Photos: Courtesy of NHRA
Still recovering from her hard-slamming accident against the wall at Sonoma Raceway in late July, NHRA Funny Car racer, Alexis DeJoria will miss this weekend’s Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Speedway.
The incident in the first round of Eliminations caused a high-energy fracture to her left iliac wing, forcing her to miss the Northwest Nationals in Seattle two weeks ago.
Despite missing the last race, DeJoria still has a 115-point lead over Chad Head for the coveted No.10 slot in the Countdown for the Championship with two races remaining in the regular season.
“I was hoping and planning on being at Brainerd,” said the four-time Funny Car winner, who has already claimed one win (Las Vegas) in 2016. “Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen.”
“With it being a fracture, the healing time is six-to-eight weeks and as much as I wanted it, the harsh reality is there just wasn’t enough time between Sonoma and Brainerd for that area to be healed properly. Even though I feel better, and yes, I’m physically able to return to the seat, the fact of the matter is, I have a cracked pelvis. Any slightly concussive movements could make that fracture develop into a full-blown crack, and if that were to happen, that would cost me and my team the whole season.”
Always the fierce competitor, DeJoria is crestfallen about being out of the cockpit, but stays positive with her prognosis.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow but it was a decision that had to be made,” she said. “My doctor, my crew chief and I assessed the situation and determined that the risk right now for further injury is too great. When you weigh it out, missing one more race is better than missing the entire season, and the reality is, if I were to go out there and shake or have any intense movements that could very well be the final straw.”
DeJoria is getting better every day and feels a run at Indy’s Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is highly likely, although not assured for this Toyota driver.
“I’ll keep chipping away at it,” DeJoria said, adding, “I’m getting better every day. My sights are set on Indy. By then, that will be five weeks of healing time and I should be at 90%, pretty healed and ready to go. I’m working hard to ensure I achieve that goal.
“Not only does this decision give me more time to heal and recover, but it also gives my team sufficient time to get my chassis and Camry bodies to 110% performance ready. We’re all chomping at the bit. It’s hard to miss one race, and even harder to miss two, but it’s something that comes with the territory. I can’t let my ego dictate my recovery. I’m extremely grateful it wasn’t worse and I came out of it able to race another day.”
In the remaining weeks leading up to the U.S. Nationals, DeJoria will continue to focus on her rehabilitation. Her recovery plan includes regular visits to her physical therapist’s office, an at home regimen of exercises, and a cutting-edge laser therapy treatment intended to speed up healing and stimulate tissue repair and cell growth.
“My bones will heal when they heal. I’m doing everything I can to make sure I’m headed in the right direction. With physical therapy a few times a week, I’ve slowly been able to regain my range of motion.
“I miss my team, my crew chiefs, my teammates, everyone I race with, race against, the fans; I miss it all. I miss being out there. Big thanks to everyone for their support through all of this. I really appreciate it, and I can’t wait to get back.”
Qualifying starts at Brainerd on Friday with FOX Sports 1 airing a special 30-minute show at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday of the Seattle nitro finals. The qualifying wrap up program follows that at 10 p.m. Saturday evening. Sunday’s Lucas Oil Nationals will air LIVE starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 21.