News

Erica Doubles Up in Vegas for $100,000 Weekend

lv-trophies

LAS VEGAS — “Next to winning a championship, this is probably the coolest thing in the world,” said Erica Enders-Stevens after winning not one, but two races during the SummitRacingEquipment.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

On Saturday, eight Pro Stock drivers squared off in the annual K&N Horsepower Challenge — a race-in-a-race shootout for a $50,000 prize, bragging rights, and for one lucky fan, a brand new Toyota Tacoma truck.

Erica and her Elite Motorsports Camaro advanced to the finals again this year, and beat her former crew chief and teammate, Dave Connolly, to capture the win after Connolly’s car overpowered the tires and he was forced to push the clutch in.

“The win is very sweet. It’s about having ice in your veins when it matters. We got it done by the grace of God, and I give Him all the glory. I’m a blessed girl.”

With her Horsepower Challenge victory, she set the stage for a double-up opportunity on Sunday. It’s a feat Allen Johnson accomplished during last year’s event, when he beat Erica in both final rounds.

Sunday eliminations didn’t start off as planned, with the Pro Stock field delayed due to high wind conditions in the Las Vegas desert. Unlike Top Fuel and Funny Car, who employ a great deal of downforce to plant the tires, Pro Stock’s aerodynamics are pushed to the edge in an effort to streamline the cars for the least possible amount of drag. This risks the cars becoming unstable at higher speeds when faced with adverse conditions such as high winds and dust blowing across the racing surface.

After the all-clear, the field took the track later in the afternoon and Erica worked her way to her second final round appearance in a row, facing Jason Line in the Summit Racing Camaro.

With identical 0.034 second reaction times, it was all about the remaining 1,320 feet to the finish line and who had the better car to get them there first.

Erica would edge out Line with a 6.612 at 208.78 mph pass to his 6.633 at 208.23 mph run.

“We had a lot of wheel speed on that one,” said Enders-Stevens of her run. “It shook at the top of low and I pulled second. It went sideways and it shook a little more. I put it in third and thank God, it went down. I saw us pull ahead of him and I couldn’t be more proud of my team. My guys, they’re it. They gave me an awesome race car all day.”

Her team, Elite Motorsports, have captured plenty of bragging rights themselves. After securing the Pro Stock speed record in Gainesville, then winning the Horsepower Challenge, they have taken their Chevy Camaro the winner’s circle for the second time in five races, having won the final race in Pomona at the end of 2013.

Led by Richard Freeman, with the father-son crew chief duo of Rick and Rickie Jones and engine builders Nick Ferri and Jake Hairston, the Elite Motorsports team has demonstrated a depth and cohesion required of a Championship-contending team.

“It’s huge and a testament to all of these guys who work for us,” said Freeman. “The engine shop, Nick and Jake, and everybody back home. My whole group is unbelievable.”

By doubling up, K&N sweetens the pot with an additional $25,000 bonus check, taking the grand total up to an even $100,000 weekend as Enders-Stevens captured her 7th career Pro Stock Wally.

“It certainly is very important to us; it keeps us going on this 24-race schedule,” said Enders-Stevens. “This is storybook. We’ve gone a few years without sponsorship; there were definitely more lows than highs. It would have been easy to quit. This is definitely a highlight.”

What’s more, with her victory in Las Vegas, Erica now leads the point standings in Pro Stock, another first for a woman in the class.

Erica and Elite Motorsports will carry their hot steak to Charlotte’s zMAX Dragway in two weeks for the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals, April 11th – 13th.

Enders-Stevens wins $50,000 K&N Horsepower Challenge

ees-kn-cheer

[From NHRA.com]

Erica Enders-Stevens collected the $50,000 top prize for winning Saturday’s K&N Horsepower Challenge for Pro Stock cars at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas. Enders-Stevens, runner-up in last year’s Challenge, made a strong run of 6.64, 208.39 to collect the win over Dave Connolly, who had to abort his run shortly after dropping the clutch.

“We’ve had a great hot rod all year, and it really came together for us two weeks ago in Gainesville, where we set the national record but lost in the final round on a holeshot, so it was great to give something back to my guys,” said Enders-Stevens, the first woman to win the special bonus event.

There were plenty of subplots in the final-round pairing. Both drivers were appearing in their fifth Challenge field, and neither had earned their berth in a conventional fashion. Enders-Stevens finished ninth in points for the Challenge, which draws the top-seven points earners over the course of a calendar year, but got into the field when No. 3 seed Mike Edwards bowed out after selling much of his operation over the winter and No. 8 Greg Anderson was sidelined with medical issues. Connolly got in as the eighth seed as a result of a fan vote. And, of course, both were teammates the last two seasons when Connolly was the crew chief on Enders-Stevens’ entry.

elite-kn-circle

“Part of being a professional athlete is having to put personal things aside for business, and it is a true challenge and something I work hard on,” she said. “It’s about me getting up on the wheel and the guys putting a great race car underneath me to get from Point A to Point B. It’s about having ice in your veins because there’s no bigger pressure than having $50,000 on the line. The win is very sweet; I don’t care who it is [in the other lane].”

