Archive for the Elite Motorsports Category

Enders-Stevens, Elite Motorsports Persevere at New England Nationals

Erica Enders-Stevens at New England Dragway

EPPING, NH — Last week’s winner and current Pro Stock points leader Erica Enders-Stevens came up just short of bringing home her fourth win of the season at the Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals.

Enders-Stevens put the pedal of her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro down when she ran a 6.518 at 212.73 mph against Larry Morgan to move on to the second round of final eliminations.

But round two was a dead heat between Enders-Stevens and Greg Anderson that ended with both recording 6.551 passes. However, Anderson’s .034 reaction compared to Enders-Stevens’ .046 ended her day earlier than expected.

“We went out and made a nice, clean run in the first round,” Enders-Stevens said. “Thankfully because of that first run we got lane choice for the second round. But when we got back to the pits we found out that we had hurt the motor. We had to thrash to take it out and get back up there in time for the second round. We made it in time but just didn’t get it done against Anderson. It just wasn’t our day to bring home the win but that won’t get us down.”

Even though Enders-Stevens was hoping to score back-to-back wins this weekend, she is still optimistic about how her Elite Motorsports team is working.

“All of the guys did a phenomenal job to turn the car around that fast,” Enders-Stevens said, “and I couldn’t be more proud of the effort they put in to give me a great car. That’s not a situation anyone wants to be in during final eliminations but my guys worked their butts off. I do think, though, that if we hadn’t have changed motors before the second round we would have had Anderson beat at the line.”

Enders-Stevens will now turn her focus to prepare for her next race at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals, June 26-29, at Route 66 Raceway in Chicago.

Enders-Stevens Hopes to Carry Consistency into Epping Eliminations

Erica Enders-Stevens New England Dragway

EPPING, NH — Erica Enders-Stevens was a model of consistency in four rounds of Pro Stock qualifying at the Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway.

“Yesterday was a really good day,” Enders-Stevens said. “The weather was conducive to some really fast runs. My team continues to give me a consistent race car, and we went 6.48 yesterday and were No. 2 again by two-thousandths, which was fine. I think that’s our seventh No. 2 of the year.”

Enders-Stevens’ quickest pass was a 6.489 at 213.98 mph, only four-thousandths of a second off Shane Gray’s 6.485. She’ll head into eliminations seeded No. 2 and will face Larry Morgan in the first round.

“I’m excited about tomorrow,” Enders-Stevens said. “I think today the weather conditions were a little worse, but we were testing some new stuff, so still, even though we were testing we laid down two really nice clean runs and just were getting ready for Sunday.”

Enders-Stevens currently leads the Pro Stock standings with three wins on the season, including one at Bristol Dragway last weekend.

“Expectations are high, as they always are,” Enders-Stevens said. “Momentum is huge in this game, and coming off of a win in Bristol we’re just hoping to carry the momentum. As long as we stay consistent tomorrow, it’s going to be warmer and the track will tend to get a little trickier as it gets hotter, but I’ve got two of the best crew chiefs in the world and we’ll do our best and let God do the rest.”

Eliminations will start at noon, with tape-delay action of the first two rounds broadcast at 1 p.m. on Sunday and live coverage of the semifinals and finals at around 4 p.m. on ESPN.

Enders-Stevens, Elite Motorsports Team on a Roll Heading to Epping

Erica Enders-Stevens, Rick and Rickie Jones in Bristol

EPPING, NH — Fresh off a victory at Bristol Dragway, Pro Stock points leader Erica Enders-Stevens and her Elite Motorsports team will tackle New England Dragway for the first time during this weekend’s Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals.

The inaugural race in Epping was held last year, but neither Enders-Stevens nor the Elite team raced that weekend.

“I’m looking forward to going to Epping,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’ve never been there before because that was one of the races last year we didn’t have any sponsorship. I’ve heard it was cool and the fans were great.

“We’ll try to carry the momentum from Bristol to there and see how it goes.”

The win in Bristol was her third of the season, and it increased her points lead in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock class to 155. The team owned by Richard Freeman, with crew chiefs Rick and Rickie Jones, has been fast at every track this season, so not racing last year in Epping is not a concern to Enders-Stevens.

