Archive for the Elite Motorsports Category

Enders-Stevens extends Pro Stock points lead after stellar Atlanta race

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ATLANTA — The determination of Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders-Stevens has elevated her to the top level of Pro Stock and doesn’t allow her to believe clichés, so when her team members told her after she lost in the second round of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals on Sunday at Atlanta Dragway that “you can’t win them all,” she shook her head.

“Why not?” she asked.

Enders-Stevens has won two of seven Pro Stock races in 2014, adding the K&N Horsepower Challenge to that haul. She’s the points leader in the ultra-competitive class, too, and is determined to stay there.

“If there’s any good news, it’s that we get to go racing again in four days,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’ll go back to the shop and then head to Topeka (Kansas). We’ll be fine.”

Enders-Stevens fell in the second round to eventual race winner Jeg Coughlin Jr. despite having a better elapsed time. Her pass was the best of the round for the sixth time during the weekend, but Coughlin’s starting-line advantage gave him the close victory. Enders-Stevens’ run was 6.533 at 209.52 mph, falling to Coughlin’s 6.551 at 211.30 mph.

“Just one of those days,” she said. “I’m human and I do mess up. I knew as soon as I let the clutch out I was in trouble. I know we have big top-end smoke, and when I put in fifth gear I closed on him but not much.”

She got to the second round with a stellar first-round win over John Gaydosh. Enders-Stevens left first and pulled away to a pass of 6.526 seconds at 212.96 mph, easily beating Gaydosh’s 6.786 at 205.13 mph.

Enders-Stevens came into the race as the No. 1 qualifier, having been atop the chart in all four qualifying sessions. She then was low of the round in both runs Monday, proving Elite Motorsports has not lost a step.

Enders-Stevens and her team remain positive as Atlanta starts a stretch of three consecutive races, with the race in Heartland Park Topeka beginning Friday.

“They’re just so positive all the time,” she said. “I apologized. Nothing is worse than for it to be your fault for the loss for the team, but they’re very positive. (Team owner) Richard (Freeman) is joking around and laughing and saying, ‘Hey, you can’t win every one these.’

“Everybody’s spirits are up, and we’ll be ready to go in Topeka, no doubt.”

The advancement to the second round, coupled with her stellar qualifying effort, helped push Enders-Stevens’ points lead to 110 over second-place Jason Line.

Enders-Stevens Top Qualifier in Atlanta, Sets Track Record

ATLANTA, GA – Erica Enders-Stevens helped Elite Motorsports snare its first No. 1 qualifier in Pro Stock by taking the pole for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals on Saturday at Atlanta Dragway.

Enders-Stevens capped a stellar qualifying performance by posting the quickest elapsed times in each of the four sessions, topped by a run of 6.493 seconds at 212.69 mph in Q4–setting the new track ET record in the process.

It earned the Pro Stock points leader her seventh career No. 1 and first of 2014.

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“It’s a true testament to how hard my guys work and what perfectionists they are,” Enders-Stevens said. “We go back after every run and analyze the data and do our best to make the most perfect run at that point in time. Hats off to Rick and Rickie Jones, my crew chiefs, and my entire team. They worked their butts off for me, and I’m really proud of them.”

“They’ve not had a No. 1 qualifying position before, and I’ve not had very many, so it means a great deal to us.”

Enders-Stevens earned the provisional pole on Friday with a 6.506-second pass at 202.91 mph, but Dave Connolly jumped to the top of the board with a 6.496-second pass in Q3.

Enders-Stevens, though, wasn’t worried even after a rain delay during the session forced her to run in slower conditions later Saturday.

“I’m very confident in our performance capabilities and our team,” Enders-Stevens said. “When he went that .49, it proved how good the air was. I was pretty ticked off when it started raining and they sent us back to the trailer. When we came back out, the air was certainly worse, about a hundredth, hundredth and a half worse.

“We were able to come around him by a thousandth and get the pole back, and then improve again in the fourth session.”

Not only was Enders-Stevens quickest in each session, earning her 12 additional qualifying points, but she improved each pass, too.

“Every run, we’re getting better,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’re improving by thousandths, and Pro Stock is a game of thousandths, so I’m very proud of my team.”

Enders-Stevens squares off against No. 16 qualifier John Gaydosh in the first round of eliminations as she seeks her third victory of the season and second in a row.

Plus, she has a chance to earn the 100th national-event victory for a female in NHRA.

Gaydosh’s best qualifying pass was 9.358 seconds at 100 mph, while Enders-Stevens’ four runs were 6.528 seconds or better and all were within .035 seconds of each other.

