NHRA driver Alexis DeJoria announces retirement

NHRA Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria said she is retiring from the series at the end of this season to "swtich my focus towards my family."

The DeJoria was the first female driver to break the 4-second barrier in a Funny Car and has five event wins in her career.

The 40-year-old said retirement was "one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make."

FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2012, file photo, Alexi DeJoria talks about her racing career, in Jupiter, Fla. DeJoria, the first woman to break the 4-second barrier in a Funny Car, will retire from NHRA competition at the end of the season to spend more time with her family. DeJoria announced her retirement Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, calling it “one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make.” (AP Photo/J Pat Carter, File

Alexis DeJoria was the first woman to break the 4-second barrier in an NHRA Funny Car.  (AP)

DeJoria is the daughter of billionaire entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria, a co-founder of Paul Mitchell hair care products and The Patron Spirits Co. Alexis DeJoria married TV personality and renowned motorcycle fabricator Jesse James in 2013. She has a teenage daughter, Isabella, from a previous relationship.

DeJoria began her NHRA career in 2005, moving up the ranks in Super Gas, Super Comp and Top Alcohol Funny Car categories before making her professional debut in September 2011.

In her six-year pro career, DeJoria became the first woman to compete in 100 Funny Car events.

"I've accomplished great things throughout my NHRA career," she 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."

DeJoria and her team have three races remaining in 2017, beginning at the Texas FallNationals this weekend.

The Associated Press contributed to this report