Enders-Stevens and her Elite Motorsports Camaro advanced to the final round by beating Dodge runner V. Gaines in round one, 6.64 to 6.65, then put a .016 to .036 holeshot on Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the semifinals and held on to win by a nose, 6.653 to 6.642.

Connolly, the 2005 challenge winner, opened this year’s Challenge account by ending the reign of defending Challenge champ Allen Johnson on a first-round holeshot, 6.648 to 6.643, then defeated Gray Motorsports teammate Shane Gray in a thrilling pairing. After identical reaction times, Connolly edged out Gray by just .004-second at the stripe, 6.654 to 6.658.

Thanks to Enders-Stevens’ victory, her fan representative, Anne Perkins, won a new Toyota Tundra truck.

New Web Series: Racing in Red Episode 1

Go behind the scenes with Erica Enders-Stevens and Elite Motorsports as they kick off their first test session together as a team in the first episode of the all-new web series: Racing in Red!

racigninred.com

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 Sets Pro Stock Speed Record, Runners-Up at Gatornationals

ees-gville

GAINESVILLE, FL — It was a near-storybook weekend for Erica Enders-Stevens and Elite Motorsports with another number two qualifying effort, a new national speed record, and a runner-up finish. These are the results the team has been building toward since the start of the 2014 season, and it arrived at the Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals.

The drive kicked off during the first round of qualifying, where Enders-Stevens captured the new Pro Stock nationals speed record with a 6.483 @ 214.69 mph.

“That was a huge way to kick off the weekend,” said Enders-Stevens. “The conditions were great for breaking records, and we’re pumped we could take advantage of it. Nick Ferri and the guys at the engine shop have been busting their butts to deliver horsepower and it’s an awesome feather to have in their caps.”

The Elite Motorsports Camaro continued to charge through the remaining qualifying session, backing up the record speed to secure it’s place in books, and posting the lowest ETs during Saturday’s two sessions.

Race day proved to deliver the results that had eluded the team during the first two events. Erica easily beat Robert Patrick in the first round before eliminating V. Gaines and Vincent Nobile to reach a final round match-up against none other than long-time friend, Allen Johnson.

However, it would be AJ’s day when he shot off the line first to take the holeshot victory. His 0.030 second advantage and 6.566 @ 211.73 mph run managed to hold off Erica’s 6.551 @ 211.96 mph pass to the finish line.

“We had fast and consistent race car all weekend and I’m so proud of my team,” said Erica. “It didn’t end up the way we had hoped, but if we have to lose, I pick Brutus to win. It’s awesome to have the fastest hot rod in the world and we will do our best to keep going rounds!”

Erica heads to Las Vegas next for the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals from March 28-30. There, she’ll be competing for $50,000 during that Saturday’s K&N Horsepower Challenge after securing her spot by qualifying in Gainesville.

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).

Second Round Upset Cuts Short Phoenix Title Defense for Enders-Stevens

ees-phoenix-rd1

PHOENIX — Defending Pro Stock event champion Erica Enders-Stevens and her Elite Motorsports team arrived in Phoenix with hopes of backing up her 2013 win during the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

As the number two qualifier, with one of the hottest cars on the track, conditions were shaping up for it to become a reality.

However, a tough launch would put an early end to those hopes on race day.

The Elite Motorsports Camaro had posted spectacular ETs during qualifying, placing Erica just .001 behind number the number one spot with a 6.531 @ 211.66 mph.

“The car was running fantastic,” said Enders-Stevens. “We are all really happy with how the program is progressing. It just keeps getting better.”

During their first round matchup Sunday against Matt Hartford, Erica backed up her best qualifying run with a 6.531 @ 212.09 mph. That pass would go on to be the fastest of the day.

Yet during the Round 2 match-up against her former crew chief, Dave Connolly, the car made an abrupt move to the right during the launch, costing precious time to recover.

“I worked it back into the groove, but by that time it was too late,” said Enders-Stevens. “We had the performance, but unfortunately it wasn’t our day.”

Allen Johnson would go on to defeat Connolly and then V. Gaines to bring home the Wally.

Erica and Elite Motorsports head to Gainesville in three weeks for the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals March 14th – 16th.

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.

Page 40 of 47« First...102030...3839404142...Last »