Alexis DeJoria Reaches NHRA Milestone with 200th Race Start
Alexis DeJoria, the first woman in Funny Car to qualify for 100 races, also is the first to reach 200 in the class.
Six pro-category women have competed in 200 or more events.
Top Fuel’s Leah Pruett on track to make her 200th race start this summer.
Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria said she doesn’t pay much attention to statistics: “I don't really think about it until someone says something to me.”
So as Sunday’s eliminations for the Gerber Collision and Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals approached, DeJoria said she wasn’t aware that she’d be competing in her 200th start.
“Wow! Really?’ I'm not even paying attention to that,” she said. “I'm just race to race and run by run and trying to do my best.
But yeah, I mean, it is 200th as a woman . . . This is pretty profound, and I'm very proud of that. Well, whether it's talking male or female, I'm very proud of that.”
Pro Stock’s Erica Enders heads the list, with this past weekend’s event marking her 340th. Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Angelle Sampey has the second-most starts (292), and her bike-class associate, Karen Stoffer, follows with 276.
Brittany Force (Top Fuel) is 18 races past 200, and motorcycle racer Angie Smith is at 212. Ten pro drag-racing women—including Leah Pruett, Courtney Force, Melanie Troxel, and Shirley Muldowney—are in triple digits. Ashley Force Hood, who stopped racing after 2010, had 92 Funny Car appearances, and Top Fuel racer Hillary Will logged 70 races before 2008.
DeJoria said she’s proud of the fact that the NHRA has no worries about diversity programs “because we've just been doing it for so long. I've seen in NASCAR the younger girls are starting to come in, and I've met a few of our Toyota partner drivers [through] the commercial that I recently did for Toyota with the other women from their sponsored motorsport – really great girls.
":It's awesome to see them coming through the ranks. So, it's getting better. They’re great girls. But they like going around and around (circle-track racing). It’s just really a preference, but I don't think any of 'em have been to a national event and stood behind a Top Fuel or a nitro Funny Car when they go down the racetrack. That (the sensory-overload experience]) might change their mind.”
Then again, DeJoria said, “It might scare the hell out of them.”
Most Starts Among Women NHRA Drag Racers
(Name. Number of starts, When quit racing):
Erica Enders, 340, Active
Angelle Sampey, 292, 2022
Karen Stoffer, 276, 2022
Brittany Force, 218, Active
Angie Smith, 212, Active
Alexis DeJoria, 200, Active
Leah Pruett, 192, Active
Courtney Force, 167, 2018
Shirley Muldowney, 154, 2003
Melanie Troxel, 146, 2011
Ashley Force Hood, 92, 2010
Hillary Will, 70, 2008