BAYTOWN, TX — Heading into just the 6th race of the 2014 season, Erica Enders-Stevens has already captured the Pro Stock national speed record, won the K&N Horsepower Challenge, appeared in three national event final rounds, won the SummitRacing.com Nationals in Las Vegas, and became the overall Pro Stock points leader for the first time in her career.
Yet a win at this weekend’s O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway would be even more special.
“This is home. It’s where I grew up watching my dad race and where I started racing Jr. Dragsters,” recalled Enders-Stevens. “My first national event win happened here in Super Gas in 2004, so it’s been 10 years since I’ve been in the winner’s circle at my home track. Making it back there this weekend would be one heck of an anniversary celebration.”
If this season’s performance is any indication, she may have just what it takes.
Her Elite Motorsports team, led by Richard Freeman and co-crew chiefs Rick and Rickie Jones, has developed a consistent race car tailored to Erica’s driving style. The red Chevy Camaro’s 500 cubic inch powerplant from Elite Performance builders Nick Ferri and Jake Hairston routinely delivers some of the highest horsepower in the class when comparing finish-line trap speeds, including the record-setting 214.69 mph speed set in Gainesville.
“It’s been amazing racing with them,” Erica said of her Elite Motorsports crew. “We’re having so much fun together, and I think that translates into how well we communicate with each other when getting the car set up for each round.”
With her arrival in Houston, Erica’s pit will be bustling with family and friends coming to wish her luck.
“It’s always great to come home and see everyone,” said Erica. “I try to get here early so I can spend some quiet time with family before the races, then all weekend it’s family, friends and fans. It’s busy, but fun.”
It’s not just Houston family and friends coming out to support Erica, new associate sponsors have come on board to support the Elite Motorsports team.
Industrial engine builder Engines, Inc., led by Lloyd and Linda Wofford, and Steve and Kim Bruno of Oklahoma City-based United Mechanical have signed on for the remainder of the year, with Mark Stockseth of Stockseth Racing joining the team’s efforts for Houston.
“We’re very fortunate to have the Woffords, Brunos and Mark Stockseth getting behind our program. They’re dedicated business owners who work hard for what they’ve accomplished, and we’re excited to be associated with them as marketing partners,” said Enders-Stevens.
In addition, locally-based synthetic lubricants company, Royal Purple, for which the track is named, is also cheering on the Elite Motorsports Camaro after coming on board with their support earlier in the season.
“This is Royal Purple’s home track as well as mine, so we want to win this here for them and for everyone else who support us,” notes Enders-Stevens.
Friday’s Pro Stock qualifying is set to begin at 4:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (CT), with Saturday’s sessions at 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Eliminations for all classes begins at 11:00 a.m. Sunday.
TV broadcasts on ESPN2 will air the qualifying program starting at 5:00 p.m. Saturday and the elimination show at 6:00 p.m. Sunday evening.