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Enders-Stevens hopes consistency pays off in Las Vegas

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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.

Enders-Stevens looks for exciting weekend in Las Vegas

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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.

Haney, Enders-Stevens head to Houston with momentum

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HOUSTON (Oct. 17) – After Keith Haney Racing swept the Legal Pro Mod class at the Throw Down in T-Town last weekend, team owner/driver Keith Haney wasn’t sure how he could top that, but then he thought about the ADRL World Finals IX this weekend at Royal Purple Raceway, where he and NHRA star Erica Enders-Stevens will be racing.

“You know what could top it?” Haney said. “If Erica and I meet in the final round. That’d be cool.”

Haney faced teammate Monroe Guest in last weekend’s Throw Down final in Tulsa, Okla., and scored his first victory in four years but hopes not to wait that long for his next win.

Haney will bring his two RacingJunk.com/Lucas Oil Camaros to Houston, Enders-Stevens’ hometown. Haney’s car carries a new Reher-Morrison engine that powered him to victory in Tulsa.

“With the new motor we’ve got in my car we can get it to go low,” Haney said. “We can make the other car go faster, but how much more depends on the power that’s underneath it. It’s not a No. 1 qualifier, but we want to be in the top half of the field. Our driving abilities are good enough to win races. You don’t always have to have the best car, but you have to have the best package.”

The package this weekend includes pink paint schemes on both cars to support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“I’m excited to drive the Pro Mod car again,” Enders-Stevens said. “It should be a really fun weekend to be back home in Houston. We’re sporting a pink paint scheme, and I’ll be the only girl in Pro Mod driving a pink car.”

Enders-Stevens was born and raised in Houston, and though she lives in New Orleans with her husband Richie Stevens, she is always eager to race in her hometown.

“I’m always pumped to race at home,” Enders-Stevens said. “I love Texas and I love racing in front of the hometown crowd. I’m excited that we’ve got two competitive race cars this weekend. We’ll see how it turns out.”

Haney is excited, too, especially because he’ll be racing where he won his first NHRA race, a Top Sportsman event in 2009.

“I’m going back to where I won my very first Wally,” Haney said. “We’re excited about it.”

Enders-Stevens’ Husky Liners team takes Pro Stock title battle to Vegas

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READING, Pa. (Oct. 6) – Husky Liners driver Erica Enders-Stevens remains in contention for the Pro Stock championship despite a second-round loss during the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals on Sunday at Maple Grove Raceway.

Enders-Stevens is fifth in the Pro Stock standings, 114 points out of the lead with two races remaining in the Countdown to the Championship. The next race is in two weeks in Las Vegas.

“We’ll just go to Vegas with a clean head and do the best we can,” Enders-Stevens said. “The good news is we have a couple weeks off. We’ve been on the road for a month straight, but now we get to go home and regroup. We’ll work on the car and head to Vegas fresh. I’m looking forward to it, and we’ve got to battle back.”

Enders Stevens and the Cagnazzi Racing team have rallied in the six-race Countdown. She won at Gateway Motorsports Park last week and has climbed from ninth to fifth in the points standings. That came after sitting out six of the eight races before the Countdown, but Enders-Stevens’ Chevrolet Camaro clearly has been one of the cars to beat since returning.

On Sunday she took out Buddy Perkinson in the first round on a holeshot before falling to Allen Johnson. Perkinson ran a faster elapsed time, 6.603 seconds at 210.18 mph to Enders-Stevens’ 6.605 at 208.62 mph, but she pulled off a lightning-quick .008-second reaction time to get the victory.

“I knew I had to be up on the wheel against Buddy,” Enders-Stevens said. “I was happy to get those 20 points.”

Johnson, the defending Pro Stock champion, made a run of 6.588 seconds at 209.43 mph in the second round to outrun her pass of 6.595 at 209.59 mph

“It was going to be a day of thousandths all day long,” Enders-Stevens said. “You have to be killer on the (Christmas) Tree and you have to make really good runs. My guys gave me a great car, and we made one of our best runs of the weekend second round.”

Enders-Stevens and her team get a two-week break before the NHRA Toyota Nationals on Oct. 25-27 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Reading victory would be icing on Enders-Stevens’ birthday cake

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READING, Pa. (Oct. 5) – Husky Liners Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens celebrates her 30th birthday on Tuesday, and she’d love to have a Wally trophy from the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway next to her birthday cake.

Enders-Stevens won last weekend’s race at Gateway Motorsports Park, helping celebrate the birthdays of husband Richie Stevens and father Gregg Enders. She’d like a Maple Grove trophy for herself and her Cagnazzi Racing team.

“I got Richie and my dad a Wally for their birthdays,” Enders-Stevens said. “I’d like to get one for myself.”

Enders-Stevens qualified No. 7 with a best pass of 6.587 seconds at 209.98 mph, and her Husky Liners Camaro has been consistent.

Her runs were all within .034-second of each other, and she was in the top five in three of the four qualifying sessions.

Enders-Stevens could use a deep run at Maple Grove to continue her march up the Pro Stock points standings. She started the Countdown to the Championship in ninth place but her victory last weekend vaulted her to ninth.

Maple Grove marks the fourth event of the six-race Countdown, and she entered race weekend 60 points out of the lead.

