Archive for the 2017 Category

Two-time drag racing champ Erica Enders looking to add ‘Gator’ skin to her wall

Erica Enders 2017 NHRA Pro Stock

GAINESVILLE, FL — One of only three women in history to capture a world championship in any of the top forms of motorsports, Erica Enders has amassed 21 national event victories in her illustrious career. However, that impressive number of wins doesn’t include one from the prestigious Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, a fact Enders would like to change at the 48th running of the event this weekend.

“I’ve always looked at the Gatornationals as one of the big-time, heritage races on the schedule so certainly we’d love to win it,” Enders said. “There’s a real party atmosphere with Spring Break and St. Patrick’s Day going on, plus all the people escaping the snow up north come down for the weekend. It’s always a lot of fun.

“We’ve been super busy since Phoenix, testing the Pro Stock car, running our Omaha Track COPO Camaro in Stock at a divisional event, and even racing in an NMCA event. I’ve been driving some sort of racecar for 12 days straight. It’s been a blast.”

Enders certainly knows how to win as her Richard Freeman-led race team collected 15 Pro Stock victories in their two-year championship run, six in 2014 and nine more in 2015. She says the recipe and ingredients used to cook up those successes haven’t change a bit.

“Richard is really good at creating a family environment and keeping everyone happy and motivated at the same time,” Enders said. “We have three Pro Stock teams under the Elite umbrella this year and all of us have worked together for a long time now so we know how to get the best out of the entire group. There is no ego on this team. We’re all working together for the best of the team.

“All three cars have started well and we’re all in the top 10 in the Mello Yello points so we’re happy. Most of all, we’re still having the best time, hanging out and racing with each other. I wouldn’t trade this group for anything.”

Gainesville will offer Enders two chances to win as aside from her Pro Stock car, she’ll be racing Terry Peterson’s Omaha Track COPO Camaro in the first of five Factory Stock Showdown scheduled this season. The car features Patterson-Elite horsepower.

“It’s a great racecar, very fast and super smooth,” she said. “I do know we’ll be up against the best Stock racers in the country and everyone wants to win this deal so it’ll be cutthroat, but I pretty much have raced under that pressure my whole career. We’ll be ready.”

Pro Stock qualifying sessions for the 48th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals are scheduled for 12:45 and 4:15 p.m., Friday, and 12 and 2:30 p.m., Saturday, with eliminations starting at noon, Sunday. Television coverage on FOX Sports 1 begins with two qualifying shows, one at 12 a.m., Friday, and the other at 11 p.m., Saturday, followed by live elimination action beginning at 1 p.m., Sunday. (All times listed in EDT).

Popular pro Erica Enders calling on fans to vote her into K&N Horsepower Challenge

K&N Horsepower Challenge | Erica Enders Racing

WYNNEWOOD, OK — Two-time world champ Erica Enders is calling on her legion of fans to vote her into the field of this year’s K&N Horsepower Challenge, which takes place April 1 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway during qualifying action for the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals.

A star in the sport since her days in the Junior Dragster ranks, which resulted in Walt Disney Studios making a movie about her and her sister Courtney’s young lives racing against the boys entitled Right On Track, Enders has become an iconic figure in the sport. She’s one of only three women to have captured a major championship in any form of motorsports, and is a two-time winner of the K&N Horsepower Challenge, winning the special event trophy in her two championship years of 2014 and 2015.

“It’s the top eight drivers and cars in the Pro Stock class going after the biggest payday the NHRA offers so it’s a very important race to be a part of,” Enders said. “We didn’t qualify on points because we had a down year performance-wise in 2016 but we’re back in our trusted Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro and feel as though, given a chance, we can make a serious run at this race title.

“My fans have proven to me time and time again to be the best in any sport any where. They have always been so supportive of me and I love them so much for always having my back. It would be huge if everyone takes a moment and goes to vote for me to run this year’s race. I won’t let them down!”

Voting runs now through noon ET, March 27. Interested parties should go to NHRA.com to vote using the link: http://www.nhra.com/KNChallenge. Each fan can vote just once and they must have a Facebook page to participate.

Enders has raced in the K&N Horsepower Challenge seven times in the past, winning the $50,000 top prize twice, and the $10,000 runner-up award once in 2013. Both times she won the race she also was victorious in the regular NHRA event taking place that weekend, which qualified her for a $25,000 “double-up bonus” from NHRA.

