NHRA Funny Car racer Alexis DeJoria was one of three inductees enshrined into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame recently in Rosemont, Ill.
DeJoria, a seven-time NHRA national event winner, joined an elite group of Italian-American athletes when she is recognized as a member of The Hall’s Class of 2019. Joining DeJoria were NFL star Glen Carano and the late Ralph ‘Babe’ Serpico. DeJoria also shared the stage with auto racing legend Mario Andretti as he was presented with The Hall’s first Lifetime Achievement Award.
“This is an incredible honor to be recognized as an Italian-American athlete in the sport of NHRA Drag Racing,” said DeJoria, whose heritage includes Italian and Greek roots. “When I learned I had been selected, I felt instant pride thinking back to when my grandfather immigrated here from Italy to become part of the American dream.”
DeJoria is regarded as one of the most accomplished and influential female athletes in motorsports. Her legacy includes breaking barriers in a male-dominated industry and racking up a stunning list of achievements both on and off the racetrack.
DeJoria began her racing career in 2005 by competing in the Super Gas category before moving into a rear engine Super Comp dragster. Within eight months of her debut, DeJoria had won a national event and collected two runner-up finishes. She continued to work her way through the NHRA Sportsman classes and in 2007, moved into the Top Alcohol Funny Car category where she owned and operated her own team, Stealth Motorsports, from 2009 to 2011 and is one of the few females ever to do so.
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With Stealth, DeJoria raced to four national event final rounds, won a divisional event, and claimed the 2011 NHRA Northwest Nationals Top Alcohol Funny Car crown. She is the second woman in history to win a national Top Alcohol Funny Car event.
In 2010 she earned her professional Funny Car license and spent a year making test passes behind the wheel of a 10,000-horsepower ‘big show’ race car. DeJoria made the highly-anticipated leap from Top Alcohol Funny Car to Funny Car at the 2011 Texas NHRA FallNationals, joining the Kalitta Motorsports team as their fourth member and second Funny Car driver.
From 2011 to 2017, DeJoria raced to five event wins, including the prestigious 60th annual NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, reset multiple track records, was a No. 1 qualifier four times, and became the first female to clock a sub-four second Funny Car elapsed time. She was also the first woman to compete in 100 Funny Car events, and she recorded a Top 10 finish in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
In addition to her on-track achievements, DeJoria is also highly regarded for her humanitarian efforts, most notably the ‘Free Mammograms for the Fans’ program. She launched the program in 2013, partnering with Nevada Health Centers to provide free mammogram screenings via a mobile mammography unit to any female ticketholder in attendance at the NHRA Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas. She later added Baylor Health to the program and women attending the Texas NHRA FallNationals in suburban Dallas were also able to take advantage of the complimentary screenings. Over the course of five years, more than 500 free mammograms were performed at an NHRA race thanks to DeJoria and her team.