The Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrόn Toyota Camry Funny Car team has been riding a wave of success and heads into Norwalk, OH with a great feeling of accomplishment and looking to keep the momentum going this weekend at the 6th Annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. In the past three races, Team Patrόn, led by ESPY nominated crew chief Del Worsham, has set a 2012 Rookie record, made final and semi-final round appearances, and beat 15-time NHRA Funny Car champion, John Force.
The team’s driver, Alexis “La Patrόna” DeJoria visited neighboring Cleveland, Ohio last month for a media tour and has been looking forward to coming back to compete in the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals ever since. “I’ve been here several times in my Alcohol [Funny] car, but never in my Nitro car. Bill Bader and his family operate a great facility and I can’t wait to hit the track for the first time in my Patrόn Toyota Camry,” she said, speaking of the Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.
“We’ve done so well lately. Our team has come so far in such a short period of time,” said the Rookie of the Year candidate who visits Ohio with her family as they extend their ‘4th of July’ celebration, taking advantage of the nearby amusement parks. “I made a couple of mistakes this past weekend, but we still managed to get to the semis. Our car is running really good and my teammate [Jeff Arend] won the race, which is awesome, so all is well for Team Kalitta!” she said, referring to last week’s NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Illinois.
Norwalk is a big race for Kalitta Motorsports, as it is the team’s ‘home track’ so friends and family will be out at the Ohio drag strip in full effect this weekend. Team Patrόn hopes to put on an exciting show for all their fans and drag racing first-timers making the trip over to Norwalk.
The 8,000 horsepower black-and-green stunner has been running excellent lately, but with another hot weekend coming up, Team Patrόn will have to overcome the challenge of what could be tricky track conditions. “Racing is always a little complicated there because it’s the middle of the summer, and the temperatures are supposed to be in the nineties [degrees] this weekend, which will make for a really tricky race track. Just like last weekend, our main focus going into the race is to really put it all out there during that Friday night qualifying session. If you don’t run well in that session, you’ll be in trouble the rest of the weekend as far as how you’re positioned,” said VP of Kalitta Motorsports’ Jim Oberhofer, referring to how the teams are paired up in Sunday’s eliminations.
“Looking at Chicago, the team deal is really starting to payoff. The two Toyota Camry Funny Cars [the Patrόn and DHL cars] were doing the exact same thing on every run, and with Jeff’s win and Alexis making it to the semis, it just shows how much stronger the team is getting,” he explained of the Kalitta Motorsports Funny Car strategy of having both cars tuned exactly the same. “Hopefully this week, we’ll keep going down the track, go rounds and make another final round appearance.”
The Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrόn Toyota Camry Funny Car team currently sits in eleventh place on the points ladder, just 83 points away from the ‘Top Ten.’ They hope to continue to climb the rankings this weekend, July 6th-8th, at the 6th Annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio. Funny Car qualifying begins at 4PM on Friday afternoon.