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Tire Shake Cuts Englishtown Short for BLACK iGUANA Racer Enders

launch-etown

ENGLISHTOWN, NJ (June 3) — Erica Enders-Stevens was dealt a frustrating 2nd round loss when her BLACK iGUANA Frozen Rita Camaro shook the tires during the 44th Annual NHRA Toyota Summernationals in Englishtown, New Jersey.

The number-three qualified Enders made a solid 6.601 @ 209.62 mph pass in round one, defeating Frank Gugliotta who fouled out at the line with a -.010 red light start.

But it was the second round match-up against reigning series champ Allen Johnson that would cut her quest for another Wally trophy short.

With Enders and Johnson kicking off round two, the BLACK iGUANA Camaro immediately succumbed to tire shake during the launch, causing the car to cut hard right and forcing her to push in the clutch and call off the pass.

“As I felt it start to shake I quickly pulled 2nd, but it wasn’t enough to calm the car down,” said Enders.

As elimination rounds progress with each class, track conditions begin to change. Even seemingly minor shifts can have a big impact on how a crew chief makes their decision on what to tweak in order to get the car down the track.

“Being the first pair out, you also don’t have the opportunity to watch other cars go down ahead of you,” she explained. “It’s an extra challenge for crew chiefs, especially in this heat. Unfortunately, we missed our mark today and we took our lumps for it.”

Johnson would go on to a pass of 6.646 @ 209.65 mph and eventually take his Mopar Dodge Avenger to a runner-up finish against number the one qualifier, Mike Edwards.

Enders wasn’t the only one to be shook out of contention this weekend. Topeka winner Jeg Coughlin Jr. and hometown favorite Vincent Nobile would also experience similar fates.

“As a driver you want to get down the track, and you can sometimes fight your way through it. This just wasn’t one of those times for us,” Enders said. “It’s frustrating as we’ve had a fast car in qualifying, but haven’t been able to translate it into more round wins on Sunday.”

With Englishtown on the books, Enders remains 4th in overall points. The NHRA heads next to Bristol, Tennesse June 14th – 16th for the 13th Annual Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.

Enders Charges to another Top-3 Qualifying Finish at Englishtown

ENGLISHTOWN, NJ (June 1) — If you asked anyone at Old Bridge Township Raceway how they are feeling at this weekend’s NHRA Toyota Summernationals, the answer would more often than not be “HOT”.

With searing temperatures in the mid 90’s, crews and racers have had to contend with 130+ degree track temps and all of the slick and slimy traction challenges that come with it.

But if you asked Erica Enders-Stevens how she’s feeling, the answer is “Ready”.

“It’s been brutal out there, and a 15-layer fire suit doesn’t make it any easier,” Enders joked. “But I’m ready. The car is running well, we’re in a groove, and I want to put this Black Iguana car in the winner’s circle tomorrow.”

Erica’s first pass of 6.569 @ 210.50 mph on Friday started her off in the #2 spot before Shane Gray clicked off a pass just .004 thousandths quicker in Q2, sending Enders to the #3 spot that she would hold on to through Saturday’s sessions.

This weekend’s qualifying follows a number two qualifying effort in Topeka for her Cagnazzi Racing team. However, Kansas dealt an early exit for the Black Iguana Chevy when transmission problems caused it to fall in the first round to Rodger Brogdon.

“Topeka was a gut check. We had an awesome car going in to Sunday. But in the first round, on the first shift, we broke. It was a huge disappointment, but you have to shake it off, fix the problem, and keep the momentum up for the next race,” said Enders.

“We’ve been a top three qualifier for two races in a row, proving we’ve got a hot rod that’s capable of going rounds and has the potential to get us into the winner’s circle. Now it’s just up to us to get it there.”

No doubt the hot temps will continue to be a factor with Sunday’s high remaining in the 90’s.

“We won in Seattle last year when it was unseasonably hot, and we can do it again here,” recalls Enders. “Tommy Utt and Dave Connolly have a knack for the hot track setup.”