“That’s what we need tomorrow, consistency,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’ve got to go A to B. The weather looks a little bit iffy, but NHRA did a great job prepping the track today after that rain, and it was safe and smooth for us.Tomorrow, hopefully, will be a good, long day. We’ll be gunning for it.”

TheBLOCK.com: One on One with NHRA Drag Racing Superstar Erica Enders-Stevens

Erica Enders-Stevens zMAX Dragway | The BLOCK

Chevrolet Performance’s The BLOCK recently caught up with Erica during the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at Charlotte’s zMAX Dragway.

Check out Part One of their interview at TheBLOCK.com:

One on One with NHRA Drag Racing Superstar Erica Enders-Stevens | The BLOCK

Racing In Red Episode 3: Las Vegas (Part 2)

Racing in Red Episode 3 Las Vegas Part 2

The latest episode of Racing in Red is here. Its Part 2 of Erica and Elite Motorsports’ double-up Vegas weekend:

Check out all the episodes at RacinginRed.com

Erica Enders-Stevens Captures Hometown Pro Stock Win in Houston

Erica Enders-Stevens Houston Winner Circle

BAYTOWN, TX — Ten years after her first national event win as a sportsman in Super Gas, Erica Enders-Stevens returned to the winner’s circle at Royal Purple Raceway Sunday for her first Pro Stock win at her home track.

The number two qualified Enders-Stevens faced number one qualifier and friend Allen Johnson in a rematch of this season’s Gainesville final during the 27th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals outside of Houston, Texas.

“I had to get him back for Gainesville,” said Enders-Stevens. “Allen and I and [Allen’s wife] Pam had breakfast on Friday morning for Pam’s birthday. We talked about how cool it would be to qualify 1-2 and go to the finals and we did just that with the Good Lord’s blessing. Doing it on a holeshot makes it that much sweeter. He got me on a holeshot in Gainesville.”

Erica’s Elite Motorsports Camaro shot out of the gate early in qualifiying, going to the top of the field during the opening session, but missing out on the number one spot late Friday when Allen Johnson posted a best 6.555 to her overall best 6.562.

However, Erica’s Elite Motorsports Camaro continued to run to the top with two more passes Saturday in the 6.56’s (6.562 and 6.568) that would have her as the fastest car for three of the four qualifying sessions. That consistency would be crucial for Sunday’s race in front of a hometown crowd, family, friends and sponsors.

During first round of eliminations against Matt Hartford, Erica came out swinging, cutting a sharp .006 second reaction time and running the lowest ET of the round with a 6.578 at 211.26 mph.

Her next two rounds meant defeating multi-time champions Jason Line and Jeg Coughlin Jr. to make it to the finals. With lane choice in her favor, she swiftly moved through Line with a 6.577 second pass to his 6.639, then advanced over Jeg after he fouled out with a -.004 red light. Erica’s semifinal ET of 6.584 was just one-thousandth quicker than Johnson’s 6.585, giving her lane choice for the finals.

With the threat rain showers looming, the event’s paced sped up and teams rushed to get cars prepped and to the staging lanes. There was a moment of tension when officials motioned to start and Johnson made his way to the right lane while Erica and her team scrambled under the tower.

“We were thrashing,” Enders-Stevens said. “We had to make a last minute transmission change and go through the gears and make sure everything was right. We got up here and A.J. already was in his car buckled up and I had not even had my firesuit pulled up yet. I was getting in, my clutch can was still open, my hood scoop was still in, I was still hooked up to the golf cart, and you want to talk about pressure and craziness. It was very intense. I was pulling up into the water box and A.J. had already done his burnout and backed up. Fortunately enough I was able to focus and get done what we needed to get done. I thanked Allen down at the top end for waiting as long as he could because he didn’t have to. My guys once again gave me a really great Chevy Camaro to drive to the winners circle.”

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Her focus would be key as Erica beat Allen on a holeshot. Her .018 reaction time and 6.594 at 210.60 mph elapsed time was enough to hold of Johnson’s .044 reaction and 6.588 at 210.28 mph pass to capture her 8th career victory.

“I have never won Indy, so I don’t know what that feels like and I have never won the Championship, but this one rates right up there,” Enders-Stevens said. “This one is as important to me as Indy probably is to all the other drivers.”

The importance was obvious by the number of people gathered in the winner’s circle. Family, including her sister, Courtney, and their father, Gregg, as well as husband Richie Stevens and his family were all in attendance. Close friends from childhood and from years spent at the racetrack, as well as those of the Elite Motorsports crew and sponsors joined in and huddled together for photos.