“Tomorrow’s really important,” Enders-Stevens said. “There was some shuffling going on in that (final) round (of qualifying), and it changed the ladder a bit. We’ve definitely got our work cut out for us, but we’ve got a consistent race car and I’m driving well. I’ll put my faith on the big man upstairs and see what happens.”

Enders-Stevens faces No. 10 qualifier Buddy Perkinson in round one Sunday. Perkinson garnered that spot with a pass of 6.591 seconds at 210.21 mph.

A fun twist to Enders-Stevens’ weekend was lining up against her husband Richie Stevens in Q3. Husband and wife had never faced each other in Pro Stock, and Enders-Stevens got the better of her husband on the Christmas Tree.

Enders-Stevens left with a .005-second reaction time to his .074 light, and they ran identical elapsed times, 6.587. Stevens’ speed was better, giving him the higher qualifying spot, but Enders-Stevens was bragging about the win light.

“That was pretty cool,” Enders-Stevens said. “Apparently no husband and wife had ever run each other in Pro Stock, so that was a lot of fun. Our crews both had some side bets going. He outran us because of mile an hour, so he got ahead of us on the qualifying sheet, but I cracked him on the starting line and we got the win light. I guess that’s all that matters, but it was fun and I’m glad he’s out here running.”

Eliminations at the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals get under way at 11 a.m. EDT on Sunday from Maple Grove Raceway. ESPN2 will broadcast the racing on Sunday night starting at 8:30 p.m. EDT.

Enders-Stevens confident her team can contend for Pro Stock title

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READING, Pa. (Oct. 3) – After winning at Gateway Motorsports Park last weekend, Husky Liners driver Erica Enders-Stevens said the Pro Stock field would have to take the championship away from her and her Cagnazzi Racing team.

Enders-Stevens moved up to fourth in the Countdown to the Championship standings with the victory – her second of the season – as she clearly has the title in her sights heading into the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals this weekend at Maple Grove Raceway.

“That’s the attitude we need to have,” Enders-Stevens said. “If we don’t have that attitude, then we shouldn’t be out there. You have to believe in what you’re doing.”

Enders-Stevens has blossomed in the six-race Countdown, rising from ninth place in the points with a victory, a semifinal appearance, and a No. 1 qualifier in the first three races.

She is 60 points out of first place, a deficit that can be made up in one race because 20 points are awarded for each round victory. But there are also qualifying points given for the three quickest drivers in each of four qualifying sessions, making every pass vital.

“Every round is important, but qualifying is also important,” Enders-Stevens said. “We were able to gain five baby points from qualifying last weekend, and all of those little points add up. It’s not just round by round.”

Enders-Stevens knows continuing to move forward in the points standings won’t be easy, given the stiff competition in the Pro Stock class.

“Reading is going to be tough,” Enders-Stevens said. “There are 10 great cars out here in Pro Stock week in and week out, and you just fight for those few top spots.”

Maple Grove is one of the fastest tracks on the NHRA tour, even with warmer-than-usual weather predicted for this weekend.

“The lanes are pretty even in Reading, so lane choice isn’t an issue,” Enders-Stevens said. “It should be interesting. Weather looks great as far as temperatures go. It’s going to be really fast.”

Qualifying for the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals gets under way at 1:15 p.m. EDT from Maple Grove Raceway and resumes at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday. Eliminations start at 11 a.m. on Sunday. ESPN News will air the qualifying show at 11:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday and ESPN2 will broadcast the eliminations show at 8 p.m. on Sunday.

VIDEO: Erica Defends her Title in St. Louis

Husky Liners launches Vegas Race Experience with Enders-Stevens

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WINFIELD, Kan. (Sept. 30) – Husky Liners is giving race fans a chance to enjoy a race weekend with Pro Stock superstar Erica Enders-Stevens and her Cagnazzi Racing team.

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The Husky Liners Vegas Race Experience with Erica Enders-Stevens sweepstakes rewards two lucky fans with a unique, behind-the-scenes trip to the NHRA race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 24-27.

The winner and a guest will receive:

    • All-expense-paid trip to Las Vegas, including airfare and hotel
    • $1,000 cash
    • VIP access to the Cagnazzi Racing pit area
    • Meet and greet with Enders-Stevens
    • Access to the starting line

“It’s a cool opportunity for a fan to be able to have an experience like we do every weekend,” Enders-Stevens said. “They’ll get to fly in, get put up in a hotel, and then come hang out at the racetrack with us. They’ll have the best seats in the house.

“It’s really generous of Husky Liners to hold the sweepstakes for a fan. Hopefully we’ll get some added interest from people who typically wouldn’t come to a drag race.”

Enders-Stevens partnered with Husky Liners for the Countdown to the Championship, the six-race NHRA playoffs. She won at Gateway Motorsports Park on Sept. 29 to move up to fourth in the points standings, and the Las Vegas race is the penultimate event of the 2013 schedule.

“Teaming up with Erica Enders-Stevens and Cagnazzi Racing has been an honor, and we are excited to provide the chance for our customers to join us in a VIP experience at the track in Las Vegas,” said Bob Tyler, president of Winfield Consumer Products, Husky Liners. “It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

For more information and to enter, visit www.huskyliners.com/sweepstakes. The sweepstakes ends Oct. 16.

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