Final eliminations for the NHRA Toyota Summernationals begins at 11:00 AM Eastern time. ESPN2’s elimination broadcast begins at 4:30 PM Eastern.

Enders Unleashes Her BLACK iGUANA Camaro to the Number 2 Qualifying Spot in Topeka

Erica Enders-Stevens Black Iguana in Topeka

Erica Enders-Stevens Black Iguana in Topeka

TOPEKA, KS (May 18) – Coming off a disappointing weekend in Atlanta, Erica Enders-Stevens and her Cagnazzi Racing team have regrouped and charged their way to the number two qualifying spot in their newly-sponsored BLACK iGUANA Frozen Rita Camaro at the 25th Annual NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.

“We’re really excited to be racing this weekend in Topeka. It was uncertain if we’d even be here,” said Enders. “But in the 11th hour the deal came together with BLACK iGUANA and we’re super happy to be able to debut our new sponsor on a weekend when our car is running near the top of the pack.”

With a flat black paint scheme that has become an instant crowd favorite, the BLACK iGUANA Pro Stock Chevy proved it had the performance to back up its looks during all four rounds of qualifying.

Friday’s first session sent Enders to the number four spot with a 6.656 at 207.62 mph pass. But it was the second session, taking place in the cool evening air, that would lock Enders in as the number two qualifier for the weekend.

Nipping at the heels of class-leading Mike Edwards, Erica posted a 6.625 @ 208.30 mph pass, just .007 seconds behind Edwards and .008 seconds ahead of both Allen Johnson and Jeg Coughlin.

Enders continued to stay up front Saturday as she nabbed the fastest pass of the third session with a 6.655 @ 207.15 mph, besting Edwards’ 6.659 @ 207.30 mph. She would follow up with the 2nd fastest pass of 6.676 @ 206.86 mph in the final session, behind Allen Johnson’s run of 6.674 @ 207.08 mph.

“I’m so proud of my guys,” said Enders. “After coming off a couple of rough weekends, we knew we needed to reassess our approach. They’ve been working really hard to sort this car out, and our performance so far shows we are going in the right direction. These cars are a challenge to tune as well as drive, so putting together a string of four consistent runs has us optimistic about Sunday.”

Erica will face Rodger Brogdon in round one of eliminations at the NHRA Kansas Nationals on Sunday.

Eliminations are set to begin with Top Fuel at 11 a.m. Central Time. ESPN2’s eliminations broadcast begins at 7 p.m. CDT.

Erica Enders and BLACK iGUANA Frozen Ritas to Debut Pro Stock Partnership in Kansas

Erica Enders BLACK iGUANA Camaro

Erica Enders BLACK iGUANA Camaro

TOPEKA, KS (May 15) — Erica Enders’ Pro Stock car will return to it’s stealth-black paint scheme when she takes to Heartland Park Topeka in her new BLACK iGUANA-backed Chevrolet Camaro this weekend at the 25th Annual NHRA Kansas Nationals.

Enders has inked an initial two-race marketing partnership with Tomball, Texas-based DGI Beverage, creators of the innovative pouch drink. The wildly popular NHRA racer will continue her Championship hunt with Cagnazzi Racing, introducing the BLACK iGUANA brand of packaged cocktails to drag racing fans nationwide.

“We’re very excited to bring BLACK iGUANA the national exposure and marketing horsepower it deserves. They’ve been huge supporters of ours and couldn’t be a better group of guys to work with. It’s a great product with a taste, look and convenience that can become a major player in the industry,” said Enders. “As they work on growth and investment as a company, we’re looking to prove our program and the loyal NHRA fans can play a huge role in achieving their corporate goals. If we do our job, and the fans respond well, this is just the beginning of a very exciting marketing partnership.”

