd is 5 - 2 against DeJoria in prior events and this is the first time they have faced each other in a final round. DeJoria with a near perfect light and never trailed for the win. She wins her first Wally this season and the sixth of her career.
Josh Hachat has a fantastic recap on NHRA.com: