DeJoria, third in the Funny Car standings with two victories this season, could post the 100th event win by a woman in NHRA history at Atlanta Dragway this weekend

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The offer stands, but NHRA drag racer Alexis DeJoria is never going to accept it.

Her father, billionaire entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria, says he'll pay his daughter $1 million if she'll have her tattoos removed. At first, he was serious, but over time the offer has faded into a running joke between them. The tattoos are first-rate, by some of the best artists in the country, and they define her.

In a roundabout way, body art helped a wealthy, famous father understand the daughter he calls his "wild child." The daughter who refuses to live the life of wealthy heiress. The daughter who goes 300 mph in a race car. The daughter whose tattoos can't be bought off.

Makes sense. After all, there's a lot of John Paul DeJoria in that ink.

"I tease her about having them removed, but they're part of who she is," DeJoria, 70, told USA TODAY Sports. "It's part of the connection she makes with people. In my day, you just didn't get tattoos unless you were in the Navy, but now it's more acceptable. I'm amazed at the amount of people who know who she is. Recently I was at a major event and at least a dozen people walked up to me and said, 'Can I shake your hand? I'm a big fan of Alexis.' "

MORE: DeJoria's roots show in billionaire father

Her fanbase could expand this weekend when she has a chance to make history. DeJoria enters the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway third in the Funny Car standings and poised to post the 100th event victory by a woman in NHRA history.

Female winners aren't surprising in drag racing. Shirley Muldowney broke that barrier in 1976. John Force's daughters Courtney and Brittany are top-notch competitors in Funny Car and Top Fuel, respectively, and Erica Enders-Stevens is one of the best drivers in the Pro Stock category.

All three are capable of reaching the 100-win landmark this weekend, as are DeJoria, Leah Pritchett in Top Fuel and Angie Smith and Katie Sullivan in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

"I think it's a terrific thing," Muldowney said. "A lot of ladies played a big part in getting to 100 wins and it's good for the sport. Anything that shows women can be competitive with men and come out on top, it's a good thing. There are a lot of cars capable of getting that 100th win."

Forbes estimates John Paul DeJoria's net worth between $3 billion and $4 billion. His empire includes John Paul Mitchell hair care products, Patron Spirits — makers of the famous tequila — John Paul Pet Care, House of Blues nightclubs and Touchstone Natural Gas. He has made forays into the Hollywood film industry, has appeared on Shark Tank and holds a stake in a Harley-Davidson dealership.

His 36-year-old daughter could have bought the best of race cars and created a career out of thin air. Instead, she did it the same way her dad did, working from the bottom to the top with tenacity and intelligence. Part of that was her plan, part of it his. When she wanted Patron as her sponsor, she didn't just ask her dad for a check. He wanted a full, professional business proposal with facts and figures. He wanted proof that the sponsorship would provide a return on the investment. She delivered.

"There definitely is a perception about me and money," Alexis DeJoria told USA TODAY Sports. "It comes with the territory when you have a father who's a billionaire. It's two strikes against me. But he's not who people think he is, and once they get to know me and my father, they change their minds. He's completely down-to-earth, and he worked hard for everything he has. I'm trying to do the same thing.

"People say I could be sitting on a beach with a drink in my hand or hanging out at fashion shows," Alexis says. "And yes, I have done that, but that's not the way I was raised. I was always raised to work for what I want and earn my own money. His money is not my money, it's his. … This is my job. It's not a hobby. It's my work, and I love it. He loves what he does, and so do I. If he didn't have his work, he wouldn't know what to do. I'm the same way. That's just how I was brought up."

Dad, famous husband cheer breakthrough

When he's at the racetrack and his daughter beats her opponent, John Paul lets himself go. He jumps up and down, shouts encouragement, and serves as the superfan. Alexis' mother, Jamie Briggs, also makes it to two or three races a year.

"He definitely gets into it," says Alexis, the eldest of John Paul's children, including John Paul II, Michaeline, and John Anthony. "He carries all of us."

But lately the stakes have become more interesting. Earlier this year, Alexis won her first two career event wins — at Las Vegas and Phoenix. The story behind DeJoria's success is the car-rattling numbers — she's the first female driver to be clocked under 4 seconds in a Funny Car — but she's always looking for more speed.

