When VAVEL USA recently attended the NHRA Northwest Nationals, this writer had the opportunity to sit down with Alexis DeJoria and ask her a few questions about her season and the event. She had an eventful weekend in Seattle including having her body blow off the car in Friday’s afternoon qualifying session before eventually being eliminated in the second round.
VAVEL USA (VU) - How was the weekend for you?
Alexis DeJoria (AD) - The weekend was alright; it wasn’t the greatest but we did leave here with another round win and some bonus points, and we’re now tied in ninth, up from tenth.
VU - Talking about that body explosion, what was going through your mind as it happened? Take us through the run from the drop of the light to the end.
AD - We were on a good pass and I didn’t have any warning. All of a sudden I saw sparks, the engine detonated and the body blew up into a million pieces and flew by me. The back end came up off of the car but the parachutes were out and I was able to get it under control pretty quickly, keep it out of the other lane and off the wall, and get it stopped.
VU - How does your backup [body] compare to your original?
AD - The backup body is the body that we won Indy with, so it’s just as good, if not better.
VU - How long did it take your team to recover from that overnight?
AD - They worked at it all night. They were here until well after two in the morning finishing it up.
VU - Was that the craziest thing that has happened to you before?
AD - My crash in Englishtown is the only thing that I can really compare it to, but one is not anywhere near like the other. The crash in Englishtown was way worse, but nothing has really happened to me since then. I’ve had some fires, brushed the wall with my headers, but nothing really other than that.
VU - How do you feel about your car going into the final race?
AD - I feel really good becauseIndy is a place where we’ve done really well in the past and last year we won at Indy.
VU - Is there any kind of additional pressure when taking on a fellow female driver in Courtney Force?
AD - I think if any, it’s just because the media makes it such a big deal. If that wasn’t the case, Courtney is a good driver and so am I, and it shouldn’t be any different but the media tends to put a lot on it.
DeJoria would go on to Brainerd and qualify in the third position where she had a weird run in round one and was eliminated after smoking her tires and having part of her car tap the wall, giving her a DQ for her run and putting her on the trailer early.
Entering Indy, she sits 10th in points, holding a 73-point advantage over Courtney Force in the last race before the Countdown to the Championship. That advantage is not as large as it may seem; keep in mind that points at Indianapolis are 1.5-times their normal value.