Archive for the Press Release Category

Enders-Stevens focused on a repeat victory in St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS (Sept. 28) – Husky Liners driver Erica Enders-Stevens hopes history repeats itself at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals on Sunday at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Last year Enders-Stevens and her Cagnazzi Racing team left with the Wally after winning here for what was their fourth victory of the season. She qualified No. 4 last year, and she’s in the same position in 2013.

“We’re right there,” Enders-Stevens said. “We got five baby points in qualifying, we’re certainly consistent, and my guys are doing a great job. I’m excited about what tomorrow holds.

“We’ve got a title to defend and a great car to do it with. We’ll see how eliminations go.”

Enders-Stevens earned the No. 4 spot with a pass of 6.528 seconds at 211.26 mph, run in Friday’s second qualifying session, when weather and track conditions were at their best. But she also made three other passes within .048-second of her best run, indicating she has a consistent Husky Liners Camaro. That bodes well for Sunday, when consistency is key.

“Consistency is always crucial on race day,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’m very pleased with our performance, and I’m confident about tomorrow. I’ve been driving well this weekend, and I’m really hopefully of bringing home another Wally from St. Louis.”

Enders-Stevens lines up against Deric Kramer in the first round Sunday. Kramer qualified No. 13 with a lap of 6.603 seconds at 209.30 mph, but Enders-Stevens and her team won’t take him lightly.

“He’s got good power,” Enders-Stevens said. “There are never any easy ones in Pro Stock. We’ve got to make another good, consistent run, and one good enough to get lane choice for the next round, providing we win first round.”

Enders-Stevens earned enough bonus points in qualifying to break out of a tie for sixth place in the standings. Gateway marks the third event of the six-race Countdown to the Championship, and Enders-Stevens finds herself 110 points out of the lead.

In addition to the points battle, she’s thinking about her husband Richie Stevens and her dad Gregg Enders, both of whom celebrated birthdays on Friday.

“It would be an added bonus to bring a Wally home for my dad and Richie’s birthday weekend,” Enders-Stevens said. “There’s no better birthday present for them than a Wally.”

Eliminations at Gateway Motorsports Park get under way at 11 a.m. CDT on Sunday. ESPN2 will air the eliminations show at 8:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday.

Defending champ Enders-Stevens looks for strong St. Louis showing

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ST. LOUIS (Sept. 24) – Husky Liners Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens will have a wider smile than usual this weekend because she’ll enter the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park as the defending event champion.

Enders-Stevens beat Shane Gray, Cagnazzi Racing teammate Dave Connolly, Jason Line, and Allen Johnson en route to her fourth victory of the season in 2012.

“I’m excited to go back to St. Louis,” Enders-Stevens said. “It’s always been one of my favorite tracks to go to, even before I started racing Pro Stock. I have a lot of great memories there, and the best one was last year when we won our fourth race of the season. That was just a really exciting day.”

NHRA returned to Gateway after a brief absence while the track changed ownership, and Enders-Stevens took full advantage. The final-round victory over good friend Johnson was special, too.

“We won the final against Allen on a holeshot,” Enders-Stevens said. “It’s crazy how I remember this stuff. We’re the defending champions there, so we go in with a lot of confidence and a positive attitude. I’m excited to go back.”

Enders-Stevens sits sixth in the standings after two of six Countdown to the Championship races. Though she knows there is plenty of time to make up the 118-point deficit to points leader Line, she also knows time can’t be wasted if she hopes to win the Pro Stock championship.

“It’s still within reach,” Enders-Stevens said. “We need to go rounds because the Countdown is almost half over.”

Enders-Stevens and her Cagnazzi Racing team’s assault on the Pro Stock standings begins with qualifying, where points are up for grabs in each of the four sessions. Three bonus points are awarded to the quickest car in each session, two to the second-quickest, and one to the third-quickest.

Points are also available for qualifying higher overall; Enders-Stevens earned eight points for her No. 1 in Dallas last weekend.

“Getting those baby points in every round of qualifying certainly adds up,” Enders-Stevens said. “There are 12 points up for grabs for low e.t. of every qualifying session. They’re important and we want to go after them, too.”

Qualifying for the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals gets under way at 2:45 p.m. CDT on Friday from Gateway Motorsports Park and continues at 11:45 a.m. on Saturday. Eliminations will be at 11 a.m. on Sunday. ESPN2 will air the eliminations show at 8:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday.

Enders-Stevens proud of Husky Liners team after solid showing in Dallas

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DALLAS (Sept. 22) – Erica Enders-Stevens and her Husky Liners team continue to move forward in the Pro Stock points standings and are now tied for sixth after a second-round finish at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals on Sunday at Texas Motorplex.