New sponsors Mark Stockseth, Lloyd and Linda Wofford of Engines, Inc. and Steven and Kim Bruno of United Mechanical all saw their first race of the season result in a Wally, and sponsor Royal Purple celebrated a win at the track that bears their name, adding to the festivities and capping off a successful weekend.

Erica is looking to keep the success coming, thanks to an Elite Motorsports team that continues to deliver a dominant car capable of the speed and consistency necessary to hold on to the points lead and win.

“My team’s been really awesome,” said Enders-Stevens. “I’ve had a really consistent race car. That’s what it takes Sundays, consistency. The ball’s in our court. We’ve got to carry the momentum. That’s important in this game, and I know I keep saying that, but it’s huge, and we’re going to keep carrying it as long as we can. Pro Stock really goes in cycles, so I’m really hoping this is our cycle, and we’re going to keep fighting for it.”

They’ll put that consistency to the test when the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads to Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, GA for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals May 16th-18th.

Pro Stock Leader Enders-Stevens Sets Sights on Houston Hometown Victory

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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.

Tire Shake Cuts Short Pro Stock Four-Wide Final for Enders-Stevens

Erica Enders-Stevens 4-Wide Nationals

CONCORD, NC — In her 4th straight final round appearance, Pro Stock’s Erica Enders-Stevens shook the tires and was forced to cut short her chance at back-to-back Wally trophies during the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.

The current points leader and her Elite Motorsports Camaro have now appeared in three straight national event final rounds (Gainesville, Las Vegas and Charlotte), as well as the finals during Vegas’ K&N Horsepower Challenge. She won both races in Vegas, and had hoped to go “back-to-back-to-back” with a win in Charlotte. Sunday’s race was also her 3rd Four-Wide Nationals final round appearance in a row.

“Winning would have been incredible, just unreal,” said Enders-Stevens. “My guys have us on a hot streak, and even though we didn’t get the win today, we still put up great numbers, went rounds and continue to hold on to the points lead. I’m bummed we couldn’t make it happen today, but I’m thrilled at what we’re accomplishing together.”

Going into Sunday, Erica had qualified in the number two spot with a pass of 6.524 at 213.13 mph. She was just 0.001 second off the pole and posted the fastest mph of the entire weekend for the Pro Stock class.

During the first two rounds of the unique four-car configuration, where the top two cars advance, Erica reached the finish line first each time, and with the quickest ET. However in her final round, she was forced to push the clutch in and end her run early after the car shook.

“We’ve been blessed to have a consistent race car and a setup that rarely gets away from us,” noted Enders-Stevens. “It bit us this time, but better it was the final than the first round. Now we’ll look forward to getting it done in Houston in front of my hometown crowd!”

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads to Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas (outside of Houston) April 25th – 27th.

Pro Stock’s Enders-Stevens Brings Winning Momentum to Four-Wide

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CONCORD, NC — Pro Stock points leader Erica Enders-Stevens arrives at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals gunning for the Wally that has narrowly escaped her grasp the past two years.

If her last race is any indication, the third time could be the charm.

Hot off a $100,000 weekend in Vegas where she doubled-up to win both the K&N Horsepower Challenge and the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, Erica and her Elite Motorsports crew are looking for their first Four-Wide win and back-to-back Wally’s.

“We’ve got a great team, and they’ve given me a great hot rod,” said Enders-Stevens. “It’s exciting to be in the points lead for the first time ever, and we’re going to carry that momentum right into this weekend.”

The Four-Wide Nationals, however, is not without its quirks.

The unique once-a-year race pits four drivers against each other during every round, creating headaches for some and heartache for others. With three other cars to race, staging troubles and red lights can plague a driver not prepared for the added pressure. It’s the only race of its kind, and as such, even veteran racers must readjust to the format each year.

“Consistency is such a huge factor in drag racing, so when you have a race that changes things up, it demands an even greater focus and situational awareness than what we’re normally used to,” said Enders-Stevens. “It tests us as drivers, and sometimes you’ll see it get the better of someone right when it matters most.”

Erica has stepped up to the challenge in past years with runner-up finishes in both 2012 and 2013.

“I was runner up last year in the K&N Challenge and the Vegas race, and we saw what happened there,” noted Enders-Stevens. “Maybe we’ll be able to start a trend and do the same here.”

Pro Stock qualifying for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway gets underway at 1:15 p.m. (ET) and 4:15 p.m. (ET) Friday and Saturday, with Sunday eliminations beginning at 11:00 p.m. ESPN2 will carry both qualifying and elimination post-race broadcasts.

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