Not one, not two, but THREE intense crashes went down at this year’s Mopar Express Lane NHRA Midwest Nationals. Though Funny Car driver Alex DeJoria came away with the round win during eliminations at World Wide Technology Raceway, the drag racing vet had quite the scare after she blew the body off her car at the end of her run. Thankfully, she was able to walk away from the vehicle under her own power.
As we covered in more detail here, Top Fuel drag racer Leah Pruett also was thankfully able to walk away unscathed after her dragster’s body blew apart at 260 MPH. The third major crash of the afternoon in St. Louis occurred when Pro Stock driver Kenny Delco lost control as his car crossed the line. Delco crashed into the retaining wall and flipped several times, even after his parachute deployed. Like DeJoria and Pruett, Delco also walked away uninjured.
All three miraculous recoveries just go to show how far NHRA has come as far safety is concerned. Though, even rock-solid safety precautions aside, you couldn’t pay us to drive one of those high-speed race cars!
Alexis DeJoria Career
The daughter of John Paul DeJoria, the billionaire co-founder of the Paul Mitchell line of hair products and the Patrón Spirits Company, Alex DeJoria began her National Hot Road Association career in 2005. The 43-year-old California native started racing in the Super Gas category, before moving into Super Comp racing.
After winning the Sportsman Nationals eight months following her debut, DeJoria competed in the Top Alcohol Funny Car class. In 2009, DeJoria built her own racing team called Stealth Motorsports. Two years later, she joined Kalitta Motorsports and raced a nitro funny car at the 2011 Texas Fall Nationals.
In 2014, a year after racking up four semifinal finishes, DeJoria became the first female ever to make a sub-four second pass, racking up a 3.997-second elapsed time during the NHRA Winternationals at Pomona. After putting in record-breaking performances at Atlanta Dragway and Brainerd International Raceway, DeJoria won the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis in September 2014.
Following a several year hiatus from the sport, DeJoria announced her return in 2019, entering into multi-year sponsorship deals with ROKiT Phones and ABK Beer. The goal she set for herself with that announcement? To become the first woman ever to win a Funny Car championship.