Fiery competitor Erica Enders resolute on improving after Phoenix

Erica Enders | NHRA Pro Stock | Phoenix 2017

PHOENIX, AZ – Erica Enders’ race day in the desert ended much sooner than anticipated this morning during Round 1 of eliminations of the 33rd annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the second of 24 events in the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

Two-time world champion Enders began Sunday qualified in the No. 10 position. Her Rick Jones Race Cars-built Chevrolet Camaro racing under the banner of Richard Freeman’s Elite Motorsports is a favorite to win every time out, but today she was the underdog of the opening round in a side-by-side battle against No. 7 qualifier Shane Gray.

As soon as the Christmas Tree flashed green, Enders’ bright red Camaro started shaking the big Goodyear slicks from lack of traction, which compelled Enders to begrudgingly abort her run. Gray finished with a 6.559-second, 211.23-mph mark, while Enders coasted across the finish line with a 7.961.

“We shook last (qualifying) session, but we didn’t expect to do that going up there today,” Enders said. “We weren’t set on kill or anything like that so we might have something wrong with our race car.

“The good news is we have a couple of weeks before Gainesville (next event) that we can go to work on it, the bad news is, our race day is over unfortunately. We are way better than that, and I fully expected to send that team packing first round for sure.”

Enders, the most successful female Pro Stock racer in NHRA history, has 21 national event victories. She is teammates with Elite Motorsports’ campaigners Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Vincent Nobile.

“Both my teammates Jeg Coughlin and Vincent Nobile are going rounds today,” Enders said. “Jeg has a really fast hot rod right now and has the best capability of winning the race so our focus goes to his car, and we’ll see if we can’t get one of the Elite Motorsports Elite Performance cars in the winner’s circle today.”

Enders will compete next at the famed Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, March 16-19.

FOX FS1 TV coverage of eliminations begins with three hours of elimination action at 4 p.m. MT, Sunday.

No shortage of confidence for two-time champ Erica Enders as eliminations near

Erica Enders | Phoenix 2017 | NHRA Pro Stock

PHOENIX, AZ – Two-time world champion Erica Enders will begin Sunday’s eliminations from the No. 10 qualifying spot in Richard Freeman’s Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro at the 33rd annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

Enders will bring her bright red racer to the starting line in Round 1 to race No. 7 qualifier Shane Gray. Her 6.558-second, 211.53-mph qualifying mark is just a touch behind Gray’s 6.548 posting.

The most successful female Pro Stock racer in NHRA history, Enders has 21 national event victories in her career, including a trip to the Phoenix winner’s circle in 2013. She was runner-up finisher here in 2015.

Despite the uncharacteristically average qualifying spot, the ever-affable Texas native shows a sheepish grin when asked about her team’s preliminary runs.

“To be honest, we’re still testing some things,” Enders said. “We were trying stuff all throughout qualifying. We have our baseline set-up we know we can go back to for race day. Tomorrow morning I have all the confidence in the world we’ll be just fine.

“I don’t mind my draw at all and I don’t really think lane choice is a big deal here. Having said that, the whole program is moving in the right direction. Both of my teammates went a 6.541 so we at least know we can go that. Heading into race day, I’m totally optimistic – totally confident. I’ve won here before, and we’re excited to be back in Phoenix. So, we’ll see what happens. Like always, I put my money on us.”

The Elite Motorsports contingent includes Enders, Jeg Coughlin Jr., and Vincent Nobile. Coughlin qualified No. 5 and Nobile landed in the No. 4 slot.

Enders enters tomorrow’s eliminations in fourth place in NHRA Pro Stock championship points. She raced to a semifinal finish at the season-opening Winternationals two weeks ago in Pomona, Calif.

Eliminations start at noon MT, Sunday. Television coverage of qualifying is on FOX Sports 1 from 10-11 p.m. MT, Saturday, followed by three hours of elimination action from 4-7 p.m. MT, Sunday.

Popular two-time champ Erica Enders has program right on track for Phoenix race

Erica Enders 2017 NHRA Pro Stock

CHANDLER, AZ — Before she even turned professional, let alone captured two world championships, drag racer Erica Enders had a Disney movie made about her and her sister Courtney’s lives in the NHRA Junior Dragster ranks. The film, the most watched movie in Disney Channel history, was entitled Right On Track.

Heading into this weekend’s 33rd annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Enders says the same title could easily be used to describe Richard Freeman’s Elite Motorsports race team, the group she’s been with for four seasons.

