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Stevens, Enders Plan Visit to Thailand in Support of Serving Orphans Worldwide

NHRA stars Richie Stevens and Erica Enders-Stevens Present Donation to Serving Orphans Worldwide

BRISTOL, Tenn. (Oct. 7) — Serving Orphans Worldwide (SOW) recently hosted NHRA Pro Stock drivers Richie Stevens and Erica Enders-Stevens at its offices in Bristol to plan the couple’s upcoming trip to SOW orphanages in Thailand.

Stevens and Enders-Stevens helped raise more than $40,000 for SOW during the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals with branding on their race cars and on-air promotion during the ESPN2 television coverage. Serving Orphans Worldwide Chief Operating Officer Richard Baker accepted the check from the decorated couple.

“The support Richie and Erica have helped raise will have a tremendous impact on the children we serve,” Baker said. “The fact they are excited about our work and want to continue helping us achieve our vision is an outstanding blessing.”

Stevens and Enders-Stevens joined Baker at the SOW office to plan a trip to Thailand with the organization at the completion of their racing season. While in Bristol, Stevens and Enders-Stevens viewed a short video about Baan Zion Children Ministries in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Baan Zion cares for more than 30 orphaned girls whose mothers are detained in Thai prisons.

“The work that Serving Orphans Worldwide is doing is pretty incredible,” Stevens said. “They are truly changing lives at the most basic level. To see the profound differences they make in these children’s lives is incredible. I know Erica and I are both very honored and humbled to be able to offer a little bit of help and we can’t thank the NHRA community enough for all of its support.”

During their trip in December, Stevens and Enders-Stevens plan to visit four of SOW’s orphanages, including Baan Zion. The money they raised at the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals will keep the doors open at that orphanage for the next year.

“We were all very excited to show Richie and Erica how incredibly valuable their support is to our organization,” Baker said. “Who better to tell them thank you than the children themselves in December?”

Enders-Stevens Powers into Second Place with Semifinal Showing in Reading

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READING, Pa. (Oct. 5) — A strong semifinal showing at Sunday’s 30th annual NHRA Nationals has thrust superstar racer Erica Enders-Stevens back into the championship picture with two races left in the drag racing season. Enders-Stevens, who led the Mello Yello points for 13 races during the regular season, is now just 35 points behind Jason Line, who exited in the quarterfinals.

“I have such an awesome team,” Enders-Stevens said. “They gave me a great race car all weekend, from qualifying No. 1 to going to the semifinals today. I wanted to give them more — I wanted to get to the finals and win — but to close the gap on Jason to less than two rounds is really exciting.

“It’s going to be a dogfight to the end and we’re ready for it. Having the quickest car here has given us so much confidence. Now we’ve got a couple weeks off to get back to the shop and regroup. The last two races will be incredible.”

After coming within two-thousandths of a second of resetting her own national record in qualifying, Enders-Stevens remained red-hot on race day, beating Frank Gugliotta with a 6.469 at 213.30 mph to Gugliotta’s 6.579 at 209.79 mph. She then downed Vieri Gaines with a 6.484 at 213.60 mph to Gaines’ 6.507 at 212.69 mph.

It wasn’t until the semifinals against good friend and past series champion Allen Johnson that Enders-Stevens was quieted, slowing to a 6.759 at 210.87 mph to Johnson’s 6.499 at 212.69 mph.

“The car just shook the tires really hard down low,” she said. “I pedaled it and got back on the gas as fast as possible, but when you lose all of that early momentum there’s not much you can do. I stayed after it just in case Allen had trouble but I saw him all the way down the track. That round was a bummer but we’re still smiling over here.”

The NHRA tour takes a two-week break before resuming action with the 14th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals, Oct. 31-Nov. 2, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“We were undefeated in the spring race in Vegas, so we’ll try to keep that streak alive,” Enders-Stevens said. “We won both the K&N Horsepower Challenge and the regular national event, so we have nothing but good thoughts going through our heads.

“It’ll be good to get home, catch up on our rest, and have time to service the car and the motors. Having four races in a row was pretty taxing for everyone. Even so, we’ve put ourselves in an incredible position to challenge for the title. I’ve dreamt of this my whole life and it’s so cool to be living in the moment right now.”

Near-Record Run Puts Enders-Stevens on Top of Reading’s Pro Stock Heap

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READING, Pa. (Oct. 4) — Erica Enders-Stevens came within two thousandths of a second of her own NHRA national record Saturday night, running a lightning-quick 6.465-second, 213.16-mph quarter-mile pass down historic Maple Grove Raceway to earn her fifth low qualifier award of the 2014 season.

