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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.

Enders-Stevens Focused on Translating Performance into Victory at Gainesville

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GAINESVILLE, FL — Starting of the season with one of the quickest Pro Stock cars in the field, Erica Enders-Stevens and Elite Motorsports are gunning to take their Chevy Camaro to victory at the Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals.

The Oklahoma-based team has posted strong qualifying performances during the opening two races of the 2014 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, but have yet to find their way to the winner’s circle.

“We had one of the fastest cars in Phoenix,” said Enders-Stevens. “We have a team that’s capable of winning races and we need to capitalize on that this weekend.”

During the previous event in Phoenix, Erica captured the number two qualifying position, just one thousandth of a second off of the pole sitter. She also posted the lowest ET during two of the qualifying sessions.

“I’m really excited with how the team has come together. We keep improving and we know good things will come if we stay focused,” said Erica. “Gainesville is one of my favorite races on the tour, so I really want to come out here and make things happen.”

Pro Stock qualifying at the NHRA Amalie Oil Gatornationals gets underway Friday and Saturday at 12:00 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. (EST), with Sunday eliminations kick off at 11:00 a.m. (EST).

Second Round Upset Cuts Short Phoenix Title Defense for Enders-Stevens

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PHOENIX — Defending Pro Stock event champion Erica Enders-Stevens and her Elite Motorsports team arrived in Phoenix with hopes of backing up her 2013 win during the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

As the number two qualifier, with one of the hottest cars on the track, conditions were shaping up for it to become a reality.

However, a tough launch would put an early end to those hopes on race day.

The Elite Motorsports Camaro had posted spectacular ETs during qualifying, placing Erica just .001 behind number the number one spot with a 6.531 @ 211.66 mph.

“The car was running fantastic,” said Enders-Stevens. “We are all really happy with how the program is progressing. It just keeps getting better.”

During their first round matchup Sunday against Matt Hartford, Erica backed up her best qualifying run with a 6.531 @ 212.09 mph. That pass would go on to be the fastest of the day.

Yet during the Round 2 match-up against her former crew chief, Dave Connolly, the car made an abrupt move to the right during the launch, costing precious time to recover.

“I worked it back into the groove, but by that time it was too late,” said Enders-Stevens. “We had the performance, but unfortunately it wasn’t our day.”

Allen Johnson would go on to defeat Connolly and then V. Gaines to bring home the Wally.

Erica and Elite Motorsports head to Gainesville in three weeks for the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals March 14th – 16th.

Defending Phoenix Pro Stock Victory Would be Icing on the Cake for Enders-Stevens, Elite Motorsports

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PHOENIX, AZ — Erica Enders-Stevens and the Elite Motorsports team has re-grouped after the season-opener at Pomona and is prepared to defend her 2013 Phoenix victory at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Phoenix’s Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

“From both a driver and performance standpoint, we’re going to show up locked and loaded,” said Erica. “We had some fresh hardware shipped down from the shop in Oklahoma and we’ll be ready.”

Phoenix holds special meaning for Erica that goes beyond the track. Her father’s family hails from area, and her older brother’s family calls neighboring Scottsdale home.

“It’s like a mini-reunion at the track each year,” said Erica. “It means a lot to have them here, to see my nieces, and to share what we do with them. Last year we got to take pictures together in the winner’s circle, and it made the win even more special.”

A win Sunday will also hold special meaning for Elite Motorsports owner, Richard Freeman, who will be celebrating his birthday on race day.

“We want to win it for him and my ‘hometown’ crowd,” said Erica.

Friday and Saturday qualifying sessions for the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals take place at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. (MST), with Sunday eliminations kicking off at 11:00 a.m. Fans can watch live via ESPN3, or catch the condensed qualifying and elimination broadcasts on ESPN2.

Winternationals Performance Shows Promise for Enders-Stevens and Elite Motorsports

Enders-Stevens crossing finish line at Pomona 2014

POMONA, CA — During the opening race of the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, Erica Enders-Stevens and Elite Motorsports proved their Chevy Camaro will be a threat this year among the Pro Stock ranks.

After a shaky Friday afternoon of qualifying that included an aborted run, the team rallied back Saturday to qualify 5th during the Circle K NHRA Winternationals from Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

“We were a little rocky at the get-go,” said Erica. “But by Saturday we were jamming and it felt good to put up a number we knew we were capable of. I’m very happy with the car and how the team has come together. We’re having a blast.”

The strong performance continued when the Elite Motorsports Camaro posted the third fastest pass during the opening round of Sunday eliminations.

Erica drove to a 6.540 at 212.13 mph to advance over Deric Kramer’s 6.554 at 210.37 in Round 1. However it was her quarterfinal match-up against V. Gaines that would put a close to the weekend.

In spite of a solid 6.544 second pass at 211.66 mph, Erica came up short against Gaines’ quicker 6.527 at 212.29 mph.

Gaines would eventually knock out number one qualifier Vincent Nobile before falling to event winner Jason Line in the final round.

“Hats off to V.,” said Erica. “He’s one of the other single car teams out here keeping us all on notice. He had the ET, out-drove us to the stripe, and got us that time, but we’ll be back in Phoenix.”

Erica and Elite Motorsports head to Phoenix in two weeks to the refreshed and renamed Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, where last year Erica took home her 5th Pro Stock Wally in a holeshot victory over Mike Edwards.

With Enders-Stevens Behind the Wheel, Elite Motorsports is Primed to Defend Pomona Pro Stock Win

Erica Enders-Stevens in new Sparco Elite Motorsports fire suit

POMONA, CA — Erica Enders-Stevens and the Elite Motorsports team are set to defend last fall’s Pro Stock victory at Pomona’s Auto Club Raceway when they kick off the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals.

Erica joins Elite Motorsports, operated by Richard Freeman, along with the father-son crew chief duo of Rick and Rickie Jones, to usher in a new era for a young team that has experienced rising success in the hyper-competitive Pro Stock class.

“We spent the first half of the week testing alongside the other Pro Stock teams in Phoenix,” said Erica. “Everything has really settled in well, and it was great to spend that time as a team, learning from each other and going through the process of setting up the car and making passes. We’re confident about how things are shaping up heading into the season together.”

Elite Motorsports marks its return to Pomona after finishing last season with a trip to the winner’s circle during the NHRA Auto Club Finals. It was the first national event win for the team and it’s blazing red Camaro, including the first Pro Stock win for its driver, Rickie Jones.

It also made it back-to-back wins for Elite Motorsports’ engine program, led by Nick Ferri and Jake Hairston, having powered Shane Gray’s Camaro to victory in Las Vegas just two weeks earlier.

“Closing out the season like that was a huge boost for us. A lot of hard work and late hours went into getting us there,” said Richard Freeman. “It has definitely given us confidence we’re moving in the right direction, and if we keep putting in the work, we’ll do even better in 2014.”

“I’m blessed to have this opportunity with Richard and to be surrounded by a great group of guys,” said Erica. “I’m really looking forward to the season ahead and what we’ll be able to accomplish as a team.”

Qualifying sessions for the Circle K NHRA Winternationals takes place Friday and Saturday at 12:30 and 3:30 pm each day, with ESPN2’s qualifying broadcast airing from 8-10:00 pm Pacific Time Saturday night.

Sunday’s final eliminations begins at 11:00 am, with broadcast coverage on ESPN at 5-8:00 pm Pacific Time.

Video: Erica Makes Test Pass in Elite Motorsports Pro Stock Camaro

In-car GoPro footage from day 2 of pre-season Pro Stock testing from Wild Horse Motorsports Park in Phoenix:

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