Looking to finish season strong

Courtesy Gary Nastase

At Brainerd, Alexis DeJoria set two track records and made her third semifinal in a row.

These past few weeks have been hectic but great. After the western swing and our two semifinal finishes, my husband and I flew straight from the NHRA race in Seattle to South Dakota for the big Sturgis Bike Rally. This is an event Jesse has attended many times before, being a bike guy, but this time in addition to all of the usual appearances, he was going to be racing while we were up there as well.

This year, the TORC series went to Sturgis for the first time and raced at the Buffalo Chip. My husband drove one of the PRO 2s, and while he was the one behind the wheel, I played the role of spectator, watching my other half on the race track. Typically, my husband accompanies me to races, but this time I went to support him -- it was certainly a bit of a role reversal and a new perspective for me. I have a better understanding of what goes through his mind, week after week, every time I fly down the drag strip.

courtesy of Brandon Mudd

Roles were reversed when Alexis DeJoria watched husband Jesse James race in the Sturgis Bike Rally.

My husband is a very good driver, having raced Off Road, Baja, in the desert, and he drove a PRO 2 in the TORC series a few years ago. I have the utmost faith in him and his driving abilities.

He did great at Sturgis, but unfortunately, he battled some mechanical issues that ended his day early. Despite his early exit, it was a really fun experience for both of us, and I’m looking forward to the next time he gets out there. I’m not going to lie -- I definitely was wishing I was in the driver’s seat, too. Once a racer, always a racer! It never changes, no matter what type of car you’re in.

Besides watching him race, it was nice to take that week off, do something a little different and still have enough time to get home to the kids before they start school at the end of the month. After enjoying some family time at home, we packed up and headed north for Brainerd, Minnesota, the last big race before Indy -- the calm before the storm.

Brainerd was pretty good to us this year. We qualified well, broke two track records, made the first ever sub-4-second Funny Car pass in Brainerd history (3.998 seconds), went to the semifinals (our third semi in a row) and officially clinched our spot in NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship Top 10 list. We’ve never been in the top 10 and had an opportunity to race for the championship, so we’re all excited.

We currently sit fifth in points, but the field is so close and so competitive, every little point counts. Indy, our next and final regular-season race, will be crucial for all of us, especially those that sit in spots three through eight. A good or bad weekend at Indy could make a huge difference for any of us. Even though the points are reset after Indy, each spot has a 20-point advantage on the next, so it’s crucial to finish as high up in the top 10 as possible before going into the six-race playoffs.

I’m confident we’ll be able to stay in the top half of the list going into the last six races. Our car is consistent, and we get down the track whether it’s hot or cold. It’s clear after this past weekend in Brainerd that our car is untouchable in cooler weather. The guys have quite the tune-up for this hot rod, and I’m looking forward to Indy and finishing out this portion of the season on a high note.