BLACK iGUANA’s line of premium ready-to-drink margarita cocktails are packaged in fun, single-serving, pouches. With four flavors: Classic Lime, Strawberry, Peach and Pina Colada, the company started in 2005 and has been a catalyst for the fast-growing pouch beverage segment.
BLACK iGUANA Frozen Rita flavors
The patented BLACK iGUANA pouch features a convenient resealable spout for easy drinking and portability. There’s no blender, no mix, and no mess. Whether chilled or frozen, they are a perfect for on-the-go activities, from the beach to tailgating to backyard barbeques. With no metal or glass, they create less waste and go where other containers can’t be enjoyed.

Plus, with it’s distinctive black packaging and smirking iguana logo, fans of Erica’s history-making flat black racecar will be happy to see it’s full return as part of the BLACK iGUANA Camaro’s new look.

With their entry into NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing, DGI Beverage looks to grow the BLACK iGUANA brand with a national marketing program that follows the same grassroots philosophy of promotion that got them their start. The family-run company regularly sponsors and supported local festivals, music and community events across the South.

“We came up with the idea for BLACK iGUANA while enjoying time spent outdoors with family and friends. And that’s what going to the races is all about,” said co-founder Earl Castor. “We fell in love with Erica and how the drag racing community supports products that support NHRA teams. It’s fans get an experience and level of access to their favorite drivers that’s unlike anything else in motorsports. We want to be a part of that.”

BLACK iGUANA joins a winning combination with Enders and Cagnazzi Racing in the competitive Pro Stock class. In the last 18 races, Enders has been to nine finals, winning five and finishing 2nd in this year’s K&N Horsepower Challenge. In the past eight years, Cagnazzi has accumulated 64 NHRA National Event wins and are two-time NHRA Pro Stock World Champions.

Look for Erica behind the wheel of the BLACK iGUANA Camaro during qualifying for the NHRA Kansas Nationals beginning at 5:00 PM CDT at Heartland Park Topeka and continuing Saturday at 12:15 PM. Sunday eliminations are set to begin at 11:00 AM.

ESPN2’s broadcast of qualifying will begin at 4:30 PM on Saturday, with eliminations airing at 8:00 PM Sunday, May 19th.


www.BLACKiGUANA.com

Erica Enders-Stevens Debuts New NHRA Pro Stock Camaro

enders-gored-camaroDETROIT – NHRA Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens debuts an all-new Camaro SS-bodied race car this weekend at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals, in Gainesville, Fla. It features a bold graphics package calling attention to the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women campaign for heart disease prevention.

Coming off a win at the Phoenix race on Feb. 24, she rolls into the Gatornationals second in the NHRA Mello Yellow Championship Pro Stock standings, 16 points behind Vincent Nobile. Along with Chevrolet Performance, Enders-Stevens and GK Motorsports-supported Cagnazzi Racing have a longstanding relationship with the American Heart Association.

“Erica is a great competitor and with her win in Phoenix, she is poised to do well at the Gatornationals in her first outing with the new Camaro,” said Jim Campbell, General Motors U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Heart disease is a tough competitor, too, and the awareness Erica and the Cagnazzi Racing team bring to the subject through Go Red For Women is an important reminder to never slow down in the race to beat it. We’re proud to partner with her on this important topic.”

Enders-Stevens is the latest of a growing number of Pro Stock racers to campaign a Camaro-bodied race car. NHRA approved the body last year, after Chevrolet supplied a production model on which the bodywork was based. Time in General Motors’ wind tunnel was also donated to ensure the race car body performed well at 200+mph top speeds reached by modern Pro Stock cars in quarter-mile competition. The bodies resemble a production Camaro SS, but are aerodynamically optimized to minimize down force for speed.

Camaro bodies are also becoming increasingly popular in sportsman-level drag racing, including Pro Mod, while Chevrolet offers factory-built COPO Camaros designed for Stock Eliminator classes. All classes are represented this weekend at the Gatornationals.

