Archive for the Qualifying Category

Points Leader Enders-Stevens Locks up No. 2 Qualifying Spot in Chicago

Erica Enders-Stevens Chicago 2014

CHICAGO — Pro Stock championship leader Erica Enders-Stevens will begin her quest for another Chicago triumph from the No. 2 qualifying position after posting a competitive 6.594-second quarter-mile pass at 209.65 mph in qualifying for the 17th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals.

“This Elite Motorsports Camaro is running so strong this weekend, just like it has been all year, really,” Enders-Stevens said. “In four qualifying passes we went 6.59, 6.60, and 6.61 twice. That’s the kind of crazy fast speed and consistency that wins races.

“The guys have been sweating it out all weekend. I don’t think anyone expected this kind of heat in Chicago, but it’s definitely summertime now and they adjusted to it perfectly. I can’t tell you how much confidence it gives you as a driver to have a race car that you know is going down the track every run and can post super-quick times. Tomorrow can’t get here fast enough for me.”

As if her fast car isn’t enough, Enders-Stevens, who has held the No. 1 ranking for eight consecutive races, also can rely on the good vibrations of past successes at Route 66 Raceway to give her an additional lift in Sunday’s eliminations, which begin at noon. She won her first ever national event at this facility in 2012, becoming the first female winner in the factory hot rod category. She has since gone on to lock up every notable record for women in the class, including nine national event wins.

“What can I say? I love Chicago,” said Enders-Stevens, a three-time winner this year. “The fans have been so awesome because all of them make a point of sharing their memories of when we won here a couple of years ago, and it’s neat that everyone here takes a little piece of that with them. I’d love nothing more than to do it again and have another party in the Route 66 Raceway winner’s circle.”

As the No. 2 qualifier, Enders-Stevens will open sudden-death eliminations opposite Dave River, who qualified 15th with a 6.766 at 204.17 mph.

“You have to respect every racer because we all know that if you’re good enough to qualify, then you’re good enough to win, so we’ll be up for Mr. River and anyone else we might face off against,” Enders-Stevens said. “Right now, we have a comfortable lead in the points, and that’s all thanks to the hard work these guys have put in at the shop and here at the racetrack. We don’t want to let that slip away, so our focus will remain sharp.”

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.

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.

National-Record Run Places Enders-Stevens 2nd on Englishtown’s Pro Stock Grid

Erica Enders-Stevens sets new speed record 215.55 mph

ENGLISHTOWN, NJ — Championship points leader Erica Enders-Stevens continues to display her dominance of the Pro Stock field, this time posting a national record top speed of 215.55 mph during a 6.473-second qualifying run at the 45th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals. Enders-Stevens’ speed mark raised her own national record by nearly 1 mph, and her elapsed time was the third-quickest in history.

The effort places her Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro second on the Pro Stock ladder, just .001-second behind good friend Allen Johnson. She will now begin preparations for a first-round elimination matchup with Val Smeland, who qualified 15th with a partially shutoff 8.017 at 127.94 mph.

Enders-Stevens 215.55 mph timeslip

“I’m really excited about how awesome this car is and how well things are going for us,” Enders-Stevens said. “Raising our own national speed record is very cool because in Pro Stock speed is the best indicator of horsepower, so all glory to the guys once again for making awesome engines.

“We went out there today, in conditions we expect will be very similar to what we’ll have tomorrow, and posted two super-fast passes. What’s exciting is I know there is more in the car. We definitely have something to be pumped up about for tomorrow because I don’t think it’s unreasonable for us to run even quicker.”

Enders-Stevens already has backed up her speed mark to make it an official record and her e.t. of 6.473 seconds is just two-thousandths of a second off the national e.t. record, so she already is well within range to set an official record in that category as well. By rule, national-record runs must be backed up with another run within 1 percent of the record at the same race to make it an official mark.

“The primary goal on race day is to get the car from A to B,” said Enders-Stevens, a two-time winner this season who has held the points lead for five consecutive races. “But if the opportunity to set the record is there and the guys feel confident we can go for it, we’re not afraid to try.

“This run we’re on is a great reward for the guys, especially after these last few weeks where they’ve been working around the clock to keep up with the engines, sleeping at the shop sometimes because there’s not even time to go home. I’m so blessed to have this team behind me and I’ve never had so much fun racing.”

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

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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.”

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.

erica-no1-atl

“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.”

Enders-Stevens determined to end season on a positive note

ees-pomona

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 9) – A determined Erica Enders-Stevens is fired up for the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway after qualifying her Husky Liners Camaro in the No. 8 spot on Saturday.