The stunning performance comes at a pivotal time for Enders-Stevens as she continues to chase down current points leader Jason Line with just three national events left on the schedule.

“Every point matters in this championship countdown and if we can run just a little bit quicker tomorrow and reset the national record one more time than we’d get 20 bonus points, which would be huge,” said Enders-Stevens, who held the points lead for a class-leading 13 races this year. “No matter what, we gained some ground with all the qualifying bonus points we’ve already picked up so we’re already pretty happy.

“It got cooler overnight and Rick and Rickie (Jones, father/son co-crew chiefs) did an awesome job of reading the conditions and getting after the track in Q4. We missed the record by two thou but it was a pretty big thrill any way. Normally Rickie gets on the radio and tells me what I’ve run after I throw the ‘chutes but this time he was just screaming so I knew we’d made a good pass. I starting screaming myself.”

Enders-Stevens entered this event 67 points, or about three rounds of action, behind Line. Her Elite Motorsports Camaro was the quickest car in three of the four qualifying sessions and second quickest in the other, yielding her 11 bonus points. Line earned just one bonus point during qualifying.

“We’re less than three rounds behind him now and with a national record pending we could be even closer,” Enders-Stevens said. “My team owner (Richard Freeman) reminded me right after the run that we already have the back-up run in place to set a national record so now all we have to do is go out there and do it.

“Of course that’s easier said than done and if we can run the record than a few other cars can as well so we won’t count any points until we have them. The bottom line is we need to go rounds tomorrow and try to win. If we can do that and set the record as well then we could have a big day. I do know that I’m on the best team with the best crew in the sport. I’m a lucky girl and I’m loving every minute of this season.”

Stevens has four victories this year in five final-round showings. She’ll begin her quest for another Wally trophy opposite No. 16 qualifier Frank Gugliotta, who topped out at 6.599 at 208.68 mph. Eliminations begin at noon with action being carried on ESPN2.

No Slowing Down for Enders-Stevens during NHRA Nationals Qualifying

Erica Enders-Stevens | Maple Grove Raceway | Reading, PA

READING, Pa. (Oct. 3) — Slowly cutting into the deficit of the Pro Stock points leader, Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders-Stevens captured the No. 1 spot late in qualifying Friday for the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.

Earning critical bonus points during both rounds of qualifying, Enders-Stevens ended Q1 No. 2 after a solid 6.541-second pass at 211.30 mph. It wasn’t until Q2 that her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro landed in the top spot with low e.t. and top speed of the day, a 6.513 at 211.76 mph.

“All those baby points are definitely helpful at this crucial point in the Countdown,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’m really excited and really proud of my team. We had a couple issues in the first round but we also wanted to go out there and be conservative considering there is a chance of weather tomorrow. We didn’t want to be on the outside looking in, so we got in a good baseline run in the first round. We were able to stay No. 2 then, but then we were able to go out there and go after it in the next round.

“I’m really proud of my crew chiefs Rick and Rickie Jones; they do a great job. All my guys just work so hard, so it’s really nice when a big number comes up on the scoreboard like that. We’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”

Looking to bag her fifth No. 1 qualifier of the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello season, Enders-Stevens is confident that there is still more Elite Motorsports horsepower under her hood to get the job done Saturday. With weather looming though, there is a chance for a record-setting day at Maple Grove Raceway for the team.

“The Pro Stock Motorcycles are the same as us,” Enders-Stevens said. “When they run well, we run well. We’re naturally aspirated, so our cars like cool, dry air. I think the rain should be out of here by the mid-morning, so we’re expecting some cooler temperatures. If the air dries up the weather will definitely be conducive for some record-setting runs. I talked about it being a crucial time in the Countdown right now, and to reset the e.t. record is an extra 20 bonus points.

“You never really know with the weather; it could be the same as it is today or after the storm it could be really humid and it won’t be conducive at all. We’ll just have to see what the good Lord deals us as far as weather goes and we’ll set up accordingly. I’m really excited, optimistic, and proud of my team.”

Qualifying sessions are scheduled for 11:15 and 2:15 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations will start at approximately noon, Sunday, with both qualifying and elimination action broadcast on ESPN2 on tape-delay basis.