"You can always improve," she says. "I'm always trying to fine-tune and improve what I do in the car. I'm always trying to get a better feel for the car when it moves. The goal is to be at one with the race car, but I don't think you ever know everything. There are veterans who will say the car still surprises them. I'm always striving to be better."

Tommy DeLago, DeJoria's crew chief at Kalitta Motorsports, watched her come up through racing schools and the lower classes of drag racing.

"She made herself do that because it's the right way to do things," DeLago told USA TODAY Sports. "She made sure she didn't miss any of the learning on the way up. She took all the classes and went old school. It was like someone starting in the mailroom with hopes of someday running the company. That's the way her father did it. He started his company from the trunk of his car, and that's definitely kept them both grounded. They don't think they're on a higher level than anyone else."

On race weekends, the mood around the DeJoria transporter is light and upbeat. It's not uncommon to see DeJoria's husband, famous motorcycle customizer and TV personality Jesse James, working on DeJoria's car.

"Having Jesse in her life has been a positive," said Jim Oberhofer, Kalitta Motorsports' vice president of operations. "He's been motivating her. There are so many great things about him that help her and this team. When he's at the track, he welds on the car packs parachutes — whatever he can to help out. He stays pretty busy."

And then there's the cheerleader.

"When you get done talking to J.P., you feel like you can take on everything," Oberhofer says. "You feel like you could be president of the United States. He's just that inspiring."

PHOTOS: Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria

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Passion for racing, compassion for others

Last year, Kalitta Motorsports lost its heart and soul.

Tammy Oberhofer, Jim's wife, died of cancer. She was the face most people saw when they entered the team's headquarters and the voice on the phone when they called.

Their daughter, 18-year-old Ashley, turned to Alexis for comfort and support.

"Alexis has been nothing short of amazing with my daughter, and so has Jesse," Oberhofer said. "I don't have much experience with daughters of billionaires, but if they're all like her, the world will be a pretty good place. She's just an amazing person."

The compassion for others is intertwined with the passion for racing. Away from the racetrack, Alexis can be found practicing on a simulator, constantly trying to shave that last hundredth of a second from her reaction times.

"She's become one of the better drivers out there," DeLago says. "She's not even close to her ceiling. It's just a matter of how good she can become."

Fittingly, her father was the first to recognize the talent. Before Alexis began her journey into drag racing, she scared the daylights out of her father during a trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. At the time, John Paul owned a Vector W8, a rare, American-made supercar designed to rival the fastest models of Ferrari and Lamborghini.

Alexis wanted to drive the car, so, once clear of traffic, John Paul pulled over and let his daughter get behind the wheel. "I said, 'Go for it, honey,' " he recalled. "Well, when she got it up to 200 (mph), I started freaking out and made her back off. At that point, I knew it. My God, she is meant for racing."

Follow Olson on Twitter @jeffolson77

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Winningest women

This weekend, the NHRA could get its 100th win from a female driver. The previous wins break down like this:

WinsDriverCategoryFirst winLast win
41Angelle SampeyPro Stock MotorcycleReading 1996Houston 2007
18Shirley MuldowneyTop FuelColumbus 1976Phoenix 1989
8Erica Enders-StevensPro StockChicago 2012Houston 2014
6Karen StofferPro Stock MotorcycleHouston 2004Denver 2011
5Melanie TroxelTop Fuel-Funny CarPomona 2006 (TF)Bristol 2008 (FC)
4Shelly PayneTop FuelReading 1993Seattle 1996
4Lori JohnsTop FuelPomona 1990Memphis 1991
4Ashley Force HoodFunny CarAtlanta 2008Indianapolis 2010
4Courtney ForceFunny CarSeattle 2012Topeka 2014
2Alexis DeJoriaFunny CarPhoenix 2014Las Vegas 2014
1Lucille LeeTop FuelAtlanta 1982---
1Cristen PowellTop FuelEnglishtown 1997---
1Peggy LlewellynPro Stock MotorcycleDallas 2007---
1Hillary WillTop FuelTopeka 2008---
Source: NHRA
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