“We don’t have any data there, but there’s not a racetrack anywhere that my crew chiefs can’t handle,” Enders-Stevens said. “They do a really good job with this race car, and I’m not worried about it at all. We’ll be fine. We’ll take it round by round and day by day.”

The Epping race is the second in a four-week stretch that can tax even the most well-prepared teams. Following Bristol and Epping, NHRA racers will compete in Chicago and Norwalk before getting a week off, then the three-race Western Swing begins.

“We’ve really prepared well for this stretch,” Enders-Stevens said. “The team has really worked hard and put in a lot of time at the shop. I like racing multiple races like this because you’re in the seat every weekend and you get more and more comfortable. I feel like I’m more on top of my job.

“Plus, we’ve got a fast hot rod right now, so my confidence as a driver is high and the morale of the team is terrific.”

Qualifying begins Friday with sessions at 4:15 and 6:45 p.m. Eastern. The final two qualifying sessions will take place at 12:15 and 2:45 p.m. Saturday. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday. ESPN2 will have one hour of qualifying coverage at 7 p.m., Saturday, and a two-hour eliminations show at 2 p.m., Sunday.

Enders-Stevens Captures Elusive Bristol Pro Stock Victory

Erica Enders-Stevens wins in Bristol

BRISTOL, TN — After leaving the final round of eliminations at Bristol Dragway three of the last four years winless, Elite Motorsports Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens sealed the deal Sunday by scoring her third win of the season at the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.

Capturing the ninth win of her career wasn’t an easy feat, going up against two Pro Stock champions in final eliminations. With a round-one victory over Larry Morgan, followed by red-lights from both Greg Anderson and Jeg Coughlin Jr., Enders-Stevens found herself paired up against Jonathan Gray in the final, but when Gray got a bad start off the line, Enders-Stevens motored her Chevy Camaro to the win with a 6.698-second pass at 207.15 mph.

“Bristol has always been really good to me,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’ve been to three finals in the last four years here and hadn’t been able to get it done until today. As a driver, sometimes you’d rather be lucky than good, and today was one of those days for us. Jeg should have beat us on paper. Fortunately for us, he went red and we were able to move on to the final.

“I’m really excited about the win but it’s definitely my team’s trophy. They’re the ones that gave me the race car that went A to B when it mattered. We were consistent and performed like a team and I couldn’t be more proud of them. I’ve struggled the last month, but it means a lot to me that they’re so encouraging and never waiver.”

Through it all, Enders-Stevens knew she had continual support this weekend, especially from a special passenger riding alongside her Sunday. An unexpected loss this week of Nicole Stevens, a close relative of Enders-Stevens’ husband, may have put a toll on emotions but Enders-Stevens was able to bring home the win in her honor.

“It’s a very sad situation that shouldn’t have happened the way it did,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’m just going to continue to have faith because God has a bigger plan and he needed her in heaven for some reason. I know she was probably riding along with me today. I’m just glad we were able to get it done this weekend after the week that we have had. Winning on Father’s Day is just an added bonus.”

To top it all off, with her win in Bristol Enders-Stevens has extended her championship points lead once again, but this time over Coughlin, who assumed the second spot from his teammate Allen Johnson.

“It’s pretty cool even though it’s unchartered territory for me,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’ve never been in this position, so it’s going to be something that I’m going to have to learn how to handle, but with a team like I’ve got I know we’re going to be just fine.”

Enders-Stevens will look to make it two wins in a row when the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series makes its next stop for the Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals, June 19-22, at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.

Rising to the Occasion, Enders-Stevens is Poised for Success in Bristol

Erica Enders-Stevens qualifies 3rd at Bristol

BRISTOL, TN — After a slow start to the weekend, Pro Stock points leader Erica Enders-Stevens turned things around in Bristol with a quick lap during qualifying for the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

Following issues in Q1 and Q3 and a decent run in Q2, the Elite Motorsports driver laid down her best time, a 6.631 at 208.17 mph, when it mattered most in Q4.

Enders-Stevens secured the No. 3 qualifying spot, and her Chevy Camaro will pull up to the starting line in round one Sunday to face off against No. 14 qualifier Larry Morgan’s Ford Mustang.