Enders-Stevens made a top pass of 6.557 seconds at 211.43 mph in the third qualifying session and will line up against future teammate Shane Gray in the first round of eliminations on Sunday. Cagnazzi Racing recently announced a merger with Gray Motorsports for 2014, though the two teams have already begun working together.

“The car is running consistent,” Enders-Stevens said. “It’s not flying but it’s consistent. We’re going to have a long, hard day cut out for us tomorrow. It’s the last race day of the year. Tomorrow’s going to be a tough day for me, both on the track and off the track.”

Enders-Stevens’ future is uncertain, pending sponsorship for next season, but that uncertainty has made her more determined than ever to put in a good showing on Sunday.

“I am determined,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’m determined because my future is uncertain, and I’ve got a lot to prove tomorrow.”

Gray, who qualified No. 9 with a pass of 6.567 seconds at 211.33 mph, moved ahead of Enders-Stevens in the Pro Stock points standings after his victory in Las Vegas, but she could still finish as high as second with a good Sunday.

“We’re going to practice what we preach and remain positive and optimistic about race day,” Enders-Stevens said. “First round with Shane Gray is crucial. I need to get my ground back. We’ll do our best tomorrow and see what happens.”

Pomona is one of Enders-Stevens’ favorite tracks, and she has enjoyed a fun weekend so far. On Friday night, she participated in the Night of Champions at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, spending quality time with drag racing legends Tommy Ivo and Bob Muravez.

“It’s been a good weekend,” Enders-Stevens said. “Good friends, good wine, good racing. I got to see the museum and pay my Jr. Dragster a visit. I got to hang out with some legends last night and that was exciting. It’s been a fun weekend, and I’m trying to soak it all in.

“This is one of the only tracks where Pro Stock gets to come back down the return road in front of the stands, so I’ve been trying to soak all that in. I know how quickly it can all disappear. It’s been a good weekend so far.”

Eliminations at the NHRA Finals get under way at 11 a.m. PST on Sunday. ESPN2 will air eliminations starting at 7 p.m. EST.

Enders-Stevens hopes consistency pays off in Las Vegas

ees-vegas

LAS VEGAS (Oct. 26) – If consistency is key to Pro Stock, Husky Liners driver Erica Enders-Stevens could be in for a long day at the NHRA Toyota Nationals on Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Thanks to her Cagnazzi Racing team, Enders-Stevens made four qualifying passes within .016-second of her top lap of 6.650 at 207.34 mph. She will line up for eliminations from the No. 6 position as she guns for her third victory of 2013.

“It’s been a good weekend so far,” Enders-Stevens said. “We have a very consistent race car, and sometimes on Sunday that’s what you need.”

Enders-Stevens’ first two passes Friday were within .001-second, and then she picked up in Q3 with her best run of the weekend. She was off only .01-second in Q4 but was still sixth-quickest for the session.

“We’ve made four consistent, solid runs,” Enders-Stevens said. “We weren’t the best but we’ll be right there with everyone tomorrow. It’s going to be a really tough day. It’s come down to the last two races, and everybody out there has the attitude that they need to win. We’ve got to stay on our game, keep a positive attitude, and see where the chips fall.”

Enders-Stevens will face Buddy Perkinson in the first round of eliminations after Perkinson qualified No. 11 with a pass of 6.660 seconds at 208.01 mph. Their race is a rematch of the first round in Reading, where she won on a holeshot after a stellar reaction time.

“One round at a time, and hopefully there are four of them tomorrow,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’ve got to focus on the task at hand as it happens. First round is going to be tough. I had Buddy in Reading first round, and it was a race that we won by the skin of our teeth. We need to go up there and be ready. I need to get up on the wheel, and my guys need to give me a good race car. I’ve got the confidence in my guys and I’m ready.”

Enders-Stevens has enjoyed the company of Husky Liners President Bob Tyler and other Husky employees this weekend. Plus Enders-Stevens and the Husky team have been joined by Kerri Hutchison, winner of the Husky Liners Las Vegas Race Experience. Hutchison and her husband enjoyed a free trip to Las Vegas, including behind-the-scenes access to Enders-Stevens and the race team.

“It’s been great having her out here,” Enders-Stevens said. “This is a really neat experience for them. Vegas is a great town with a lot of fun things to do. We appreciate their support for Husky and our team. Hopefully we can add to their cool trip by winning the race.”

Eliminations for the NHRA Toyota Nationals get under way at 11 a.m. PDT on Sunday from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. ESPN2 will broadcast the eliminations show at 8 p.m. EDT on Sunday.

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