Enders-Stevens Continues Championship Charge at Maple Grove

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READING, Pa. (Oct. 1) — The battle for the 2014 Pro Stock championship moves to Maple Grove Raceway for this weekend’s NHRA Nationals, and Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders-Stevens is motivated to get to the top.

She has won four times this season and is third in the Pro Stock points standings at the halfway point of the Countdown to the Championship. She’s a little more than three rounds out of first place, though, with three races remaining this season.

“I’m really excited, really confident,” Enders-Stevens said. “Things are going to go down to the wire, and that’s what makes Pro Stock all the more exciting. It’s going to be a dogfight, and we’re right in the mix.”

Enders-Stevens is 67 points behind leader Jason Line and 41 behind second-place Dave Connolly after a semifinal finish at Gateway Motorsports Park last weekend.

She qualified No. 1 in St. Louis and had the quickest car in six of the seven runs over the weekend. She also drove well, leaving first on all three opponents at Gateway.

“I’m proud of my team,” Enders-Stevens said. “They give me a great, consistent race car. Everybody pulls their weight and digs deep when we’ve got quick turnaround times or it’s hot and you’re sweating and you’re hungry.

“They do a great job, and I’m driving up to that car. Together, we can accomplish anything. As long as I stay up on the wheel like I have been and they keep giving me a race car, we can accomplish a lot of great things together.”

One of those great things could be a national elapsed time record. Enders-Stevens holds the record of 6.464 seconds, set in Englishtown, N.J., earlier this year, but conditions at Maple Grove could bring another mark.

“The weather looks awesome,” she said. “It’s going to be chilly and hopefully conducive for a national record. We’ve certainly got the car and the team to do so, and we’ll be swinging for the fences there.

“It won’t change our game plan, but it is exciting looking ahead and knowing we’re capable of doing that.”

Qualifying sessions are scheduled for 1:15 and 4:15 p.m., Friday, and 11:15 and 2:15 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations will start at approximately noon, Sunday, with both qualifying and elimination action broadcast on ESPN2 on tape-delay basis.

Determined Enders-Stevens Moves to Third in Pro Stock Standings

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ST. LOUIS (Sept. 28) — Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders-Stevens left Gateway Motorsports Park on Sunday more determined than ever in her pursuit of the Pro Stock championship.

Enders-Stevens was quickest in six of the seven rounds in which she competed, earned the No. 1 qualifier, and raced to the semifinals of the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals. Plus, she had the better reaction time in her three rounds of eliminations Sunday.

“Awesome weekend,” Enders-Stevens said. “That’s obviously not the way we had anticipated it ending, but God’s got a plan and I trust it. We’re going to move on to Reading (Pa.).”

Enders-Stevens moved up to third in the points standings, trailing leader Jason Line by 67 heading to the NHRA Nationals next weekend at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading.

“I could not be more proud of my guys,” Enders-Stevens said. “They work their tails off for me and for us. We have the best car on the property, the best team in the business, the best crew chiefs, and I’m driving well. It ain’t over ’til it’s over, and all my money is on us, like it is all the time. I have all the faith in the world and I’m hungry.

“We’ve got a lot of heart, determination, and perseverance, and we’re going to go to Reading with our chins held high.”

Enders-Stevens started Sunday’s eliminations with a .014-second reaction time and a 6.514-second pass at 212.66 mph that took out No. 16 qualifier Larry Morgan, whose run was 6.651 seconds at 208.78 mph.

Next up was Countdown to the Championship contender Jonathan Gray, but she left first with a .032 light and then outran him with a 6.538-second pass at 212.39 mph. Gray, fifth in the points standings, made a pass of 6.590 seconds at 206.48 mph.

Including all four qualifying sessions, Enders-Stevens was quickest in six consecutive rounds. But in the semifinals against Dave Connolly, her Camaro shook the tires and she pushed the clutch in, coasting to a pass of 15.947 seconds at 52.67 mph.

Connolly trailed at the Christmas Tree, as Enders-Stevens had a .014 light to Connolly’s .022, but he got the win with a pass of 6.576 at 211.46 mph.

“Six in a row and I guarantee if she hooked, it would’ve been seven in a row and going to the finals,” Enders-Stevens said. “But that wasn’t God’s will today and that’s OK. There’s a reason for everything.

“What an awesome opportunity for me to drive this Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro for such an elite group of guys. I’m really proud of them and the sky’s the limit for us. Teamwork makes the dream work.”