Enders-Stevens earned the No. 1 qualifier, beat Chris McGaha in the first round, and then left first on Vieri Gaines in the second round with a .008-second reaction time before Gaines nipped her at the finish line.

“I was really proud of my crew chiefs and my entire team for their performance in Dallas,” Enders-Stevens said of her Cagnazzi Racing team. “When you lose two sessions on Friday, it’s crucial to go out there and perform for the two qualifying runs you have left. We capitalized on it in the first round and were able to get the No. 1 qualifier.

“They’ve been consistently getting this race car down the track, and I’m proud of them. It gives me a lot of confidence as a driver knowing that I have a good car underneath me.”

Enders-Stevens’ driving was solid Sunday, as she left the starting line first against both opponents. Against McGaha, she had a .034 light and then made a pass of 6.573 seconds at 210.31 mph. That was enough to beat McGaha’s 6.641 at 208.78 mph.

“It was an OK run,” Enders-Stevens said. “I was OK on the Tree and the run was OK. We didn’t kill it, and there was certainly some left over in the car, but it was enough to win and that’s what matters. And it was enough to keep lane choice, too.”

Enders-Stevens chose the left lane against Gaines and was quicker out of the gate with a stellar .008 light. She made a pass of 6.604 seconds at 210.18 mph, but Gaines had a .010 light and made a slightly quicker lap of 6.596 seconds at 211.03 mph to take the win by .061-second.

“That was an important round for us because V. was really close to us in points,” Enders-Stevens said. “That would’ve been nice to spread the gap but it wasn’t our day. We did all that we could do and unfortunately came up short.”

Still, Enders-Stevens moved up one spot into a tie for sixth with Gaines, who lost in the semifinals after a .111 light.

“We’ll continue to plug away at it,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’ve got to start going more rounds if we want to win the championship. We know the task that is ahead of us and we’ll be all right.

“We’ve got a good car and it’s consistent. Plus, we’re getting down the racetrack, which is important in the Countdown. We’ve got to do our best every single time we pull up to the waterbox. We know that and I’m confident in my team. They’ve really been doing a great job and have figured this Chevy Camaro out.”

Up next for Enders-Stevens is the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals from Gateway Motorsports Park in St. Louis.

Enders-Stevens grabs No. 1 qualifier in her home state

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DALLAS (Sept. 21) – Husky Liners driver Erica Enders-Stevens cemented her reputation as one of the best in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock class over the last two seasons, and she has enhanced that status in her return to the Countdown to the Championship.

Enders-Stevens won the No. 1 qualifier at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals on Saturday at Texas Motorplex with a lap of 6.557 seconds at 210.93 mph in her Cagnazzi Racing Chevrolet Camaro.

“It’s certainly a great feeling, that’s for sure, especially to be home here in Texas,” said Enders-Stevens, a native of Houston. “It’s really important for our morale and team confidence. I’m really proud of the entire team and send a special thanks to Stevie Johns and Kevin Wideman back at the Cagnazzi Racing engine shop in Mooresville (N.C.). There will be a little bit more peace of mind going into Sunday, but we’ve certainly got our work cut out for us tomorrow.”

Enders-Stevens missed five of six races before the six-race playoffs, but Bob Tyler and Husky Liners joined the team as marketing partner, and Enders-Stevens and Cagnazzi have picked up where they left off.

Enders-Stevens reached the semifinals of the first race of the Countdown last week in Charlotte, and she followed that up with her first No.1 qualifier of the season and sixth of her career.

She’s eighth in the Pro Stock points standings but didn’t hesitate when asked if her team is a championship contender.

“We are, for sure,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’ve got the best guys in the business, and they’ve stood behind me from Day 1, as I have for them. We’re a great team and we work really well together. Chemistry is important in this sport, and we’re lucky to have a great group of guys who work well together. That’s a little bit of our edge, honestly. The team part is a very important aspect.”

Enders-Stevens squares off against Chris McGaha in the first round of eliminations on Sunday. McGaha qualified No. 16 with a pass of 6.654 seconds at 208.68 mph.

Missing time out of the Pro Stock car was not an “ideal situation, obviously,” Enders-Stevens said, but it has made her appreciate the chance Husky Liners has given her and her team.

“It was really tough to sit at home and watch,” Enders-Stevens said. “We missed out on testing and seat time for me as a driver, but to be back out here for Husky Liners is great.