“It certainly wasn’t the start to the weekend that we were looking for, but we were able to lay down a nice, clean run in that last session,” Enders-Stevens said. “We still had some left in it, so that’s encouraging for tomorrow. We did it in the heat of the day with the hottest track temperature all weekend (133 degrees), so it was a pretty nice run.

“I’m proud of my team,” Enders-Stevens said. “I feel really blessed to have such a good group behind me who are always encouraging. It means a lot.”

Even though qualifying didn’t go exactly how Enders-Stevens anticipated, she is confident about her chances tomorrow. Racing at one of her favorite tracks and with a team that is clearly on a hot streak, she will be a favorite before the day is over.

“I do love it here,” Enders-Stevens said. “It always seems that on weekends when we initially struggle, it tends to be a longer race day. I’m hopeful that’s the case tomorrow, but we’ve got a long, hot day cut out for us. There is some stiff competition, but the cream rises to the top, and I’ve got all the faith in the world in my team and in (crew chiefs) Rick and Rickie Jones.

“I know they’ll put a good race car underneath me tomorrow, and it’s going to be up to me. I’m ready.”

Enders-Stevens will look to take home her third NHRA Pro Stock win of the season when final eliminations take place at 1 p.m. Sunday, which will be broadcast later in the day on ESPN2.

Points leader Enders-Stevens Hopes to Keep ‘Dream Season’ Going in Bristol

Erica Enders-Stevens Englishtown Elite Motorsports

BRISTOL, TN — The 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series has been a “dream season” for Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders-Stevens, and she intends to keep the dream going during this weekend’s Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

Enders-Stevens leads the points standings by 123 points in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock class with two national event victories and a win in the K&N Horsepower Challenge.

At the most recent race in Englishtown, N.J., Enders-Stevens set the national record in elapsed time (6.464 seconds) and speed (215.55 mph).

“Hopefully, we can hold it for a while,” Enders-Stevens said. “Now that it’s the summer months, I don’t think there will be mine-shaft conditions, at least not until Reading. That’s usually the next race where records are broken.

“It meant a lot to us. I know it meant a lot to my team because speed equals horsepower in Pro Stock, and it just goes to show how strong our engine program is. I know Richard Freeman, Nick Ferri, and Jake Hairston are all very proud of it, along with the rest of my team. It’s just another accomplishment in what has been a dream season so far.”

And now she heads to Bristol, one of her favorite NHRA venues.

“Bristol is probably one of my top-three favorite tracks on the tour,” Enders-Stevens said. “I really enjoy going there, and it’s an awesome facility. It’s the South, and the people are all so kind.”

Plus, Enders-Stevens has reached the final round in two of the last three Bristol races, including the 2011 event when she returned to Pro Stock full time after five years.

“That was our first final-round appearance together,” Enders-Stevens said. “Since then I’ve been to one more final there. I haven’t won Bristol, but we’ve been runner-up a couple times. I’m looking forward to going back and going one extra round.”

Enders-Stevens has been busy since Englishtown, traveling to the Chevrolet Performance shop in Detroit with team owner Freeman to take delivery of a COPO Camaro.

“We got to take a tour of the factory and see every step of the production of the COPO Camaro,” Enders-Stevens said. “They only produce 69 cars per year, so it’s very special and it’s an elite group of people who have a COPO car.

“When we got to the end of the line and pulled the car cover off our Camaro, it was an exciting moment for all of us. I had no idea until that day that I was going to be a part of that program with Richard, and he asked that my name be put on the certificate of authenticity alongside his. That was a surreal moment and really exciting for me. I don’t show excitement very much, but that was a pretty amazing moment.”

Freeman made sure Enders-Stevens got behind the wheel with a Chevrolet official, and she drove it around the block before doing some burnouts in the parking lot. The future plan is for her to drive the car at some NHRA races later this season.

After Detroit, Enders-Stevens went to the Elite shop in Oklahoma before heading home for some time before a four-week stretch of races begins with Bristol.

