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April 9, 2014

Alexis DeJoria

SCOTT SMITH:  Alexis DeJoria has raced to her second win of the early season when she defeated Robert Hight at the finals in the most recent event in Las Vegas.  Second time she raced Hight in the finals and has an 2-0 final round appearance record against the 2009 Funny Car world champion. 
With the win, she becomes the 10th woman in NHRA to win more than two races in her career.  This year she also ran her career best time of 3.997 seconds, which also marked the first female to go under four seconds. 
When we talked before Gainesville, you were hesitant to talk about championships, talk about titles, the season.  After that second win, does your focus shift a little bit more?  Is your team now looking towards a championship or are you still kind of keeping it maybe one race at a time? 
ALEXIS DeJORIA:  I still hesitate to talk about any kind of a championship focus right now.  As far as I'm concerned, I mean, we're still far away from that.  A second win so close to the first one is still pretty exciting.  It does give us an extra boost of confidence.  But at the same time we still have a ways to go.  We're only four races in. 
SCOTT SMITH:  We were talking with Erica.  She alluded to we're on the verge of a hundred wins by a woman in the NHRA.  We talked about Shirley Muldowney, her paving the way.  Do you think any of this would have been possible without Shirley and what she was able to accomplish when she was starting out in the late '70s? 
ALEXIS DeJORIA:  I mean, it's possible, but she's the first person I think we all kind of look to because she was the pioneer.  She's the one who busted those doors down and did it in a very strong manner. 
I think all forms of motorsports have been integrated with women, but NHRA definitely takes the cake on that one. 
SCOTT SMITH:  We'll take questions for Alexis. 

Q.  It seems like forever to get the first win.  After doing that, did you think the second win was going to come this quick? 
ALEXIS DeJORIA:  I thought, you know, after experiencing that consistency in Phoenix, something we've been working towards for a while, I felt like we are on a roll.  I was planning on going out to Gainesville and winning that race, too (laughter). 
I think once you've found that consistency, everything kind of comes together on your team, the crew chiefs, the crew, the driver.  I mean, yeah, it is very possible to go out there and keep winning. 
We've had two first-round losses which kind of brought us down for a little bit, but evened it out with that second win in Vegas.  We seem to be the best in the desert, so to speak. 

Q.  How does it feel to have won 50% of the races so far this year? 
ALEXIS DeJORIA:  It's pretty good.  But, like I said before, the other two races we went out first round, so...  I don't know.  It's 50/50 right now. 

Q.  I asked Erica how hard it is and how much more concentration you have to have at the Four-Wides.  How do you deal with it in the Funny Car? 
ALEXIS DeJORIA:  Just remember which lane I'm in when I'm going up to stage.  It's very easy, especially if you're in the two middle lanes, to kind of get tossed up looking at all the lights.  The outside lanes are definitely the best ones. 
It's just an exciting race because you're not just going out there and beating one car, you're beating three other cars to get to the finish line.  That in itself is a great race. 
I think to win it would be very exciting for our team. 

Q.  Funny Cars, the best way to define them to a fan, they're really beasts, have to be man-handled, especially at 300 miles an hour.  We have you winning half the races this year.  We have Courtney out there who is competitive also.  Talk a little bit about that, what that means.  You have to go against all these experienced drivers. 
ALEXIS DeJORIA:  We talk about man-handling these cars, but obviously I think f you just work on your upper body strength, like Courtney and I obviously have to do to handle these things. 
But generally it doesn't really matter.  If a cylinder goes out, you'll see some of the best, strongest guys go right into the wall.  So sometimes you can get a handle on it and other times it's just not your day. 
But I've been lucky pretty much throughout these last few seasons.  I haven't really crossed over the center line.  I had an incident with the wall in Phoenix two years ago, but that was kind of inevitable.  Even my old crew chief said the same thing.  He said, When you smoke the tires and drop a cylinder, you're going in the wall, I don't care who you are.  He said, I did the same thing one year in that same lane. 
You do your best out there.  I had my hands full in Vegas with those side winds.  It was pretty intense, especially when the parachutes open.  You really got to be on your toes. 
But we've been doing a pretty good job.  They've set up my car so it handles very well.  We've been front halving it.  Six months they've been working on that.  It's handling much, much better. 

Q.  For fans, how would you define a typical Funny Car ride?
ALEXIS DeJORIA:  Oh, gosh.  Intense, surreal, lightspeed. 

Q.  One thing that makes you different from the other women who are currently racing is that you're also a mother.  You're not only a role model to other little girls who want to do this but to your own daughter.  What is it that you're hoping to teach her and the other little girls? 
ALEXIS DeJORIA:  Actually, Shirley Muldowney was a mother, too, when she started racing professionally.  I think Shelly Payne is a mother. 
I think coming from that standpoint you want the best for your child, but at the same time I would never push her into drag racing just because it's what I do.  I would want her to find her own passion in life.  As long as she's not hurting herself or other people, I would definitely support it, of course. 
But honestly being one of the few females in a male-dominated sport, I feel it's very important to teach young women that anything is possible.  Just stay focused, don't give up, and don't let the little things get to you. 
SCOTT SMITH:  We do have that hundredth win by a female competitor coming.  What would it mean to you to get that hundredth victory? 
ALEXIS DeJORIA:  Oh, gosh, it would be a wonderful accomplishment.  It would be great to go in the history books for something like that, for sure. 
If Erica gets it, I would be very happy for her.  Same with Courtney, Brittany.  I think we do support each other, but at the same time, like Erica said, we are racers at heart and very competitive.  So we would love to get that for ourselves. 
If it goes to one of the other ones, I'd definitely be supporting that. 
SCOTT SMITH:  Thank you very much. 

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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