“Everything is right on track, for sure,” Enders said. “It’s no secret we had a down year in 2016, and it was a big deal because we’d just won back-to-back championships (in 2014-2015). We just struggled with the car we had and never got the engine right.

“Richard made a big decision, a very expensive decision in the off-season to switch back to GM horsepower and Chevrolet Camaros. That’s the brand we had when we did all our winning and it’s already made such a difference. We are back in competitive form and come into this race knowing we have a darn good chance to win. It’s been more than a year since we’ve been able to say that.”

Enders won the Phoenix race outright in 2013 and was runner-up at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in 2015. She also was top qualifier at the track in 2015.

“It’s a really unique setting and a place where I really like to visit because I have family here,” said Enders, a 21-time national event winner. “The track can be good, depending on the weather, and it can also be tricky if the dust gets stirred up. We already tested there a lot this year so we’re ready for anything.

“I really enjoy the fans also. They are friendly and into what we’re doing. It’s always fun when the people are behind you and cheering for you because we all try hard to put on a great race for them. This year I’m feeling we can really do something special so maybe we’ll be celebrating with them in the winner’s circle again.”

There are three cars racing out of the Elite Motorsports camp and Enders, following her semifinal finish at the season-opener in Pomona, Calif., is leading the way in fourth place. Teammates Vincent Nobile and Jeg Coughlin Jr. follow in fifth and sixth, respectively. All three crew chiefs work together and share data.

“We’re a true team in every sense of the word and we have a lot of fun racing as a team,” Enders said. “That’s our secret weapon.”

Pro Stock qualifying sessions are scheduled for 1:30 and 4 p.m. MT, Friday and Saturday, with eliminations starting at noon MT, Sunday. Television coverage on FOX Sports 1 begins with two qualifying shows from 10-11 p.m. MT, Friday, and 10-11 p.m. MT, Saturday, followed by three hours of elimination action from 4-7 p.m. MT, Sunday.

Erica Enders fires plenty of warning shots during season-opening Winternationals

Erica Enders | NHRA Pomona 2017 | Elite Motorsports

POMONA, CA — Back in the comfy confines of her Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, two-time world champion Erica Enders didn’t walk away with the trophy of this weekend’s 57th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals, but she certainly reminded everyone of why she dominated the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

A year with a different manufacturer made the category’s most prolific female racer an afterthought to many, but as soon as she got back in her Chevy, she quickly re-established herself as a top contender.

“Not a bad first Sunday, especially after the year we had last year,” Enders said. “I’m extremely proud of my guys this weekend, as I always am. We are still a little bit behind the top cars but they can bet their butts we’re going to catch up and if anything they definitely know we’re here again.

“I’m extremely pleased with our outing and Phoenix will be even better.”

With a stunning race-day average reaction time of .011 seconds, Enders powered past Matt Hartford and teammate Vincent Nobile before squaring off with four-time champ Greg Anderson in the semifinals. There, despite yet another stellar reaction time which gave her a .02-second headstart, she was beaten by Anderson by half a car length, 6.574 at 211.10 mpg to her 6.599 at 210.18 mph.

” It feels good that my left leg still works,” Enders said, referring to her clutch foot. “I should have been there a little better against Greg. I was actually set up to be a little bit better than a .020 but there are a lot of variables that go into a reaction time and things were just a little bit different up there.

“I’m pleased with the weekend. I’m pleased with my driving. I’m ready to keep knocking the rust off. It’s always hard when you’re out of the car for three months. If you’re a pro golfer, you don’t go three months without picking up a club, but that’s what we all deal with every year. We’ll get back in the groove. I’m just excited to be going rounds again on Sunday.”

The second stop of the year, the 33rd annual NHRA Arizona Nationals, take place Feb. 24-26 at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Ariz.

“All three of the Elite Motorsports Elite Performance powered cars are running really well and I think you can expect to see a lot out of all three of us,” Enders said. “It’s going to be a long year, it’s going to be a great year. I chose to believe that we’ll be on top at the end.”

History abounds, awaits world champion Erica Enders in Pomona

Erica Enders | NHRA Pro Stock Qualifying | Pomona 2017

POMONA, CA — The first Junior Dragster Erica Enders ever drove to the winner’s circle is housed just across the compound from Auto Club Raceway in Wally Parks’ Drag Racing Museum. She also started her Sportsman career here and collected one of her record 21 Pro Stock race trophies at Pomona. Additionally, she clinched the first of her two world titles at this track in 2014.