Four rounds of Pro Stock qualifying will feature sessions at 5 and 7:30 p.m., Friday, and 12:30 and 3 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations are slated to start at 1 p.m., Sunday. Both qualifying and elimination action will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Enders-Stevens Officially the Quickest and Fastest of NHRA’s Pro Stock Class

Erica Enders-Stevens Englishtown, New Jersey

ENGLISHTOWN — One day after resetting the national speed record to a blazing-fast 215.55 mph, Pro Stock championship points leader Erica Enders-Stevens added the more valuable elapsed time record to her résumé with a stunning pass of 6.464 seconds Sunday morning at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

While both marks are coveted, the e.t. record helps in the Mello Yello standings because it is worth an additional 20 points, helping the young racer from Houston easily remain on top of the factory hot rod class despite a quarterfinal exit from the 45th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals.

“The cruel part of drag racing is you set both ends of the national record, so you know you have the baddest hot rod on the planet, but you still have to win rounds to win races and the driver didn’t get it done today,” Enders-Stevens said. “I feel terrible for my guys for losing the race but I couldn’t be more proud of them for getting this car into the record books. No matter what, no one can take this weekend and the records we set away from us. Those marks will be beaten one day, but for now we are on top.”

Enders-Stevens used her record pass to dispatch first-round opponent Val Smeland, who encountered traction issues and aborted his run, drifting to an 8.972 at 107.66 mph. That set up a quarterfinal date with her former crew chief, Dave Connolly, who gained enough of an advantage at the starting line, .033 to .064, to hold off Enders-Stevens’ quicker 6.509 at 214.66 mph with a slower but winning 6.539 at 213.91 mph.

“I knew we had Dave covered as far as e.t. goes, but he got me on the Tree today and that was it,” Enders-Stevens said. “My guys were great and they immediately told me we win as a team and lose as a team and reminded me I’ve won a few on holeshots myself, but I still feel lousy.

“I’ll get over it. The main thing is we increased our points lead and the Elite Motorsports Camaro is the undisputed king of the hill for now and that feels great. I feel so honored to be driving this car and working with this team. I’m a happy girl inside.”

After racing three consecutive weekends, Enders-Stevens and her privately-funded race team will now have a chance to regroup before the 14th annual Ford Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals, which takes place June 13-15 in Bristol, Tenn.

From No. 2 for No. 100? Enders-Stevens: ‘Yes, please’

ees-kan

TOPEKA — Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders-Stevens missed her second consecutive No. 1 qualifier by a mere .006-second at this weekend’s NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.

Though Enders-Stevens would have joined fellow female drivers Brittany and Courtney Force as pole-winners in Topeka, ending up No. 2 is just fine for her

“I love it,” Enders-Stevens said. “Before last weekend in Atlanta, we had qualified No. 2 four times and we’ve done well each time. Being a racer, you’re naturally slightly superstitious. To get back to the No. 2 spot, it’s good for us. You can win from anywhere.”

The last three times Enders-Stevens has qualified No. 2, she ended up in the final round. In Houston two races ago, she qualified second and won the race. She’d love nothing more than to repeat that feat this weekend, especially since it would also be the 100th national event victory by a woman.

“No. 2 for No. 100 — yes, please,” Enders-Stevens said.

She leads the Pro Stock points standings thanks to two victories and two other final-round appearances in seven races to date.

Enders-Stevens’ best run in qualifying was 6.606 seconds at 208.68 mph (run in Saturday’s first session), though she duplicated that elapsed time in the final session with a speed of 207.98 mph. Both Saturday runs were low of the round, and they followed her Q1 e.t. of 6.611 seconds at 208.81 mph.

“We’ve got a consistent race car again,” Enders-Stevens said. “Tomorrow is going to be about going A to B and not losing sight of our goals. I hope it’ll be a long day.”

The weekend has been long for Enders-Stevens and her Elite team, as rain canceled the second session Friday and delayed Saturday’s activities.

“I’m just proud of my team,” Enders-Stevens said. “They’ve worked really hard this weekend. These rain weekends really stink because it’s hard to go from down to up, from sitting around to rushing and whatever else. They’ve done a great job.

“We had a 15-minute turnaround between today’s two runs, so we were hustling, We were down two guys this weekend, and for as much adversity as we’re facing, we’re doing well and I’m proud of my team.”

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