“If you’re a Camaro fan, you’ll have plenty to cheer about in Gainesville – especially if Erica Enders-Stevens can pull off back-to-back wins in her new race car,” said Campbell.

Fans can learn more about Chevrolet race cars and the drivers behind them at theblock.com, the online automotive community powered by Chevrolet Performance, or by signing up for Chevrolet Performance’s FUEL e-newsletter at chevroletperformance.com.

Heart help

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American men and women. In fact, more than 600,000 Americans die from heart disease-related causes every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s 25 percent of all deaths. In women, however, heart disease accounts for one in three deaths.

“It is an eye-opener to learn how many women are affected by heart disease, and how the symptoms of a heart attack can go overlooked until the situation gets worse,” said Enders-Stevens. “It’s a privilege to work with Chevrolet and the American Heart Association to help make a difference. Go Red is something everyone can benefit from to improve awareness and even save lives.”

The GM Foundation and Chevrolet Performance have donated more than $1 million to the American Heart Association over the years – contributions that have been used to increase awareness of heart disease and its prevention, as well as research into treating it.

“Erica’s passion for racing is parallel to the American Heart Association’s lifesaving goal to beat heart disease in women,” said Kathy Kauffmann, executive director and vice president of the Metro Detroit American Heart Association. “The Association commends Erica for bringing Go Red For Women to the forefront, educating women about their No. 1 health threat. She won’t be stopped and realizes neither will heart disease unless it becomes the front-and-center issue for women – and the Go Red For Women movement is the call to do just that.”

More information about Go Red For Women, including how to donate to heart disease research and prevention advocacy, is available online at goredforwomen.org and facebook.com/GoRedForWomen, as well as Twitter: @GoRedForWomen.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.5 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

Erica Enders-Stevens Rebounds in Phoenix to Capture Her First NHRA Pro Stock Win of 2013

Erica Enders with Wally after Phoenix win

Erica Enders with Wally after Phoenix winPHOENIX, AZ — While Danica Patrick made women’s history in Daytona, KLR Group driver Erica Enders-Stevens rallied back from an early exit last weekend to claim her 5th career NHRA Pro Stock win at the 29th annual Arizona Nationals at Firebird International Raceway outside of Phoenix.

Driving the Cagnazzi Racing-powered GK Motorsports Chevy Cobalt from the number seven qualifying position, Erica advanced over Shane Gray in the first round before facing number two qualifier V. Gaines. With identical elapsed times of 6.533 seconds, Erica out-drove Gaines, posting a .033 reaction time to his .074. With the holeshot win, she advanced to a semi final matchup against 2-time champion Jason Line.

With lane choice in Line’s favor, Erica’s pass of 6.563 @ 212.19 mph bested Line, who shook the tires early and ended his run with a 6.619 @ 212.76 mph. She would advance to face Mike Edwards, whose Camaro dominated qualifying, claiming the number one spot for the second race in a row.

Yet in the final it was all Erica. Scoring a massive .053 second jump, she nailed her 2nd holeshot win of the event, beating Edwards to the finish line by over 10 feet with a 6.538 @ 211.99 to his 6.520 @ 213.74.

“Going into the final we knew we had to pull out all the stops,” said Erica. “The way we started this year, it was a gut check to see if we could get back to last year’s performance level.”

During last weekend’s Winternationals in Pomona, Enders-Stevens’ number three qualifying advantage was cut short by a crushing engine failure during the first round of eliminations, allowing Kurt Johnson to claim the win light.

But with Sunday’s win, Erica has rebounded to 2nd place in overall Pro Stock points with 155, trailing Vincent Nobile’s 171. She also joins Nobile as the first Pro Stock drivers to capture a Wally in the new NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, and the second woman, alongside Funny Car driver Courtney Force.