Dominant Qualifying Performance Puts Enders-Stevens in Position for Gateway Three-Peat

Erica Enders-Stevens qualifies number 1 in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (Sept. 27) — Erica Enders-Stevens capped off a dominant performance in qualifying with the No. 1 spot for the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals on Saturday at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Enders-Stevens was quickest in all four qualifying sessions, including her 6.511-second pass at 213.03 mph in Q4 that earned her a fourth No. 1 this season and 10th in her career.

“We were trying to be consistent and have a nice race-day setup for tomorrow,” Enders-Stevens said of her pole-winning pass. “The air was similar to qualifying pass No. 3 and pretty similar to yesterday’s as well, so it was conducive for us to go. We talked about it before, for us to go a high .50, low .51, and we were able to accomplish just that.

“I’m really proud of my team. They’ve given me a consistent race car and a fast one at that. I’m excited about tomorrow.”

Sweeping the top spot in each of the four sessions also earned Enders-Stevens 12 qualifying bonus points and unofficially moved her to third in the Pro Stock standings, 47 markers out of the lead.

“We’ve had four really nice runs that we’re proud of,” Enders-Stevens said. “There are definitely ways to nitpick it and improve but Q4 was a good run. I knew when I let the clutch out on that last run.”

Enders-Stevens faces No. 16 qualifier Larry Morgan in the first round Sunday after Morgan made a best pass of 6.612 seconds at 209.95 mph. She’s gunning for her third consecutive victory in St. Louis.

Gateway could be a pivotal race in the Countdown to the Championship, as eight of the Countdown drivers are in the top half of the field. Plus, Gateway marks the halfway point of the six-race playoffs.

“We’ve got a stout group of players out there,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’ve certainly got our work cut out for us. Our side of the ladder is packed with all three of the Gray (Motorsports) cars, and two of them are in front of us in the points standings.

“We get a shot to control our own destiny tomorrow. We’re going to focus one round at a time. I know I keep saying that, but we can’t get ahead of ourselves.

“I’m excited and obviously a positive attitude has a lot to do with it. We’re going to go into tomorrow swinging for it. At this point, we look at it as it’s ours to lose. We’ve just got to do our jobs.”

St. Louis Continues to be Elite Track for Enders-Stevens

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ST. LOUIS (Sept. 26) — The love affair with Gateway Motorsports Park continued Friday for Pro Stock racer Erica Enders-Stevens.

The Elite Motorsports driver, who is gunning for her third consecutive Pro Stock victory at Gateway, earned the provisional No. 1 qualifier for the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals with a blistering pass of 6.513 seconds at 212.90 mph.

“I love St. Louis; I have since I was a little girl,” Enders-Stevens said. “Coming here and racing in the Sportsman ranks, we had a couple of semifinal finishes in Super Comp and Super Gas. That’s pretty neat when you have a 100-count field.

“I’ve just always liked coming here, and when they brought the races back here in 2012, we were able to win then and in 2013 as well. We’re hoping for a three-peat this year.

“I’m not really sure what it is but there are just some tracks that are really good to certain drivers. I’m glad that this is one of them and I’m certainly glad that it’s in the Countdown at the moment. Day by day, we’ll see how it goes.”

Enders-Stevens’ top pass came in the first qualifying session, and she was hoping for an even quicker run in Q2.

“After that first session we were pleased with the numbers we saw up on the board,” Enders-Stevens said. “That was pretty evident when the No. 2 qualifier was a solid three-hundredths behind us. I’m really proud of my team. We went out there and made some changes for (Q2) and obviously missed it a little bit but should have, could have, would have.

“There was definitely a high .49, low .50 in the car, so we’ll go back and assess and see what happens tomorrow. I’m excited though.”

Two more qualifying sessions are on the schedule for Saturday, when Enders-Stevens could earn her fourth No. 1 of 2014 and 10th of her career.

But perhaps more important is the opportunity to add more qualifying bonus points. Enders-Stevens was quickest in the second session (6.413 seconds at 212.26 mph), earning six bonus points total on Friday.

Enders-Stevens came to Gateway fourth in the points standings after two of the six Countdown to the Championship races, trailing leader Jason Line by 59 points.

“(Qualifying points) are huge,” Enders-Stevens said. “I know I said it before but these baby points are going to be like thousandths of a second in Pro Stock racing out there on Sunday. Every little point matters, especially coming into this race. We’re only nine points behind third, 16 behind second, and three rounds behind first, so they all add up.

“We’re just going to take it one round at a time, one run at a time, day by day and do the best job that we can do.”

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