Now the spunky Texan is back, hoping to add a few more memories to her So-Cal resume when this weekend’s season-opening 57th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals turn to Sunday’s eliminations.

“This place means a lot to me,” Enders admitted. “It has a lot of history for our sport in general and for me personally, from racing Junior Dragsters here to getting my Super Comp license and starting my big car career in the Lucas Oil series. Plus, I was able to wrap up my first Pro Stock championship here.

“There’s just a lot of fun memories here already and then to have my first Junior Dragster over in the museum is just surreal because I still feel like I’m just a normal kid. It’s really through a lot of hard work and the support of my family that we’ve been able to accomplish a lot of cool stuff, including at this track. It’s one of the things that makes you want to pinch yourself.”

After racing to back-to-back titles and 15 race wins in 2014-2015, Enders came up empty last season racing for a different manufacturer. But her Elite Motorsports team has returned to its reliable Chevrolet Camaros and the results in testing, where she was quickest overall, and here in Pomona show they made the right decision.

“We are really proud of how we performed in testing and the first couple of days of qualifying,” she said. “Jeg (Coughlin, teammate) and I are both really proud to be back in Chevrolets, back in competitive race cars where we have a shot to win every Sunday.

“I’m proud of all of the hard work my team put into making all of this possible. It wasn’t easy to switch over everything, to build a new car for Jeg and get my 2014 car ready for me but they never quit, they never stopped trucking, so my hat’s off to them for how incredibly hard they worked to make this possible for both me and Jeg.”

Enders has qualified sixth with a best pass of 6.553 at 210.90 mph in her Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. Up first in eliminations is a first-round showdown with Matt Hartford, who qualified 11th with a best of 6.596 at 210.44 mph.

“Jeg and I can’t meet until the semis if we both win early in the day so that’s the first goal,” Enders said. “We’ll wake up tomorrow fresh and ready to roll. I know exactly what this team is capable of and what we can accomplish under pressure. It reminds me of 2014 and 2015 when we had the capability to win anytime we stepped foot on the property.

“Regardless of what happens tomorrow, I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve been through in the past 12 months and how strong it’s made us.”

Pro Stock eliminations begin at noon PT, Sunday, with three hours of live coverage running from 4-7 p.m. ET, on FOX.

Transportation Impact signs expanded sponsorship of Erica Enders, Jeg Coughlin Jr.

WYNNEWOOD, OK — Praising the successes of their first year together, Elite Motorsports team owner Richard Freeman and Transportation Impact Co-Founder Keith Byrd made a bullish announcement of an expanded sponsorship package for multi-time champion drivers Erica Enders and Jeg Coughlin Jr.

“This may be the best sponsorship deal in motorsports,” Freeman said. “You always want the fans and your fellow racers to support the sponsors that fund our sport, and in the case of Transportation Impact, it literally doesn’t cost you a penny to do just that. In fact, I can flat-out guarantee you’ll save money by enlisting their services.”

The privately-held logistics company specializes in helping companies drastically reduce their shipping costs. Transportation Impact, an Inc. 5000 company based in North Carolina, has earned a reputation as one of the top small package and freight negotiation and auditing firms in the shipping industry. They also are a leading provider of real-time transportation management system solutions; one of the only companies to offer a TMS with API connectivity.

“Our partnership with Elite has been great for our organization,” Byrd said. “We have been welcomed by Richard, Erica, Jeg and team, and have also been embraced by the other sponsors in the sport. We’ve had a chance to get to know some really great people, which has spawned some great business deals, but more importantly great friendships.”

The partnership between the two organizations stretches beyond the track and into the boardroom. Elite is a TI client, making for a relationship that both sides agree is mutually beneficial.

“We ship quite a lot, both with my regular business and with the race team, and we just figured out Transportation Impact saved us 43 percent on shipping costs last year,” Freeman said. “That’s money in our pocket right there. Everyone at the track that asked for their help will tell you a similar story. It’s pretty incredible what they do.

“And like I said, we only have to pay them a portion of what we save in the deal, which means we aren’t paying anything out of pocket.”

Byrd echoed Freeman’s thoughts: “One of our primary goals with this partnership is to deliver significant savings to as many teams, sponsors and suppliers as possible,” he said. “We appreciate the fact Elite has not only trusted us as a sponsor, but also with their business. When a company does that, then aligns you with other companies that you can help, too, then it makes you want to get behind them and support their team even more, so that’s what we’re here to do.”

Page 9 of 10« First...678910