Enders holeshot on Mike Edwards in Phoenix

Enders Kicks off NHRA Winternationals as Top Three Qualifier, Eyes First Pro Stock Win of 2013 Mello Yello Series

Erica Enders Cobalt at 2013 Winternationals

Erica Enders Cobalt at 2013 WinternationalsPomona, CA — Driving the stealth-black GK Motorsports Cobalt that took her to four 2012 event wins, Erica Ender’s Cagnazzi Racing-powered Chevy arrived in California after a brief test session in Las Vegas… and went on to secure the 3rd qualifying spot in a cutthroat field at the 53rd Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Winternationals.

“Victor [Cagnazzi] and my guys worked hard on some new stuff this winter and it’s bearing fruit,” Enders stated. “We know we have a winner in the Cobalt, so we have a solid platform to work from while we finish preparing our new Camaro.”

Mike Edwards and V. Gaines secured the 1st and 2nd spots with a 6.528 and 6.538, respectively. Ender’s 6.539 @ 212.23 mph put her ahead of Jason Line’s 6.541. Vincent Nobile rounded out the top five with a 6.551. Defending champ Allen Johnson had trouble making a full pass during the first two sessions, qualifying 10th overall with a 6.594.

While Saturday’s warmer conditions resulted in overall slower ETs, protecting the top four spots, Enders went on to be the 2nd fastest car during the final two sessions, backing up her Friday performance and accumulating a total of six bonus points.

“We had a few things go our way early that helped us hold onto the 3rd spot, and we were able to stay one of the fastest through Saturday,” said Enders. “We’re excited to see what Sunday could mean for us.”

With the start of the season comes the start of a new series. The winner of Sunday’s race will also be the first to win a Wally in the newly-named Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

“There are some fast cars out there, and we’ve got our work cut out for us,” said crew cheif Dave Connolly. “But to get the first Pro Stock win in the new series would be a huge way to start the season.”

Erica faces Kurt Johnson in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations from Pomona’s Auto Club Raceway. Catch the action on ESPN2 starting at 8:00 pm Eastern / 5:00 pm Pacific time.

Enders’ GK Motorsports gang named sport’s ‘Hard-Working Crew’

cagnazzi-hard-working-crew.jpgHOLLYWOOD, CA — KLR Group driver Erica Enders’ GK Motorsports team repeated as the Full Throttle Hard-Working Crew Award winners for the ultra-competitive Pro Stock class, earning the honor at the NHRA Awards Ceremony Monday night at the Grand Ballroom of the Hollywood & Highland Center.

Enders’ team was nominated for its performance in guiding her to an historic victory July 1 in Joliet, Ill. Enders became the first woman to won a Pro Stock race when he beat Greg Anderson in the final of the Route 66 Raceway.

ESPN’s crew determines the Hard-Working Crew for each national event. After the late October race in Las Vegas, four teams from each of the four professional categories were announced as finalists for the award, and fans voted on the winner.

“Back-to-back is awesome,” Enders said. “I couldn’t be more proud of my guys. They are the reason why we have four trophies on our shelves this year. They work their tails off every day and spend a lot of time away from their families. They deserve this award a lot.”

Led by sponsor Gaston Kearby and team owner Victor Cagnazzi, the GK Motorsports team is comprised of crew chiefs Tommy Utt and Dave Connolly and crew members, Todd Bevis, Johnny Utt, Rich Saulino, Wayne “Turbo” Hasenmayer and Dan Duncan.

The team received a $15,000 check Monday night for winning the award.

“They do need the spotlight,” Enders said. “At the end of the day, I’m the one who gets a microphone shoved in my face when in all reality, all I did was drive the thing. Yeah, that’s a challenging job and you’ve got to be really good at it. But they’re the ones who make it happen. You can be the best driver in the world, but without a good, solid group of people behind you, you’ll go nowhere. I’m really blessed to have them.”

Enders finished her best season as a pro on Sunday when she ended up fourth in the Pro Stock points standings. She won four times, including back-to-back wins at Seattle and Brainerd, reached the final round seven times and won two No. 1 qualifiers.

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