“Honestly I just feel really blessed to have the opportunity be out here. It really gives you time to think when you’re at home watching instead of being out here competing, knowing you have a great team standing behind you. We’ve got great horsepower. We just needed the money, and Bob Tyler from Husky stepped up.”

Eliminations will begin at 11 a.m. CDT on Sunday. ESPN2 will air the eliminations show at 8:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday.

Enders-Stevens ready for big weekend in her native state

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DALLAS (Sept. 18) – Husky Liners Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens had a solid start to the Countdown to the Championship, but she’s looking for more at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals this weekend at Texas Motorplex.

Enders-Stevens reached the semifinals in Charlotte, showing that her Cagnazzi Racing team’s brief layoff did nothing to impede its competitive fire. She gained ground on all but three drivers in the Countdown and moved up to seventh in the Pro Stock standings.

“It’s the second race of the Countdown and is just as important as the other five,” Enders-Stevens said of the Dallas race. “I’m ready. My family and friends are going to be there, and it’ll be an exciting weekend all the way around.”

Enders-Stevens is a Texas native, having been born and raised in Houston. Though she currently lives in New Orleans with husband Richie Stevens, she considers Texas her home state and smiles a little wider when she gets to go home.

Plus, she’s looking for a little redemption from the Dallas race in 2012, when she lost in the final to good friend Allen Johnson.

“I’m a Texas girl through and through, and I’m excited to be going back to my home state to try to take back a win we let slip through our fingers last season,” Enders-Stevens said. “We runner-upped to Brutus (Johnson) in the final when we had an electrical issue and gave the race to him.”

That was with the team’s Chevrolet Cobalt, which has since been replaced by a bright-yellow Husky Liners Camaro that has captured the imagination of her many fans. Of course, Enders-Stevens likes her race car, too, and is hoping to get back to victory lane for the second time this season.

“We’ve certainly got a race car that’s capable of winning if we remain consistent,” Enders-Stevens said. “It’s just getting the car down the racetrack every time, and I hope to drive it to the winner’s circle from there.

“Yes I’m confident in my car and myself. I’m ready to go. I’m glad to be back in my home state.”

Qualifying for the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals gets under way at 2:15 p.m. CDT on Friday from Texas Motorplex and continues at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday. Eliminations will be at 11 a.m. on Sunday. ESPN News will broadcast the qualifying show at 11:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday and ESPN2 will air the eliminations show at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Enders-Stevens takes Husky Liners to semifinals in Charlotte

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CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 15) – Erica Enders-Stevens and her Husky Liners Pro Stock team made some gains at the Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals on Sunday at zMax Dragway.

Enders-Stevens moved up two spots in the Pro Stock points standings to seventh with a semifinal finish in the first race of the Countdown to the Championship, and she also gained ground on several drivers still in front of her in the points.

“We’ve always got to look at the positives,” Enders-Stevens said. “At this moment we’re the underdog, and we’ve got some fighting to do to get this car up to the performance level of the rest of the pack. Being back in the car and getting seat time is only going to make it better, and I know that.”

Sunday’s performance was truly a team effort, as Enders-Stevens and her Cagnazzi Racing team were both on top of their game. She overpowered one opponent and then won another round on a holeshot.

“Today was a good start to the Countdown,” Enders-Stevens said. “A semifinal finish is nothing to be ashamed of. There are a lot of guys who would have traded spots with us today.”

Enders-Stevens moved within 10 points of sixth place, and is 109 points – a little more than five rounds – behind leader Mike Edwards.

“I’m glad to have made up some ground on a couple of the guys ahead of me,” Enders-Stevens said. “The good news is in three days we go to Dallas. We’ll get another shot at it and we’ll keep fighting.”

Enders-Stevens kicked off her return to full-time Pro Stock competition with a win over Rodger Brogdon. Her pass was 6.578 seconds at 210.28 mph to defeat Brogdon’s 6.626 at 208.71 mph.

That matched her up against defending Pro Stock champion Allen Johnson, and though her good friend was quicker, Enders-Stevens scored the victory. The difference was her .029-second reaction time that gave her a .031-second advantage. That was enough to overcome Johnson’s pass of 6.567 seconds at 211.16 mph, which was slightly quicker than her run of 6.586 seconds at 209.36 mph.

“That was nice,” Enders-Stevens said. “I came back and had a meeting with Dave (Connolly, her crew chief alongside Tommy Utt) and went over some things with the car. I’m always up on the wheel, but that was an important round for our team. I love Brutus (Johnson) and he’s my best friend out here, but when the helmets go on, I’m ready to rip his throat out. That’s the mindset I took, and he left the door open for us.”

