Archive for the Race Preview Category

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

ees-4wide

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.

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

ee-elite-camaro

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.

With Speed Record in Hand, Enders-Stevens Looks to Double-Up in Vegas

ees-gators

LAS VEGAS — Pro Stock’s fastest driver Erica Enders-Stevens and Elite Motorsports are looking to carry their performance hot streak into Las Vegas for a 1-2 win weekend starting today at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

They come off of a successful weekend where the team clutched the national speed record in their Chevy Camaro, reaching 214.69 mph at the finish line, and went on to nearly win the event with a runner-up finish.

“The car had just been set up with the new 2014 Camaro SS updates and a fresh motor that we hadn’t tested in the car coming into Gainesville,” said Enders-Stevens. “To go out on Friday and run an ET in the 40’s (6.483) and beat the speed record was awesome. If we had just won that last round on Sunday, it would have been a perfect weekend.”

Sitting atop the class in speed has added importance when things kick off in Vegas.

Not only will the Pro Stock field be chasing the Wally on Sunday, eight drivers, including Enders-Stevens, will be vying for a $50,000 payday during Saturday’s K&N Horsepower Challenge.

During last year’s event, Erica narrowly missed doubling up for the weekend as runner-up to Allen Johnson in both the Challenge and during Sunday eliminations.

“We feel we’re in a very good position to make this a huge weekend for Elite Motorsports,” said Enders-Stevens. “Other than during the Countdown, you couldn’t ask for a better time in the season to have the fastest car out there. Now we just have to keep it going.”

Qualifying at The Strip begins today, Friday, at 1:30 p.m. PST and 4:30 p.m. The K&N Horsepower Challenge takes place during Saturday’s qualifying sessions at 1:10 p.m. and 3:50 p.m. with the final round at 4:45 p.m. PST. Sunday’s Pro Stock eliminations will kick off at 12:00 p.m. PST. ESPN2 broadcasts will air Sunday at 5 p.m. ET for qualifying, and 8 p.m. ET for eliminations.

Enders-Stevens Focused on Translating Performance into Victory at Gainesville

20140313-142801.jpg

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).

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

ees-pomona-dz

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.

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.

Enders-Stevens hopes to close season in Pomona’s victory lane

ees-pomona-preview

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 6) – The best way for Husky Liners driver Erica Enders-Stevens to close out the 2013 Pro Stock season would be to win the Auto Club NHRA Finals this weekend at Auto Club Raceway.

Enders-Stevens has two victories in 2013, including one during the Countdown to the Championship. She won’t win the Pro Stock title this season, but she and her Cagnazzi Racing team made a good run in NHRA’s playoffs.

“That would be the best way to close this chapter of 2013,” Enders-Stevens said of a Pomona win. “I’m excited that the Husky Liners guys will be there, and I’m so appreciative of them stepping up to the plate to allow us to compete for the championship. I’m hopeful we can end the year on a really great note. We’ll do our best and let God do the rest.”

Enders-Stevens is sixth in the Pro Stock standings and can finish as high as second. She has raced to five final rounds and has one No. 1 qualifier. So far in the Countdown, she has won at least one round in all five races and scored a victory in St. Louis.

“The year has really flown by,” Enders-Stevens said. “Every time we come back to Pomona in November, it’s incredible how fast the year has passed.

“I’m excited to go back. We’ve always qualified well in Pomona and hopefully that trend continues. The guys have been working hard at the new engine shop, and we’ll see what SoCal has in store for us.”

Enders-Stevens would love to add a Pomona victory to her resume, as she appreciates the history of Auto Club Raceway.

“I do love racing in Pomona,” Enders-Stevens said. “And every time I’m back there, I remember the first time I pulled around the corner from the staging lanes in a Pro Stock car. I think of that and it’s very humbling and surreal and exciting.”

Plus, Enders-Stevens always makes a visit to the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum next door to the racetrack.

“It’s where my first Jr. Dragster is,” Enders-Stevens said, “so I’ll go by the museum and tell her hello.”

Enders-Stevens is scheduled to make an appearance on KTLA 5 Morning News with Allie Mac Kay on Friday morning and will also be part of the Night of Champions at the museum on Friday night.

Qualifying for the Auto Club NHRA Finals gets under way at 1:45 p.m. PDT on Thursday from Auto Club Raceway and continues at 1:45 p.m. on Friday and 11:45 a.m. on Saturday. Eliminations start at 11 a.m. on Sunday. ESPN2 will air the qualifying show at 2:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday and the eliminations show at 7 p.m.

Enders-Stevens looks for exciting weekend in Las Vegas

erica-stl-burnout

LAS VEGAS (Oct. 22) – One more round-win.

That’s all Husky Liners Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens wants during the NHRA Toyota Nationals this weekend at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Enders-Stevens advanced to the final round during the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip in April and in the K&N Horsepower Challenge at the track the same weekend, but she fell just short of winning both races, giving her and her Cagnazzi Racing team some extra incentive for this weekend’s race.

“I’m looking forward to going into the final two races of the Countdown to the Championship,” Enders-Stevens said. “Vegas was good to us in the spring. I’m hoping to go back there and do equally as well, if not better. Maybe one round better.”

A victory would enhance her chances of winning the 2013 Pro Stock championship because she’s fifth in the standings, 114 points out of the lead. With eight more rounds of racing, every point will be crucial to Enders-Stevens as she tries to race up the standings.

“We’re still thinking championship,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’re mathematically still capable. The fine print is a lot of crazy things still have to happen, but we’re going to go into it with a positive attitude and do the best we can do and let the points fall where they may.

“It’s certainly still within reach, and we’re going to go after it. We’ve got a great team, and it would be a great weekend to do well with all the guys out here who have made it possible to even contend for this championship.”

Enders-Stevens is referring to the numerous Husky Liners employees who will be in attendance this weekend supporting her and her team.

Also present will be Kerri Hutchison, the winner of the Husky Liners Vegas Race Experience with Erica Enders-Stevens. Hutchison and a guest will receive an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas, including airfare and hotel, VIP access to the Cagnazzi Racing pit area and the starting line, and a meet and greet with Enders-Stevens.

“This weekend will be extra exciting because we’ll have a lot of Husky Liners employees out at the racetrack,” Enders-Stevens said. “And we’ll have our contest winner, too, so it’ll be an exciting weekend. We’ll have an opportunity to showcase our Pro Stock team, what we’re all about, and our capabilities. It should be a fun weekend in Vegas.”

Qualifying for the NHRA Toyota Nationals gets under way at 1:15 p.m. PDT on Friday from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and continues at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday. Eliminations start at 11 a.m. on Sunday. ESPN2 will air the qualifying show at 2:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday and the eliminations show at 8 p.m.

Page 12 of 14« First...1011121314