NHRA Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria will retire after end of 2017 season

Alexis DeJoria announced Monday that she will retire from the NHRA following the conclusion of the 2017 season.

The Kalitta Motorsports pilot, who has been one of the more successful Funny Car drivers of the past six years, said she is leaving the sport to focus on her family.

“It’s one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make and I will miss everyone so much,” DeJoria said in a statement. “My reasoning behind this decision is simple, it’s time for me to switch my focus towards my family.”

FROM THE ARCHIVES: DeJoria makes her own way in NHRA

DeJoria began her NHRA career in 2005, working her way up the ranks in the Super Gas, Super Comp and Top Alcohol Funny Car categories before making her professional nitro debut at the Texas NHRA FallNationals in September 2011.

The Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry driver has earned five Funny Car wins in her six-year nitro career, including the prestigious U.S. Nationals in 2014. She was also the first female Funny Car driver to break the four-second barrier and the first woman to compete in 100 Funny Car events.

“I’ve accomplished great things throughout my NHRA career,” DeJoria said. “Working with Kalitta Motorsports and driving for Connie Kalitta has been an absolute honor, the man is a legend. He’s been the best boss I could have ever hoped for as a professional nitro Funny Car pilot. I can’t say enough about Jim O [Oberhofer], Nicky [Boninfante], Tommy [DeLago] and the entire organization I’ve had the pleasure of working with these last six plus years. I got to work with and learn from the best.”

PHOTOS: ALEXIS DEJORIA THROUGH THE YEARS

The 40-year-old, who is ranked 11th in the Mello Yello NHRA Funny Car standings, scored her lone victory of 2017 at the Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., on Aug. 20. It marked the 250th victory for female drivers in NHRA history.

Oberhofer Kalitta Motorsports Vice President of Operations, said in a statement, “I am very proud that she is taking the time to spend with her family. I know very well how precious that time is and how easily it can get away from you. Alexis will always be a part of our Kalitta family and we wish her nothing but the best.”

DeJoria, the daughter of John Paul DeJoria, the co-founder Paul Mitchell hair care products and The Patrón Spirits Company, married TV personality and motorcycle customizer Jesse James in 2013. She has a teenage daughter, Isabella, from a previous relationship.

DeJoria next competes at the at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, Oct. 13-15, in Ennis, Texas.

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Olivier Blanchard