She then faced No. 1 qualifier Jason Line, who led the whole race with a run of 6.579 seconds at 210.73 mph, beating Enders-Stevens’ 6.597 at 210.05 mph.

Next up for Enders-Stevens and the Husky Liners team is the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals next weekend in Dallas.

Enders-Stevens bursts back on Pro Stock scene with No. 4 qualifying effort

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CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 14) – Husky Liners driver Erica Enders-Stevens hasn’t shown any rust in her return to Pro Stock racing, grabbing the No. 4 qualifying spot for the Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals on Saturday at zMax Dragway.

Enders-Stevens missed six of the last eight races because her Cagnazzi Racing team was sidelined, but Husky Liners joined the team as a marketing partner for the Countdown to the Championship. Charlotte is the opening race to NHRA’s playoffs, and Enders-Stevens is right in the middle of the title hunt.

“The car’s running really well,” Enders-Stevens said. “We had a great run this morning and we were on a really good run this afternoon. That’s promising for tomorrow, especially since we’re getting off the starting line.”

Enders-Stevens, ninth in the points standings, had a top pass of 6.546 seconds at 211.83 mph in the third qualifying session. She was solid in her other runs, but the Q4 pass was aborted when her Camaro darted out of the groove.

“I’m pleased with how the car’s running,” Enders-Stevens said. “That gives me confidence going into tomorrow. The conditions will be similar to what they were today, and I think tomorrow is going to be a driver’s race. It’s a really tight field, and everybody seems to be running well. We’ll see how it goes and keep a positive attitude.

“We want to do well, not only because it’s the first race of the Countdown but for Husky Liners, too. We’re so blessed they stepped up, and we want to make them proud.”

Fans at zMax have been good to the popular driver, as crowds have gathered around her pit area all weekend to see her again.

“The fans have welcomed me back with open arms,” Enders-Stevens said. “A lot of them have said, ‘Welcome back. We’re glad you’re back.’ I haven’t stopped smiling all weekend. It’s been great.”

She wants it to continue into Sunday, when she’ll kick off eliminations against Rodger Brogdon, who qualified No. 13 with a lap of 6.594 seconds at 210.64 mph.

“Tomorrow’s going to be a tough day,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’ll all have to be on our game, and I’m excited about our chances.”

Eliminations begin at noon EDT on Sunday. ESPN2 will air the qualifying show at 3:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday and the eliminations show at 8:30 p.m. later that night.

Enders-Stevens, Husky Liners ready to race for NHRA title

CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 10) – Erica Enders-Stevens is certainly counting her blessings now that Husky Liners has given her an opportunity to return to her Cagnazzi Racing Pro Stock Camaro, but the five-time NHRA winner wants to do more than race: She wants to win the 2013 championship.

With new title sponsorship from Husky Liners, Enders-Stevens will compete in the Countdown to the Championship, which begins with this weekend’s sixth annual Carlyle Tools NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway.

“We’re excited and optimistic about the weekend,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’re so blessed to have Husky Liners on the side of the car.”

Enders-Stevens missed six of 18 regular season races because of sponsorship issues but had such a strong season that she still qualified for NHRA’s playoffs. She won a race and reached the final at three others during the regular season to earn the No. 9 seed in the Countdown.

“Everyone knows we’ve got a great team and a great car and really good horsepower,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel and giving the guys a run for their money.”

Her Cagnazzi Racing team returns with Tommy Utt and Dave Connolly serving as crew chiefs. The Victor Cagnazzi-owned team is based in Mooresville, N.C., not far from zMax Dragway, though the team is still looking for its first win at its home track.

“Starting off the Countdown at our team’s home track in Charlotte is going to be important,” Enders-Stevens said. “We certainly have a lot of test runs there, and the last time through this spring we runner-upped. We’ve had a lot of success there, and we’ll see if we can finally get it done at zMax. It’s the only track left on the tour where Cagnazzi Racing hasn’t won.

“To be able to do that this weekend would be awesome, but we’re going to take it one day at a time, one run at a time, and see how it goes.”

Enders-Stevens was fourth in the Pro Stock standings before her team missed six of the last eight races. In the interim, she drove in two ADRL Pro Mod races for Keith Haney Racing to stay sharp.

“I missed out on a lot of seat time but it’s like riding a bike, and I’m hungry and going after it,” Enders-Stevens said. “I went from a few days ago thinking we were going to sit out the Countdown, to now where we’ve got a real shot to chase the championship.

“We’re the underdog. I’m in the ninth position and we’ve got our work cut out for us, but if anybody can do it, we can. My guys are awesome.”